What an amazing World Diabetes Day 2013!


Last Thursday was November 14, 2013, the day we commemorated the birthday of Frederick Banting. Thanks to him we have insulin today. Early that day the International Diabetes Federation released updated statistics for diabetes worldwide, as part of their update Diabetes Atlas:

382 million people have diabetes in 2013;
by 2035 this will rise to 592 million

The figures are staggering!

The day proceeded with a butt-kicking SweataBetes session led by the amazing Ginger Vieira from Vermont, with participation by our friend Scott Johnson and the entire Diabetes Hands Foundation team.

This year was the first year we didn’t light up a building blue for World Diabetes Day. A few weeks ago, when we learned that the budget wouldn’t be there to make this happen in the Bay Area, we were slightly bummed. But we looked at what we COULD do, and partnered with our friend Lucas Fogarty, president and founder @ DASH (Diabetes And Sports Health) and decided to make lemonade!

  1. We created a fun piece titled “Fourteen Things You Can Do on World Diabetes Day” and handed it to 700 people coming out of the BART station in Downtown Berkeley. People would smile at Lucas saying:

    “Do you know anyone with diabetes?
    No? Well! Now you do!”

    So many folks got so excited because they or a loved one had diabetes and they felt an instant connection. Here’s the flyer, so you can download it and print it on future World Diabetes Day occasions:

  2. We also drew a large World Diabetes Day blue circle with chalk on the floor. Andreina drew the outline and we invited people to fill it in. It was a very special community moment too.

All of this happened as we were getting very close to reaching 20,000 Big Blue Test entries, a goal that we passed a few hours later thanks to everyone’s help! In particular, we are super-thankful to a very special group of students at Minnetonka Middle School in Minnesota who logged each of the P.E. classes as a Big Blue Test, translating into a big push to help us reach the goal!

It made for a very special World Diabetes Day, in spite of the scary increase in the incidence of diabetes globally, reported by IDF earlier in the day. The numbers only motivate us do more, educate more people, raise more awareness, and become stronger and more vocal advocates.

We’d like to leave you with a brief taste of what the afternoon was like, as captured through photos and a fun time-lapse video that Heather and Mike captured of the World Diabetes Day chalk circle, as it was drawn:

I think we’ve found an activity that I’d like to see us and other groups expand upon in coming months and years.

  • Woohoo! This is SO GREAT! I love it. I’m so proud of everyone! And a big shout out to my MN peeps pulling through at Minnetonka Middle School! Way to go!

  • Barbara Bancroft

    Love the chalk circle as well as the flyers! What a great way to reach a lot of people. Great lemonade 😉