Well, here we are — World Diabetes Day 2012!

Today, we mark the anniversary of the day the co-creator of insulin, Dr. Frederick Banting, was born back in 1891. While World Diabetes Day has been around for more than two decades, founded by the International Diabetes Federation, it really started getting noticed in 2007, when the United Nations issued a resolution and made it an official day of observance.

Five years later, the community has grown incredibly and the WDD awareness efforts are continuing to grow!

Today, we're excited to be a part of a new day-long Twitter chat created by Cherise Shockley, founder of the Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (DSMA)/Diabetes Community Advocates Foundation (DCAF). During the 16-hour chat, a different host will be moderating each hour, tackling a handful of questions on different D-topics. From the 'Mine, Mike will be moderating from 10-11a.m. Eastern Time, and here's a full list of the day's schedule. You can follow along with each moderator's Twitter account or by following the hashtag #WDDchat12.

It seems for many years now, most of the WDD momentum has come from the patient community, while the Powers That Be here in the U.S. were slow to recognize this day. But our patient voices are making a difference! We find there's more and more "official" WDD activity around the country each year. Much of this probably has to do with the big diabetes companies getting on board.

Here's what we learned about what Pharma and a few others are up to for WDD 2012:


JnJ Family of D-Companies (includes Animas, LifeScan, OneTouch)

  • "Wear It Blue" Campaign encourages employees to wear blue on Nov. 14.
  • Interactive employee education and engagement about diabetes on their global Intranet site.
  • JnJ headquarters in New Brunswick, NJ, and local landmarks will be lit blue for awareness.
  • Involvement in JDRF and diabetes association celebrations around the world.
  • Educational programs for students in primary and secondary grades via art and theater experiences in the U.S. and U.K.
  • Local diabetes testing and health screenings around the country.
  • Discussions on the OneTouch Facebook and Twitter communities — for example, their "In Your Hands" Facebook campaign in Latin America to raise awareness will provide more than 60,000 strips for children with diabetes in the Dominican Republic.
  • The company is supporting the IDF's "Life for a Child" program and donating essential medicine, additional supplies, clinical care and diabetes education to people in 17 developing countries. JnJ's corporate contribution of one million test strips and 1,300 meters will go to help children and their families in Nepal, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, Guyana, Mali and Sri Lanka.

Eli Lilly

  • This week, the company blog known as LillyPad is featuring guest bloggers from different organizations on the topic of diabetes. The company CEO, John Lechleiter, also posts a monthly guest blog on Forbes highlighting issues of diabetes care.
  • Today, Lilly is unveiling a company-produced YouTube video in which employees will share "three words" about why they work in diabetes care.
  • As it does every year, Lilly is dying blue the fountain right out front of the company headquarters in downtown Indianapolis. The company is also flying WDD flags in front of the building.
  • On Nov. 27, Lilly plans to announce the company's national sponsorship of the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure.


  • The company's lighting up in blue its headquarters in Northridge, CA, and customer care center in San Antonio, TX.
  • Medtronic has been fundraising for both the American Diabetes Association and JDRF, and is raising awareness for employees through "fun facts" and posters displayed throughout its headquarters building.
  • Employees are encouraged to work out and taking part in the Big Blue Test, and also spreading word about community projects like the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange and wearing blue on Fridays.
  • Medtronic is also participating in a WDD D-Blogger Summit in Melbourne, Australia organized by Diabetes Australia-Vic.  The company's chief medical officer, Dr. Fran Kaufman, will be speaking there (along with our U.S.-based friend and fellow D-advocate, Kerri Sparling!). The Twitter hashtag for the event was #OzDSMS.
  • The company's also utilizing its Facebook page for WDD awareness, and is promising to reveal "a surprise" once the goal of 100,000 new fans is reached.

Novo Nordisk

Aside from a vague mention of local activities with state governments, Novo has on its website something it's dubbing "1,000,000 Blue Circles for Change." Essentially, the company has partnered with the International Diabetes Federation and is encouraging people to create and share their own blue circles — from blue-dyed bicycle wheels to blue chalk circles on the sidewalk.

Novo has also teamed up with the Diabetes Hands Foundation to create an online quiz called Do You Know Diabetes? With every five minute quiz completed, the company makes a donation to the patient advocacy non-profit.


Roche Diagnostics

On World Diabetes Day, the company is holding an event with Accu-Chek Customer Care featuring Steve Richert of Living Vertical. If you remember, Steve was the awesome fellow type 1 who was at the Roche Social Media Summit in Indianapolis earlier this year. Steve will be returning to the Roche campus in Indianapolis, IN, to do a Big Blue Test with Accu-Chek employees by climbing a temporary 35-foot climbing wall!

The company expects 300-400 employees will be doing BBTs that day, from climbing that wall to other less-vertical options like biking, jumping rope, and walking on designated trails. Roche plans to post videos and pictures on Facebook, Twitter and the Accu-Chek Diabetes Link site throughout the day.



  • Sanofi's big news today is the launch of their new Diabetes Co-Stars awareness campaign with a Casting Call!  Actress Elizabeth Perkins, living with type 1 diabetes, is teaming up with the company to produce a new documentary that will feature real people living with diabetes, along with their "diabetes co-star," someone important in their life who supports them in their D-journey. Helping her to produce the film is her own real-life "Co-Star," husband and cinematographer Julio Macat. "The documentary will celebrate all of the Diabetes Co-Stars out there who support someone living with diabetes and deserve to be recognized," they say.  Got a story to submit? Visit www.DiabetesCoStars.com between November 14 and December 16. Two teams will be chosen to participate in the documentary and share their inspiring diabetes stories.

Also from Sanofi:

  • The company is kicking off WDD with early morning spin classes for employees to encourage and educate on the importance of physical activity.
  • Sanofi plans to shine a blue spotlight on the entrance sign to its U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater, NJ, as part of the IDF's Blue Monument Challenge.
  • All employees have been encouraged to wear blue and don their blue circle (IDF) pins.
  • Free A1C testing has been made available to employees throughout November, at the company headquarters and also at other sites across the country.
  • Later in the day, the Sanofi U.S. Diabetes Division is hosting an all-employee Town Hall meeting featuring: An on-stage discussion with two A1C Champions (one living with type 1 and one with type 2); the importance of placing patient needs at the center of what Sanofi does; a video of personal patient stories to provide all employees with a deeper look into some of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions as told by PWDs; the American Diabetes Association CEO Larry Hausner plans to attend and speak on the importance of the Sanofi-ADA partnership; over lunch, there will be a healthy cooking demonstration and education for employees; and at the day's end, Sanofi will host an hour-long walk around its campus led by one of the Dribble to Stop Diabetes campaign ambassadors.
  • The Sanofi social media machine is also in full force, from its Discuss Diabetes blog to its DX community site and other platforms. The company also altered its Diabetapedia logo for the month of November.

Then there's the International Diabetes Federation, the folks behind the WDD initiative. They have some news on tap for the big day itself! The IDF office team is actually heading to the European Parliament today for a day-full of awareness-raising activities... they'd planned a flash mob, but the firm organizing that went on strike so the flash mob was cancelled at the last minute (boo!) But IDF will be featuring a ton of videos and blue-filtered photos online from many places across the world today.

On a more serious note, the IDF has published new Atlas figures today recording that a total 371 million people worldwide have diabetes and 187 million are living with diabetes but haven't yet been diagnosed. This is up from the Atlas figures last year that showed 366 million PWDs globally. In North America and the Caribbean, one in nine people — or an estimated 38.4 million people — has diabetes. The IDF news release states: "This region now spends the most healthcare dollars on diabetes than any other region in the world. Yet diabetes will still claim 287, 000 lives by the end of this year, compared to 281,000 in 2011."

"It is hoped that campaigns such as today's World Diabetes Day will continue to raise the voice of people with diabetes and to encourage all stakeholders to move from advocacy to action on a regional and global scale," the IDF news release says.

Yes — because awareness is good; action is better.


Alliance Health Networks

We'd be remiss not to mention our own parent company based in Salt Lake City, UT — the health social media company behind our sister site, DiabeticConnect. They'll be forming a human blue circle at SLC headquarters today and that photo will be posted on the community site as on the 'Mine's own Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Over at DiabeticConnect, Alliance also is hosting a month-long campaign that lets people pledge their support for D-Awareness and get a blue circle placed on a map to mark their location. A quick scan of the map the day before Nov. 14 shows that more than 100 blue circles are displayed, with at least one in each state. DiabeticConnect also has other online resources, including a type 2 risk assessment tool that it's calling the Blue Circle Test.

So that's a lot of interesting stuff that can be done at a company level,but you may still be wondering...


What can YOU do to support National Awareness Month & World Diabetes Day?

Here are some ideas:

  • Wear blue throughout November and ask your friends, family and colleagues to join you.
  • Form a human blue circle, a simple activity with a great visual impact that can be organized by itself or as part of a bigger event.
  • Organize a physical activity - it's pretty easy to pull together a group walk, cycle ride, hula-hoop or dance. Get people moving in your family or community.
  • Promote the WDD campaign on your website, blog, Facebook or Twitter page by featuring information and links from this website.
  • Identify local heroes who are active in promoting the diabetes cause and healthy lifestyles. Calll them out to the media! Or write about them yourself online. (Or refer them to us to cover.) These heroes will provide inspiration and a positive role models for people with diabetes around the world.

Visit our World Diabetes Day image gallery on Flickr to see awareness in action, and let us know what you have going on for World Diabetes Day!

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.