Wanted: Diabetes Symbol and Celebrity Ambassador
A unifying icon could help raise money and awareness.
By Tom Karlya
November 2005 — November is about to begin. You know, November? National Diabetes Awareness Month? I reached into my drawer to put on the pin that represents this month and…..um….oh….wait. That's right, I forgot. There is no pin that represents National Diabetes Awareness Month, is there? In fact there is no universal ‘anything' representing diabetes, is there? No ‘Pink Ribbon' and God bless those wonderful people who raise tons of money and awareness with that pink ribbon. Silver ribbon? No, silly, I just told you that the ribbon belongs to another. And truth be known, I actually believe it was a different disease state that started wearing the ribbon to begin with but a pink ribbon? Everyone knows what it means.
How about a rubber band type bracelet? Yellow? Nope, can't do that because it‘s already taken. Well, let's just change the color. No, silly, I just told you that it belongs to somebody else. It might work for a little while but at the end of the day there will still be no representation for those dealing with diabetes.
Believe it or not I can explain why there's no accepted designation for diabetes awareness. It's the I-didn't-think-of-it-so-I-won't-support-it syndrome. This syndrome is as serious as the disease is itself. There are quite a few diabetes groups and until they figure out a way to work together better, heaven forbid that all groups would wear something they did not think of themselves. They wouldn't wear it for the sole reason that they didn't think of it, which has nothing to do with diabetes unified whatsoever. Can you imagine? "My organization didn't think of that. It was the brainchild of another diabetes organization, so no one in our organization is permitted to wear it." You think I'm kidding? Don't fool yourself for one second and you can bet on the fact that that is the reason. Sad, isn't it?
But I have a solution — listen carefully because I need your help. First, we need someone with no ties to any diabetes organization. Someone who thinks of something that is new and refreshing. Second, we need a major star, a celebrity from the A+++ list. We will work on the design together with that celebrity. If you know someone or have a connection to them, please have them call me. Their agent or public relations person is okay, but I need to speak to them as well. Spread the word. We'll give the airtime on dLife and kick off a huge campaign. This ‘something' (fill in the blank) will be worn, and henceforth will represent diabetes awareness and at the same time can be sold to raise funds for everybody. The requirements of the celebrity will be to have or to wear this ‘something' (fill in the blank) or show it off. Say it's something you wear or is attached to a cell phone. This celebrity would show it off at night clubs, in a movie perhaps, at night clubs, at all news conferences, at night clubs, at awards ceremonies, and, oh yes, at night clubs (that's how it'll end up in the star-studded tabloids) and offer it up for everyone to wear and use themselves to raise money for their diabetes organization. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who is a celebrity. Spread the word. My phone number is 203.221.3453. This Celebrity will be synonymous with this ‘something' (fill in the blank). They will become The Ambassador fighting a disease that over 80 million people have or some day might have to battle every day.
Who would have thought that a disease state that impacts millions of lives, like diabetes, would not have a single icon to represent the fight that is totally it's own? It's there waiting to be found. So ask them to call me. Let's get to work. "Hello, this is Tom…..hello, Lindsay (or Paris or Green Day or Will or whomever)……Yes, I'm ready……" A year from now people will say, "Hey isn't that the Lindsay Loop for diabetes?" or "Wow! That Paris Silver Bow you have is fabulous! I bet I could raise money with a different color bow" or perhaps the Celebrity Star worn on a cell phone representing kids balancing and stretching their own abilities in the diabetes world. I know I'd wear this ‘something' (fill in the blank) or I would attach it to my cell phone because I'm a diabetes dad.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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