Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pinstriping for Diabetes Camp

Ever thought about having your blood meter or insulin pump pimped out with pinstripes or some other creative artwork like vintage blue flames or flashy cool wavy lines?

Or maybe you've pondered how an artistic painting genius might illustrate what you’re feeling about a dreaded D-complication, like the Dead Eye version known as retinopathy?

Until recently, I can’t say my mind had ever pondered either of those above-mentioned concepts.

But now, thanks to the Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana, those two curiosities have been explored and addressed through an awesome fundraising event aimed at helping to send kids to Diabetes Camp. A group of talented artists brought those questions to life with a little paint and artistic wonder, part of the Pinstriper Panel Jam & Auction this past weekend that raised a total $8,815 to help send kids to the Camp Until a Cure in Noblesville, Indiana.

This all came to be at the World of Wheels class car show in Indianapolis, where these pinstripers created, showcased, and sold off their artistic work and donated every dime earned during the three-day show.

Pinstripes putting pizzazz in every BG Test!
Offering some time and energy, Suzi and I volunteered for a shift on Sunday morning but ended up staying the entire day to help out where needed. We're very glad we did, being able to not only experience the event and meet some great people but also see the final big check made out with the total amount presented to Jenna on stage with the pin stripers standing with her! Very cool.

At one point, after doing a blood test, my mind flashed to scenes throughout the day of the artists decorating everything from coat jackets, motorcycle helmets, key chains, and iphones and ipods. I looked at my One Touch Ultra Link and started swirling possibilities around in my mind…. Approaching one of the artists named Vincent, he offered to deck it out and went to work. I told him to surprise me with whatever his creativeness could muster up, and Suzi snapped some photos as performed his magic to create what is now my pimped out meter! This diabetic is now as slick as a T-Bird, with a One Touch meter that's gone all Greased Lightening with cool blue hot rod stripes. My meter is ready to cruise the groove of #bgnirvana and avoid those sharp glucoastering Dead Man's Curves that may lie ahead. (OK - Endeth the Digression of classic music and movie references.)

We opted to not have the insulin pump on my waist decked out with pinstripes, as Larry the Loaner 523 Revel is only a temporary cohort in crime and not to be replaced with my non-CGM friendly version we know as Sir Bacon Gibbs 723.

By pinstriper Bob Keeney "Bikini"
But while I didn’t any other diabetes-related items decorated, my mind managed to find a D-connection in one of the pieces created that morning and auctioned off that afternoon – it was a Dead Eye, seen to the left. The artist had a particular theme on a few pieces with this same style of eye, and no one could figure out its significance. Wondering aloud about the Dead Eye originas, I pontificated that this could be some reference to retinopathy…. Some snickered and Suzi shook her head at me, but the idea was stuck for good. (This probably wasn’t the case, but it sounded good and has now become my mental image for this dreaded D-Complication.) Others shook their heads at me, but I went on my merry way thinking what I thought. In the end, the Dead Eye masterpiece raised almost $100 for the DYFI.

Pinstripers were: Bob "Bikini" Keeney, Furious George, Jeff Whitaker, Mike Ralston, Rich Mickelson, Lit'l Bill, Lloyd Johnson, Brian (Dice), Mark Harmon, Shane Syx, Seth "Wink" Killea, Victor Figueroa, Jerry Carr, and Bob Vandergraff.

Countless other items were made and sold, and it was great being a part of it for the first time. There's another pinstriping charity event in October, one that may bring more opportunity for even more outside involvement and some interest for the Diabetes Online Community as World Diabetes Day draws near... So stay tuned!

Disclosure: This was my introductory event as the newest DYFI board member, something that became official earlier this month. I join a dedicated group of individuals working to make D-Life a little more manageable for children with diabetes and their families, via camp and related programs. I’ve only been involved in the organization for about a year, after reaching out in late 2009 as I'd gotten more fully invested in the Diabetes Online Community and was trying to take that energy offline into my local Diabetes Community. I’ve written about D-Camp before, but this year the departing director who’d introduced me to the DYFI asked if I’d be interested in stepping it up a notch. Really, it was a no-brainer and I gladly accepted the invitation.

So with that, I'm excited to be a "grown up D-Camper" now being all official-like in my D-Camp board participation. One thing that's on tap to help spread the word about the DYFI and Camp Until A Cure, which is the only one of its kind here in the state of Indiana. While two other D-Camps do great things in other parts of the state, the difference here is that this is the only one in Central Indiana and it’s specifically built and designed for diabetes and special needs, not as a side-project at a bigger camp that holds other programs and only occasionally delves into the diabetes world. Social media is a part of all this, and so that’s where I come in to help spread the word online. With a new Type 1 executive director just starting at the end of January, the DYFI (on Twitter as @dyfofindiana) continues moving forward with some exciting endeavors and I’m excited to be a part of that. In her mid-20s, Jenna Holt (a Type 1 diagnosed at 17) is already on the ball and has hit the ground running. This recent Pinstriping fundraiser was her debut event, and my personal observations are that she helped make it a glowing success and raised more than what had ever been brought in before!

Jenna says, "I couldn't have asked for a better turn-out with our pinstripers. They were amazing with hearts of gold. I think overall, the event went great and that we have room to set/ exceed goals for next year."

Others have written about D-Camp before, such as Kerri and Kelly and most recently Haley from Naturally Sweet who said this, “Diabetes camp is one of the best experiences that a child with diabetes can have. Camp is a place to learn self-confidence, independence, to be with other kids with diabetes, and simply to have a great time.” A Place to be 'normal.'

That is what the DYFI is all about and it's great to be a part of that. Pinstriped blood meters, concepts of Adult D-Camp, and everything else that may be down the road.

1 comment:

Jacquie said...

I think it would be hilarious to return your loaner all decked out and pinstriped, and act like nothing was different.