Spotlight on Artists: Expressing Life with Diabetes Through Art

By Lauren Ziminsky

The Myabetic Diabetes Art Show, presented by Medtronic, is a virtual gallery event airing exclusively on Myabetic Diabetes TV on July 17th at 5PM Pacific Time/8PM Eastern Time. Hosted by Michelle Hale (@globaldiabetic), this event will spotlight 16 talented artists from around the world who express their unique experiences and emotions of living with diabetes through art.

Featured artists include:

Ana Morales (@anamoralesart) Virginia, United States

“I create diabetes art as a way to practice mindfulness and to process and cope with the challenges of living with a chronic illness. I also do it to advocate for diabetes awareness and access to insulin for all.”

Dana Swann (@glucose101) New York, United States

“This is my way of showing others it’s okay to have a difference, to have a disability, and to share it. When we are transparent, then we can find connection, and when we connect, we can appreciate each other and build respectful relationships with all kinds of people.”

Channy Blott (@silentchanny) Alberta, Canada

“As a deaf artist, I would often represent sign language or deaf issues. However, whenever I see stereotypical diabetes images and jokes, I’m sad knowing the illness is underrepresented. While many fantastic deaf artists exist, I feel most comfortable and motivated to visualize diabetes, knowing my art will make people’s day.”

David Mina (@type1livabetic) California, United States

“I create diabetes art because that is my creative outlet for living with diabetes daily. Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved art and design, so when I was diagnosed with diabetes, I applied my feelings towards this disease into my art and design work.”

Filipe Miguel (@filipemiguelart) Massachusetts, United States

“Creating works about diabetes has helped open conversations that raise awareness and dispel myths.”

Diababe Life (@diababelife) Ohio, United States

“It’s difficult to describe what it’s like to live with diabetes. Art is how I share my personal experience and try to connect with the community.”

Gina Pillina (@gina.pillina) Puebla, Mexico

“I used to be angry at my diabetes, then I found out I could tell what I felt through drawings. What I like to do is to inform people about type 1 diabetes but in a funny way. Making people laugh helps better to understand and to remember important facts.”

Vibhati Sharma Ontario, Canada

“Creating art on diabetes helps me channelize my fear and frustration of living with chronic disease. However, I do want to create art to educate the community about type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed in India, there is no proper education and awareness which makes it difficult to live with this condition.”

Jenna Cantamessa (@typeonevibes) Queensland, Australia

“Diabetes is portrayed as a ‘bad’ disease in our society and it’s so important to make something beautiful of it for those living with it. When people tell me that they have hung my art on their wall because it motivates them every day – it gives me a purpose. If my art can help one person a day, whether it is to make them laugh smile or just get them through another day knowing they’re not alone, I will keep making diabetes art.”

Katie Lamb (@katie_t1d_artxox) Nottingham, England

“Creating diabetes art started as a method of expressing all the emotions that come with diabetes- I was really struggling and art became my voice. Now, art allows me to connect with other diabetics in the community to represent and empower friends from all over the world.”

Matthew Tarro (@matt.taro) California, United States

“I can see and create things that other people cannot or have not tried. There are no boundaries – keep pushing the envelope and taking risks.”

Michael Natter (@mike.natter) New York, United States

“Art is a catharsis for me. It is a means of expressing myself when no words can. I also hope that my art serves as positive reminders to others that living with diabetes does not limit you or make you lesser, but instead it can just be a part of our lives and in some cases, be a catalyst for positivity.”

Miranda Rylewski (@insulinwitch) Sydney, Australia

“I started creating art as a way to build a relationship with my diabetes as I’d never had one before and completely ignored it which was leading to serious complications. I genuinely believe this art saved me from a very sick future.”

The Diabetic Survivor (@thediabeticsurvivor) Scotland, United Kingdom

“I create diabetes art to bring some joy and happiness to the diabetes community, touching certain aspects of the ‘diabetes world’. At the end of the day, there are certain things that only another person with diabetes would understand.”

Weronika Burkot (@typeone.bluesugarcube) Brussels, Belgium

“I create diabetes art to support and inspire the diabetes community, raise diabetes awareness, and show my unique perspective on life with type 1 diabetes.”

Zoey Stevens (@zoeystevens) California, United States

“I create diabetes art to help people figure out how it makes them feel or gain some insight about what it is. A picture is worth a thousand words, so it is always fun to see how people interpret a painting. And it is a great way to start a dialogue about the disease.”

Watch how each artist communicates their story of living with diabetes through art while inspiring and connecting the global diabetes community. This virtual gallery event will be broadcasted on Myabetic Diabetes TV on July 17th at 5PM Pacific Time/8PM Eastern Time. Myabetic Diabetes TV is available worldwide on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, iOS, Android TV, Google Play and on the website myabetic.tv.

More information available on www.myabetic.com/art-show. Want to share this on your website/blog and need additional images? Email artshow@myabetic.com

Source: diabetesdaily.com

Research Perspectives From a 50-Year Diabetes Medalist

By Chris Stiehl, T1D patient for over 61 years, so far

The Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School began in 1893 when its founder, Elliott P. Joslin, MD, first developed his interest in diabetes care. This center was among the first-ever dedicated to the study of diabetes. It is well-known for many discoveries and innovations, including diabetes camps and the introduction of honoring long-term survival for diabetes. For the last 20 years or so, the Joslin Diabetes Center has been studying those who have survived 50 years or more with type 1 diabetes (or T1D). Following the tradition of Dr. Joslin, 50-year survival medals have been awarded to those in the studies since 1972. Dr. George King has been the lead investigator on these studies, having joined the Joslin Diabetes Center in 1981.

Initially, ​the purpose of this study was to document the presence of eye, nerve and kidney complications related to diabetes, as well as to examine DNA and substances in the blood and urine of people with diabetes for 50 years or more. This was to identify factors which may protect from large and small vessel complications, and potentially lead to protection from aging-related diseases. In recent years, funders have investigated related issues and sought ways to extend life with T1D beyond the 50-year Medalist criterion. Indeed, 80-year and 85-year Medalists have been honored at recent meetings.

Over 1,100 Joslin Medalists have been studied so far, including examinations of eyes, skin, kidneys, heart, extremities, nerves, and cognitive functioning. The ensuing results have been enlightening and positive in many ways. For example, Medalists tend to have better bone density than the general population at the same age. There are fewer incidences of classic Alzheimer’s disease symptoms among Joslin 50-year Medalists. Medalists tend to be more outgoing and positive about their future than the general population.


Dr. George King

Many medalists have donated their pancreases for post-mortem study. In all cases, functioning beta cells were found in these pancreases, resulting in occasional “trace” readings with respect to C-peptide even among those who have had T1D 60 years or more.

Data analyses continue for information gained from the studies of Medalist’s blood, retinal images, blood vessel scans, and retinal data. More and more results are being published from the Medalist studies each year.

There will be a Senior T1D session featuring Dr. King at the JDRF Type One Nation Virtual Summit on April 24th, 2021. Several very interesting sessions are scheduled on topics such as COVID and T1D, as well as the mental strain of restrictions of activities and interactions due to COVID. This TON Summit should be as exciting as the one last September, if not more so.

JDRF awarded an Impact Grant to Chris Stiehl to host a senior summit concerning the results of the Medalist studies on the west coast, since most of the Medalist meetings in the past have been held in Boston and many Medalists were unable to attend previous meetings due to health, travel or age limitations. This meeting will be in-person, at the LAX Marriott on August 15th, providing it will be relatively safe to meet by then. You must register in advance for this Senior Summit for Long-Term T1D. The program is still being constructed, but Dr. King has indicated his desire to participate, as well as Aaron Kowalski, CEO of JDRF.

Although the data concerning the relationship between COVID and long-term T1D is sparse, at best, at this point, it is known that transplant patients and those with compromised immune systems are at greater risk for more severe cases. We plan to have a speaker on that subject, as well as subjects requested by Medalists for the Senior Summit, such as research on new devices and tools, so-called “smart” insulins, artificial pancreases, better metrics (beyond A1c), looping and others.

Source: diabetesdaily.com

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