SAN FRANCISCO, June 5 Drawing cartoons to helppeople manage the psychological challenges of diabetes was not where TheresaGarnero -- a San Francisco-based nurse -- thought her career path would leadher.
Then a good friend convinced her to combine a love of drawing with herpassion for helping people, particularly young children. Ten years later,Garnero -- a National 2004-2005 Diabetes Educator of the Year recipient andaspiring author -- has been recognized not only for her professional work, buther artistic talents as well, infusing humor into a clever approach todiabetes management.
Garnero, 43, was one of four U.S. national grand prize winners of theinaugural Inspired by Diabetes contest, announced today by Eli Lilly andCompany and the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The winners will behonored at a celebration hosted by the program's Global Ambassador -- ElliottYamin, who has type 1 diabetes -- during the ADA's 68th Annual ScientificSessions this weekend in San Francisco.
The Inspired by Diabetes Creative Expression competition(inspiredbydiabetes.com) encourages all people touched by diabetes to sharetheir stories through visual and written creative expressions -- such asessays, poems, art and photography. Inspired by Diabetes is a globalcollaboration between Lilly and the International Diabetes Federation's Unitefor Diabetes initiative. In the United States, ADA is serving as the Inspiredby Diabetes U.S. national advocate.
The second year of the U.S. national competition will officially launchthis summer.
Garnero does not have diabetes but entered the contest in the health careprofessional 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 pancreasis the body's organ that produces insulin to regulate blood sugar levels; inpeople with diabetes, the pancreas makes little or no insulin, often requiringinsulin replacement therapy. Garnero says the idea for the pig came from thefact that they were an early source of insulin for people with diabetes.)
"As a certified diabetes educator, I continue to witness the impactdiabetes has on the people living with it, their families and global health,"Garnero said in her accompanying narrative. "I am continually inspired toprovide humorous, educational resources that unite the individual, the familyand our international professional community using positive and visually funideas."
Inspired by Diabetes builds on the theme of IDF's World Diabetes Day2007-08, dedicated to children and adolescents living with or at risk ofdiabetes worldwide. The spirit of the competition is to bring families andpeople with diabetes together to raise awareness of the global burden ofdiabetes -- and draw particular attention to people who do not have theresources they need to fight the disease.
By entering the competition, participants have had a direct impact on thelives of children with diabetes around the world.
In honor of the participants from the United States, Lilly made a $50,000donation to ADA for scholarships for low-income children to attend ADAdiabetes camps. For each entry into the global contest, Lilly is donatingmoney to IDF's Life for a Child Program, which provides life-saving diabetessupplies to more than 1,000 children in 17 developing countries.
"We're humbled by the response to the campaign and the depth of personalexperiences communicated in the stories and expressions received," saidStewart Perry, Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association. "We hopethese creative expressions will illuminate the many commonalities of acomplicated disease, reinforce a community of support and inspire people torealize that they have a lot to contribute in the fight against diabetes."
U.S. Grand Prize winners will have their submissions entered into theglobal co