Do You Have an Inspiring Diabetes Story to Tell or Vision to Share? Send It to the “Inspired by Diabetes” Competition

Entering the contest will inspire others, and you’ll be helping children around the world gain access to diabetes care.

Dec 22, 2008

"Inspired by Diabetes" is a friendly competition that not only helps people with diabetes gain inspiration from each other, but also generates donations to diabetes treatment centers in developing countries.

Co-sponsored by Eli Lilly & Company, the International Diabetes Federation's Unite for Diabetes Initiative, and the International Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Diabetes, "Inspired by Diabetes" asks people to submit their stories about living with diabetes in essays, poems, photographs, or art.  

For each entry, Lilly & Company will donate money to the IDF's "Life for a Child" program, which provides insulin and diabetes supplies to children in 17 countries.  

The deadline for the contest is March 31, 2009, and entry is free.

For more details and a U.S. competition entry form, go to Inspired by Diabetes.

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Posted by shosty on 23 December 2008

I strongly dislike "inspiring" stories about diabetes. Diabetes magazines are full of what we call "climbing Mt. Everest stories." Other frequent magazine topics include stories about people who have lived for a long time with diabetes (type 1 usually), in which those survivors gloat about their positive attitudes, implying therefore that those who die at a younger age should have had better attitudes themselves (these outcomes depend on a lot more than attitude, and are influenced by genetics, other health problems, support, money and so on).

Our daughter was diagnosed with type 1 at age 4. There is absolutely nothing inspiring about living with this awful disease, pricking a little finger 10 or more times a day, shots, pump insertions, getting up at night, not being able to attend sleepovers, insensitive and discriminatory experiences, and so on.

To address the inevitable accusations of negativity, I will add that our daughter is now 18 and thriving at a top Ivy League college. She excelled in high school, and is a compassionate, insightful person. She, and I, face life with very positive, can-do attitudes. Yet, I still resist this kind of polyanna theme of "inspiration."

So, should I tell some anecdote about how having type 1 made her understand the struggles of others? Or some heartwarming story about how, when her wrist got hit by a softball pitch, her teammates pitched in and tested her blood sugar for her?

Please, life is not a tv movie. What other illness community asks people so often, for inspiring stories?

This is real folks. We need a cure, not inspiring stories.

Lilly is sponsoring this. No wonder. Lilly makes a bundle off of people with diabetes, and will continue to do so, as long as we put our energy into writing inspiring stories, instead of demanding a cure.

-a parent of a child w/type 1 diabetes for 15 years

Posted by Fireftr114 on 25 December 2008

This is in response to the comments by shosty.I agree with you that I also don't care for inspiring stories about people with Diabetes. I guess it is just my disposition not to need to hear "feel good stories". I peruse this website because I look for new medicines or techniques that I might find useful.However just because you and I don't need it doesn't mean that no one else does. Don't think you are the only one with tough experiences with this disease. I was diagnosed at 13 months old with type 1. At that time there was not blood glucose meters available like today. My parents had to try to obtain urine from a diaper to test my sugar.
I am 33 years old and have been a Firefighter for 15 years. If you want to talk about discriminatory experiences try to work at a place where the only idea of diabetics is the ones in poor health that they run on.Remember firefighters only deal with problems. I can however tell you that after 15 years as a firefighter I have found that there are a lot of diseases that are far worse that what I have and that is fairly inspiring to me. At least I can drive a vehicle or a Fire truck or do anything else now that a non-diabetic can do(except maybe pie eating contests). There are many disabilities that do not allow that.
After all in this world where the only experience that most people have about diabetes is that the nightly news had a story on deaths attributed to this disease or someone loosing their legs. Maybe it is nice for someone who has a child newly diagnosed to know their child doe not have to go though life with an early death sentence.

Diabetic of 32 years and no complications

Posted by shosty on 30 December 2008

Just want to repeat that our daughter is now 18, and my comment was intended to be more political than personal. Our daughter has several other health problems, so diabetes is only one part of her picture.

Over the years I have seen that the feelings of a parent are different from the feelings of a person who has diabetes themselves. Parents are fierce. My daughter can choose to tell inspiring stories, but I won't.

My main point is that describing the reality of type 1 diabetes in a matter of fact way is better than trying to find silver linings. False positivity can only mean less public, political, academic and medical urgency for research for a cure, and supports the status quo.

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