Medtronic is encouraging Australians to take part in a new challenge that aims to raise awareness and funds for research into type 1 diabetes.
In its second year, the Blue Balloon Challenge sees participants perform an everyday activity while keeping a blue balloon in the air, record themselves doing it, and then post it to social media (#blueballoonchallenge @medtronicdiabetesaus).
The company will donate $5 to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Type 1 diabetes affects more than 125,000 Australians, with 3,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
The challenge of keeping a balloon in the air is designed to highlight the complexities of living with the condition.
“The effort of keeping a balloon in the air at all times while performing other daily tasks is a powerful metaphor for how people living with type 1 diabetes have to continuously think about managing their blood glucose levels 24/7,” said Aviva Assouline, senior regional director of Medtronic ANZ Diabetes.
“People living with type 1 diabetes need to make multiple decisions every day to keep their blood sugar levels in check. These include making choices about everything they eat, drink, how much exercise to do, and so much more. There is never a break, and it is always there, often invisible to others.”
“JDRF Australia is delighted to be supported by Medtronic’s Blue Balloon Challenge this year, helping to increase awareness of life with type 1 diabetes and raise vital funds needed to continue funding our research,” said Mike Wilson OAM, JDRF CEO and managing director.
“JDRF’s is committed to creating a world without type 1 diabetes, and our research portfolio is designed to unlock cures for the condition and improve lives every day until that happens. That isn’t possible without the generous support from our partners like Medtronic, who share in our ambition for changing the future for the type 1 diabetes community.”
Type 1 diabetic and Sydney Swans player Paddy McCartin believes that research has come a long way in improving the lives of people with T1D.
“There have been a lot of advancements in diabetes research since I was first diagnosed, thanks to the amazing work of doctors and researchers. However, people with T1D still face daily challenges that the general public are unaware of,” he said.
“Managing T1D takes a lot of planning and patience. I have to plan my insulin around what my day looks like, for example, what I eat and when I train. However, there are also other things that can affect blood sugar, such as hormonal changes, stress, and the time of day.”
“Medtronic’s Blue Balloon Challenge is a great initiative to raise awareness of what people with T1D go through every day, and the efforts and sacrifices they need to make to lead a comfortable and normal life,” he added.
The Blue Balloon challenge will run until May 2023.