A very happy (and hopefully blue-colored) World Diabetes Day, Everyone!
Of course, this annual celebration was placed on this particular day thanks to its historical significance as the birthday of insulin co-creator Dr. Frederick G. Banting, born on Nov. 14, 1891 -- who would be celebrating his 127th birthday this year if he were still with us.
Looking back, it's always notable how the Blue Circle came to be the international symbol of diabetes and how specific moments in time stand out -- such as in 2016, when for the first time ever, Google created a diabetes-specific Google Doodle for all web searchers to see! The Doodle paid specific tribute to Dr. Banting and his amazing, life-saving discovery. We've often recognized Dr. Banting and the tributes at the historic Banting House in London, ON, that we've had the pleasure of visiting personally a couple times.
As mentioned at the start of the month, there's always quite a bit happening in November for D-Month and World Diabetes Day, and that remains true with all going on in 2018. Today, we wanted to focus on two awareness-raising activities that stand out for WDD 2018:
- A new "hard rock" diabetes awareness video featuring awesome D-advocates wearing blue circles, and
- The potential for our D-Community to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records in marking Banting's Birthday this year.
Here's the scoop on each:
Diabetes Awareness Rock Video
You may remember fellow D-peep Kris Maynard, a firefighter and EMT in the state of Washington who's been living with type 1 for 19 years. He's the guy developing those Glucose Revival easy-to-use wearable necklaces full of glucose gel. They're perfect for athletes or really anyone who might want this handy BG-boosting accessory for on-the-go Low treatment, rather than having to fish through your bag for glucose tabs, juice, or candy.
That venture is actually launching this month and the product will be available for purchase soon.
Meanwhile, Kris has produced a special D-awareness rock music video with some pretty big names and fellow diabetes advocates in our community.
Kris tells us he reached out to Dee Snider, lead singer of the '80s hard-metal rock band Twisted Sister who's gone on to other musical ventures and even reality TV (like you do in the 21st century). As Snider's done an awareness song for cancer before, Kris was hoping he might do the same on the diabetes front. However, the singer was busy working on a new album, so his son Jesse Blaze Snider, also an entertainer and songwriter himself, got permission to use a song for diabetes awareness: that monster ballad from Twisted Sister in 1984, The Price.
Weaving in diabetes visuals and D-advocates, the video certainly packs a powerful punch to raise awareness about diabetes. Aside from Kris himself and Jesse Blaze Snider (who doesn't live with diabetes), there are many familiar D-faces to spot, including:
- Colt Scott (@The_Diabadass), a type 1 from Virginia featured on the Ultimate Beastmaster show;
- Ariel Lawerence, a T1 from New York who's known as @justalittlesuga in the DOC;
- Sage Donnelley (@sagekayak), a type 1 from Colorado who's a world-champion kayaker and 2020 Olympian-hopeful;
- Ali Abdlkareem, a type 1 from Iraq who is now living in San Diego and hosts the Diabetes Daily Hustle podcast
The Los Angeles chapter of JDRF also helped Kris connect with others in that area, who could serve as "faces of diabetes" during the filming that took place in Hollywood.
While Kris says that only type 1s are featured, he does see the video as being geared more toward type 2s and the big public messages about how serious diabetes is as a worldwide epidemic. With 100 million in the United States living with diabetes or prediabetes, Kris points out how nearly 1 in 4 individuals don't even know they have it.
It became even more important for Kris when his young son tested positive for the autoimmune antibodies that mean he could have a 90% chance of also developing T1D at some point. That's when diabetes awareness became more of a mission for the T1 PWD and father.
"I want this awareness... for the ones who do not know they have it. If they do not find out, they can’t take control of their life and health. I want to depict that once you know you have diabetes, it’s not fun but you can still live a normal and active life," he says.
As a firefighter and EMT, and with his personal knowledge of living with T1D, Kris says it's tough to witness the worst examples of people being impacted by complications and those who've experienced setbacks as a result of this chronic condition.
"I wanted the Blue Circle advertised because too many people don’t recognize it, both those with diabetes and non-diabetics," he says.
After shooting the video, Kris says that Jesse Blaze is now interested in doing much more for the Diabetes Community and they hope to work together more in the future on awareness initiatives.
Here's that music video, clocking in at 4:27-minutes.
Very cool! Thanks for making this happen, Kris, and thank you to Jesse Blaze Snider for taking one of your dad's Twisted Sister tunes and turning it into a force for diabetes!
Banting's Birthday, and Guinness Record-Setting!
The California-based nonprofit org Beyond Type 1 is marking Nov. 14 with its second-annual online "party" celebrating Dr. Banting's birthday, but 2018 has a twist:
What if our Diabetes Community could make it into the Guinness Book of World Records, for how we come together to do something important such as raising awareness about diabetes?
That's what BT1 is aiming for.
It's all based on signing a digital birthday card for Banting, in hopes of getting a record-setting number of signatures to put our D-Community in the big book of records.
Believe it or not, the Guinness Book has a specific category, among so many, devoted to digital e-greeting card signatures for any given issue or cause each year. The org has already validated BT1's attempt to break the world record by gathering 66,000 signatures (to beat the prior record of 65,402 set by Chevrolet, SAIC-GM in Shanghai, China in 2017).
Banting fans can sign the digital birthday card, enter to win a prize from partner orgs or send some needed supplies to low-income families , and read stories about the Nobel Prize winner who co-discovered insulin as a treatment. The community is also invited to make a $1 donation in honor of the sales price of the original patent, emphasizing Banting’s belief that insulin belonged to the world and should be affordable for all.
"The idea behind the World Record attempt is to generate an exciting moment of awareness, unity, and spotlight for the diabetes community," says fellow type 1 PWD Dana Howe of BT1. "Banting's Birthday is a fun, inclusive campaign that has brought almost 50 nonprofit and corporate partners together -- each committing to share about Frederick Banting, the story of insulin, and a bit about life with diabetes on World Diabetes Day. It gives the community the opportunity to do the same."
So there you have it -- a fun way to simply sign a digital card while also contributing to an important diabetes nonprofit that does a lot of good in the world.