Friday, June 06, 2008

And the winners are.....

Inspired by Diabetes is a global campaign asking people with diabetes, as well as their family, friends and healthcare professionals, to express how diabetes has impacted their lives — and share those stories with others around the world.

Some stories are inspired by small triumphs. Others, by overcoming great challenges. And for some children around the world, the challenge is no less than life or death.The spirit of the Inspired by Diabetes initiative is to bring families and people with diabetes together to raise awareness of the global burden of diabetes — and draw particular attention to people who do not have the resources they need to fight diabetes.

People around the world sent in poems, essays, music, pictures and artwork. All of it expressing life with diabetes.

One of the judges was Elliot Yamin, an American Idol finalist, whose life was affected by diabetes when he was diagnosed at age 16.

"I was feeling ill for about 2 1/2 weeks. My mom [who has type 2 diabetes] tested my blood sugar and it was high. This all happened on a Sunday, so we went to the emergency room, where they tested my blood sugar at 870 mg/dl."

Elliott spent several years on multiple daily injections and experienced a number of hypoglucemic seizures. It wasn't until he was 21 years old, when he met a co-worker who was wearing an insulin pump, that he started thinking about pump therapy.

"He showed me his pump and how it worked and all that." He made an appointment with his co-worker's endocrinologist and worked hard to lower his A1C in preparation for the pump. About four months later, he was hooked up and pumping.As diabetics often do, we touched upon "a cure."

"I want a cure. Of course I want a cure. And I think we're getting close. I'm happy to be able to use my position and my voice to be involved in these great programs and charities. It would be a sin for me not to do anything [to raise awareness]."

(click here for more of his interview)

By entering the competition, participants have had a direct impact on the lives of children with diabetes around the world.

In honor of the participants from the United States, Lilly made a $50,000 donation to ADA for scholarships for low-income children to attend ADA diabetes camps. For each entry into the global contest, Lilly is donating money to IDF's Life for a Child Program, which provides life-saving diabetes supplies to more than 1,000 children in 17 developing countries.

"We're humbled by the response to the campaign and the depth of personal experiences communicated in the stories and expressions received," said Stewart Perry, Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association. "We hope these creative expressions will illuminate the many commonalities of a complicated disease, reinforce a community of support and inspire people to realize that they have a lot to contribute in the fight against diabetes."

U.S. Grand Prize winners will have their submissions entered into the global competition. Winners of the global contest will be announced this fall.


-- Adult with Diabetes - Betsy Ray, Colorado

After managing diabetes for 43 years, Ray is working on a master's degree in psychology to serve as a resource to newly-diagnosed children with diabetes. Her motivation was born out of her desire to help others see diabetes in a new light, beyond the often negative constructs of the disease. Ray entered an essay called "The Journey." "As I reflect upon challenges I have faced as a result of diabetes ... I must also acknowledge the rewards," she wrote. "Diabetes has grown my spirit in a way that no normal life ever could ... It is so far beyond what I was told my life would be that I can only respond to the people I meet by telling them 'Anything is possible. You are on a journey. How you define it is up to you.'"

-- Child with Diabetes - Erin Tetreault, Idaho

Tetreault, 17, was diagnosed with diabetes at age 9. Inspired by her experiences at diabetes summer camp -- where she first learned about the Inspired by Diabetes campaign -- Tetreault hopes that more young people with diabetes can benefit from the emotional and educational support that these specialty camps provide. Her painting, "Self-Acceptance," depicts a young woman wearing an insulin pump. "Four years ago I would have been too self-conscious to paint my bare stomach with my pump proudly displayed," she wrote in her accompanying narrative. But because of diabetes camp, "I've learned to be myself and not worry if I'm different or not accepted."

--Health Care Professional - Theresa Garnero, California

Despite not having diabetes herself, Garnero is no stranger to this condition. Garnero draws diabetes-focused cartoons for various medical publications and also serves as a clinical nurse manager at a major medical center in California. She believes humor is a necessary component when talking about diabetes, saying, "If you laugh, you learn." In addition, Garnero will publish a book in 2008 in conjunction with the ADA that portrays the daily challenges and achievements possible following a diagnosis.

-- Family Member or Friend - Teresa Ollila, Colorado

Ollila is a mother of two and an avid photographer. Inspired by her son's diabetes diagnosis at age 3, she took an interest in capturing the complexity of living with diabetes by photographing others with the condition in her community. Ollila's collection of photographs, titled "Living with Diabetes," reveals the emotional impact of diabetes on people's lives. "I'm photographing how diabetes affects relationships and the feelings it provokes to care for others," Ollila wrote in her narrative.

(read more)

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