I can’t say that most diabetes educational materials for kids get me too excited.
But when I received an email from Lilly Diabetes with two images that have been under wraps until their announcement at the 2011 Children With Diabetes Conference, I have to say I got a few tears in my eyes.
First, when Q looked at Coco, I told her to look at the monkey’s bracelet. Her jaw dropped. Literally.
I can’t believe there is a Disney character with Type 1 diabetes just like me! -Q
Then as the kids scrolled down to the next image, she exclaimed “Get that book!”
Even my non-D child wants to get his hands on the book. His recent birthday party had a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse theme.
So why the tears?
Because I had the image of the book on the screen and I took a closer look. Coco wears a bracelet, just like my daughter. She wears a backpack that surely is full of D-supplies, just like my daughter. And there is CAKE on the table, which surely she can eat, just like my daughter!
When my daughter was diagnosed with diabetes, she had three birthday parties to attend within two weeks of being sprung from the hospital. I remember asking the nurse what I was supposed to do. Was I supposed to rescind our RSVP’s so that she wasn’t exposed to cake? Was I supposed to take some alternate low carb “treat” for her to consume? What was I supposed to do?!
The nurse gave me the best advice I think I have gotten in the three years since her diagnosis:
Let her be a kid.
I was told to go to the parties, let her eat the cake, and give her insulin.
And I have gotten quite good at estimating boluses for birthday cake, cupcakes, and ice cream.
Recently she was invited to a pool party and the birthday girl’s father made a remark to me about Q not being able to have the cake. I quickly corrected him, “Oh yes she can!”
The Lilly Diabetes and Disney Partnership
I spoke with Matt Caffrey from Lilly Diabetes by phone while he was at the Children With Diabetes conference. Matt says that Lilly is excited and proud to partner with Disney on this big project which brings together what each does best. Lilly has been in the diabetes business for 90 years and in 1923 brought commercially available insulin to market. (Read the book Breakthrough.) Matt says that what Disney does best is the “Disney Magic” with it’s “connection to families.”
The partnership will be one of information, dialog, and how to’s. It has a positive message of what children with diabetes and their families can do, not what they shouldn’t do.
Something that Matt said in our conversation resonated with me, that medicine is a small part of success with diabetes. That it’s not about the medicine, it’s living life with diabetes.
The new partnership has three aspects.
The online component is a section of the Family.com site operated by Disney that is devoted entirely to diabetes. It will be updated monthly with seasonal topics.
I took a look at the site and thought that it was a good start. I especially thought the printables for carb counts were cute! The site will include dialog from two sisters who each have a child with diabetes, as well as information relevant to the time of year. For instance, there is info about camping right now.
When you click on the parenting tab, you will see “Type 1 Diabetes” on the right.
The second aspect of the partnership is with Disney Publishing and includes the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse book shown above. It was my impression that there will be additional titles in this series featuring Coco. In this book, Coco who is newly diagnosed with diabetes is invited to Goofy’s birthday party. The message of the book is that, of course she can go to the party (and so can your child) and have fun like all the other kids.
Because children can be diagnosed with diabetes at any age, they will also be be publishing tween novels (chapter books) geared toward middle school aged children. There will be a series for girls and one for boys. The first two books will focus on participating in sports.
There will also be a Type 1 cookbook with a Disney theme and will include gluten-free recipes.
Lastly, they’ve worked with Birnbaum to create a Disney travel guide that is specific to diabetes. They handed these out at the CWD conference held at Disney this year.
They will be distributing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse books to healthcare providers (for instance pediatric endocrinologists) for distribution to patients at no charge.
Will there be a Coco plush? Not in the foreseeable future. But wouldn’t that be awesome for a child to receive at diagnosis!
*MWD = Monkey With Diabetes
(I hereby coin the abbreviation MWD!)
Images courtesy of Lilly Diabetes.
More posts about children’s books.
Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way by Lilly Diabetes or Disney for this post. I will receive materials, including a copy of the book, to use for editorial purposes. Please read the disclosure statement.