Cyber Monday means the holiday season is fast approaching. Have you wished you could find that special gift for a loved one, family member or friend living with diabetes?
Here are some unique ideas ranging from a miniature diabetes kit for a popular series of dolls to a fashionable line of diabetes-friendly clothing.
Founded by artist Wendy Bryan Lazar, I Heart Guts! grew out of a drawing she had illustrated of a broken heart, “after a string of bad hookups, dead-end relationships and lame-o boyfriends,” Wendy explained.
Now happily married, Wendy has developed a suite of light-hearted plush organs, from pituitary and adrenal glands to a kidney and gall bladder: “What I imagine Hello Kitty®’s organs might look like,” she said.
Many of Wendy’s customers have a personal relationship with their organ of choice – her plush tonsil and appendix appeal to those who’ve had them removed – but she says that customers who buy the pancreas seem to be the most involved.
“People who live with diabetes are especially knowledgeable about the pancreas,” she said. “And many have a terrific sense of humor. More than one person has told me they sometimes use their plush pancreas as a punching bag, because their own pancreas isn’t working.” The pancreas was even featured on DiabetesMine, in a mock job interview!
More information on the plush pancreas, along with a suite of related T-shirts, key chains, magnets and other gift ideas, is at iHeartGuts.com.
Jerry the Bear, a teddy bear aimed at helping children learn to manage type 1 diabetes, is the creation of co-founders and co-CEOs Aaron Horowitz and Hannah Chung. Two of Hannah’s grandparents and her father live with type 2 diabetes, and Aaron in his childhood took nightly injections for a non-diabetes condition.
Jerry, a limited edition stuffed bear, comes with diabetes supplies, including food (in the form of cards) and an insulin pen with six corresponding injection sites. Kids are able to learn to feed Jerry a healthful diet and to monitor his blood sugar to help it stay in target range – when Jerry’s glucose goes high or low, he describes his symptoms aloud, encouraging kids to recognize their own feelings. Other accessories include a backpack, interactive storybooks and a rechargeable battery.
To learn more about Jerry the Bear, visit JerryTheBear.com.
Designed by Carol P. Cramer, Ruby and Rufus sport colorful patches on areas that correspond to where a child with type 1 diabetes can receive injections. Both bears wear medical alert bracelets stating they have diabetes.
Rufus is part of JDRF’s Bag of Hope, which also includes Rufus Comes Home, A First Book for Understanding Diabetes. Bags of Hope can be obtained through JDRF local chapters. Ruby is available on Amazon.
The American Girl line of dolls — which includes African-American, Hispanic, Native American, and Jewish characters — also sells accessories ranging from glasses and hearing aids, arm crutches and wheelchairs.
Earlier this year, in response to an online petition started in 2013 by Anja Busse after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, American Girl launched a Diabetes Care Kit, including a blood glucose meter, lancing device, insulin pump, glucose tablets, and other supplies. The designer, Matt Wahmhoff, himself lives with T1 and a panel of diabetes care team professionals oversaw the project to help ensure its accuracy and age-appropriateness.
More information on the kit can found on American Girl’s website.
Shannon Darner and her son both live with type 1 diabetes. Frustrated by a lack of stylish options to accommodate her insulin pump, Shannon explained that “I could not find anything stylish to put my insulin pump in underneath my clothing without the cord hanging all over the place. My son put his pump in his pockets, but I did not always have that option.”
Taking matters into her own hands, Shannon launched FreeToGo, a line of stylish leggings, undergarments, jewelry and glucose tablet holders, each designed by a person living with diabetes.
FreeToGo gift options include garter bands to hold insulin pumps, ID bracelets for men, and a car visor that holds a supply of glucose tabs.
Visit FreeToGoStyle.com for more information.
Wendy Bryan Lazar received no compensation for her interview. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewees and/or contributors, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.
I Heart Guts! is a registered trademark of Weeber, LLC.
Hello Kitty is a registered trademark of Sanrio Company, Ltd.
Jerry the Bear is a registered trademark of Sproutel Corp.
Rufus, the Bear with Diabetes and Ruby, the Bear with Diabetes are registered trademarks of Carol P. Cramer.
American Girl is a registered trademark of American Girl.
FreeToGo is a registered trademark of SSBB Designs, LLC.
© 2016 The DX: The Diabetes Experience