Inspired by Diabetes U.S. National Contest Winners Share Stories of Perseverance and Success in Managing Diabetes
Then a good friend convinced her to combine a love of drawing with her passion for helping people, particularly young children. Ten years later, Garnero -- a National 2004-2005 Diabetes Educator of the Year recipient and aspiring author -- has been recognized not only for her professional work, but her artistic talents as well, infusing humor into a clever approach to diabetes management.
Garnero, 43, was one of four U.S. national grand prize winners of the inaugural Inspired by Diabetes contest, announced today by Eli Lilly and Company and the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The winners will be honored at a celebration hosted by the program's Global Ambassador -- Elliott Yamin, who has type 1 diabetes -- during the ADA's 68th Annual Scientific Sessions this weekend in San Francisco.
The Inspired by Diabetes Creative Expression competition (inspiredbydiabetes.com) encourages all people touched by diabetes to share their stories through visual and written creative expressions -- such as essays, poems, art and photography. Inspired by Diabetes is a global collaboration between Lilly and the International Diabetes Federation's Unite for Diabetes initiative. In the United States, ADA is serving as the Inspired by Diabetes U.S. national advocate.
The second year of the U.S. national competition will officially launch this summer.
Garnero does not have diabetes but entered the contest in the health care professional category. Her art entry, a pin-the-tale-on-the-donkey-style game, asks children to pin a pancreas on a cartoon drawing of a pig. (The pancreas is the body's organ that produces insulin to regulate blood sugar levels; in people with diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, often requiring insulin replacement therapy. Garnero says the idea for the pig came from the fact that they were an early source of insulin for people with diabetes.)
"As a certified diabetes educator, I continue to witness the impact diabetes has on the people living with it, their families and global health," Garnero said in her accompanying narrative. "I am continually inspired to provide humorous, educational resources that unite the individual, the family and our international professional community using positive and visually fun ideas."
Inspired by Diabetes builds on the theme of IDF's World Diabetes Day 2007-08, dedicated to children and adolescents living with or at risk of diabetes worldwide. The spirit of the competition 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 the disease.
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.
The U.S. Grand Prize winners of the Inspired by Diabetes Creative Expression Competition represent four categories: Adult with Diabetes, Child with Diabetes, Family Member or Friend of someone with diabetes and Health Care Professional.
*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."
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.
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.
"The journeys traveled by people with diabetes and their families -- both the ups and downs -- have been inspiring us at Lilly for more than 85 years," said Matt Beebe, Diabetes Brand Leader, Lilly USA. "We hope these creative expressions of the diabetes journey, each representing a unique story, will not only serve as inspiration to those affected by this condition, but will also help increase global awareness of diabetes and the unmet needs of those around the world."
The Inspired by Diabetes Creative Expression Competition will begin accepting entries again this summer. To learn more about Inspired by Diabetes and how to enter the competition, please visit: inspiredbydiabetes.com.
About Inspired by Diabetes
Inspired by Diabetes is a global campaign asking people moved by the triumphs and challenges of those with diabetes and those who care for them to express their inspiration and share it with others around the world. The program is a collaboration between global champions Eli Lilly and Company and the International Diabetes Federation's (IDF) Unite for Diabetes initiative. In the U.S., the American Diabetes Association is the program's national advocate. For more information, visit www.inspiredbydiabetes.com
About Lilly Diabetes
For more than 85 years, Lilly has been a worldwide leader in pioneering industry-leading solutions to support people living with and treating diabetes. Lilly introduced the world's first commercial insulin in 1923, and remains at the forefront of medical and delivery device innovation to manage diabetes. Lilly is also committed to providing solutions beyond therapy -- practical tools, education and support programs to help overcome barriers to success along the diabetes journey. At Lilly, the journeys of each person living with or treating diabetes inspire ours. For more information, visit www.lillydiabetes.com.
About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of first-in-class and best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines and information -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs. Additional information about Lilly is available at www.lilly.com.
About Unite for Diabetes and the International Diabetes Federation
Unite for Diabetes is a global campaign committed to raising awareness of diabetes and celebrating the United Nations' World Diabetes Day Resolution, which establishes the global agenda for the coming fight against the diabetes pandemic and designates 14 November as an official UN-observed World Diabetes Day beginning in 2007.
The Unite for Diabetes and World Diabetes Day campaigns are led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Founded in 1950, the International Diabetes Federation is the global advocate for the 250 million people with diabetes worldwide. It represents over 200 diabetes associations in more than 160 countries. Its mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. The main aims of IDF are to: raise awareness of diabetes and its complications worldwide; promote diabetes education; influence and bring about change; act as global advocate for people with diabetes; promote and improve diabetes care; improve clinical care and access to medication. The International Diabetes Federation is an NGO in official relations with the World Health Organization and an associated NGO with the United Nations Department of Public Information. The International Diabetes Federation leads the World Diabetes Day campaign. Additional information is available at www.idf.org.
About the American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association is the nation's premier voluntary health organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. The Association's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association provides services to hundreds of communities across the United States. For more information, call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.