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Brave. Fight. Grandpa. Life. Alive.
Those words are some of the answers to the question "What would people living with diabetes or with somebody who has it tell you is the one word that sums up their own experience with the disease?"
Global Diabetes Handprint set out to see what they'd say. The handprint project, co-sponsored by LifeScan, which produces the OneTouch blood glucose monitoring systems, and the Diabetes Hands Foundation and its social network, TuDiabetes, asked people with diabetes to submit images of their hands decorated with words and graphics depicting their lives with diabetes.
Among the thousands of responses Global Diabetes Handprint received after launching its project in late March were those five words, selected to represent the range of verbs, adjectives, and loved ones that spring immediately to mind for many people with diabetes.
Sarah O. in Houston, Texas, submitted "Grandpa" because her grandfather has had diabetes for 20 years, and she admires his strength.
Ten-year-old Randi T. from West Bloomfield, Michigan, chose "Brave" because she says that getting a poke or a shot teaches others that diabetes isn't so scary.
Fabian L. a pharmacy technician from Pearland, Texas, submitted "Fight" because even though he himself does not have diabetes, he sees people who fight it every day, and he wants to help them win their fight.
Andrea R. from Houston submitted "Life" because as a grandmother who was recently diagnosed with diabetes, she wants to make sure that she sees her new grandchild grow up and have a healthy life.
And Joan P. in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, chose the word "Alive," because even though she has diabetes, she feels fortunate to have a wonderful family and wants to do all she can to be alive.
The initial response was so good that Global Diabetes Handprint's co-sponsors have decided to extend the solicitations for words through June 30.
For each image submitted, OneTouch will donate $5, up to a maximum of $250,000, to diabetes charities.
"We've been moved by the many words and images we received," said Ken El-Sherif, director of marketing at LifeScan. "Diabetes affects people and their families in very different ways. This project is a unique and powerful way for people to come together as a community to share their experiences and commitment to living healthy with diabetes."
The Global Diabetes Handprint was inspired by the Word In Your Hand project, created on TuDiabetes.com, an online community owned and operated by the Diabetes Hands Foundation.
The project certainly has resonated within the diabetes community, inspiring some celebrities with the disease to lend a hand by providing their own words and images. For Elliott Yamin, a finalist on American Idol, the word is "Challenging." Olympian Kris Freeman's word is "Resilience," and Ironman tri-athlete Jay Hewitt chose "Finish Line."
Funds generated by participation will be donated to the Diabetes Education and Camping Association to support children's diabetes camps and to "Taking Control of Your Diabetes" to support adult educational and motivational conferences for people with diabetes, those at risk, and their loved ones. Participants can designate which organization-DECA or TCOYD-will receive the donation associated with their image submission.
To participate in the Global Diabetes Handprint, visit www.DiabetesHandprint.com. Visitors can submit images in either of two ways-by uploading a digital photograph of their own decorated hand, or by using a simple online design tool to create a customized word/hand image. As a part of each image posted, participants will also have the opportunity to share their story, expressing how diabetes has touched their life. Complete information and rules are available on the Web site.