Win Jerry the Bear!

This week on Diabetes Connections I’m talking to the inventors of Jerry the Bear, an amazing teaching toy that helps kids with type 1 diabetes or food allergies learn through play.  I’m excited to announce I’m giving away one Jerry the Bear!

Listen to the podcast to find out how Sproutel’s founders Hannah Chung and Aaron Horowitz continue to improve their award-winning and adorable product. They’ve even been honored by the White House. Then enter to win!

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Click here to enter the contest. Just fill out the form!

Contest begins 11/24/2015 and closes 12/8/2015. Entries accepted via this form. Shipping outside the U.S. voids the repair warranty on Jerry the Bear (please be aware if you enter and do not live in the USA). Winner chosen at random from all entries and may choose either expansion pack (type 1 diabetes or food allergies).  Jerry will ship in the summer of 2016 (this is the earliest available shipping date). Click here & scroll down for FAQ about this latest version of Jerry the Bear featured in our contest.

The Diabetes-Free Day

animaspingLike most parents of kids with diabetes, I worry about burnout. That’s why we tried something I call The Diabetes-Free Day.

New column up over at Animas: 

My friends who’ve been through the teen years talk about burnout and warn me about expecting him to do too much at a young age. We help a lot at home with site changes and BG checks when he wants. At the same time, I think he’d be insulted if I told him he couldn’t or shouldn’t take care of himself at school or a when he’s away from home…

When Benny came home (from non-d sleep-away camp) this year, I had a funny idea. He’d done an amazing job and only had a couple of bad lows and highs; overall he’d kept his blood sugar in a really good range. But I knew it was a lot of work and a lot of brain power. So I made him an offer, “How about a diabetes-free day?” I asked.

(click here to keep reading)

Hey, local media!

I’m a little frustrated with how diabetes awareness month is being covered here in Charlotte. I know, I know. There’s a month for everything, no one has a full time health reporter anymore and I can just hear an EP saying, “We need to deliver real news that’s compelling to our audience.”

Lucky you, I’m here to help! I’ve worked in TV & radio in this town for more than 15 years and I know this audience. This town cares. Wants to help. Wants to learn. So, step it up, Charlotte media. Not sure how? Here you go:

Cover Reegan’s Rule. A first of its kind legislation in the nation. Passed in September and is now being considered by other states. This will affect every child born in North Carolina. Legit hard news out of the NC Leg. and you haven’t touched it. Now’s still a good time.

Profile the newly diagnosed 11-year-old, playing in her first soccer game since she left the hospital. Last week, she was worried about scoring. Now, she has to balance what she eats, how much insulin she takes and her activity. Her mom and dad cheer on the sideline, gripping insulin pens and glucose tabs, trying not to show her that they are scared out of their minds.

Talk to the young man who told his doctor that he wanted to be a pediatric endocrinologist when he grew up, “just like you.” His doctor said, “Sure, and if you do it, I’ll hire you.” They now work together, seeing the hundreds of kids in our area who need their help.

Learn about the man who lost his mother to diabetes last year and is now dedicated to raising money to send kids to life-changing diabetes camps. He’s got a great Panthers-themed fundraiser this weekend.

Introduce the teenager who is starting a mentoring program. He wants young kids with type 1 to see that it’s okay and even cool to wear the tech that keeps them healthy (like insulin pumps and CGMs) and he’s working to pair up high school students with younger kids.

Need more? Charlotte is full of amazing people with diabetes.

We have an Ironman triathlete, an woman with T1D who is a successful islet-cell transplant recipient (part of a clinical trial, she no longer needs to take insulin), an accomplished drummer and musician who says his T1D diagnosis saved his life as he is now a recovering alcoholic. There are ordinary kids like my son who just wants to play Minecraft and football but has pricked his finger more than 25-thousand times since he was diagnosed almost nine years ago. There are ordinary adults living with type 1 (that’s why they don’t call it “Juvenile” anymore).

Shine a warm light on the people here with type 2 diabetes, keeping silent this month because of the shame and blame. The jokes about #diabetes on social media and the accusations they brought it on themselves. Consider explaining what gestational diabetes is (and why we have to drink that gross orange soda while we’re pregnant).

Diabetes isn’t a rare illness. But it can be invisible. It can encourage isolation. We need to talk about it more. So c’mon, show us you’re truly On Your Side, The News Leader, & Looking Out For You

And if you can’t make a compelling story out of any of this, what are you doing in media?




That’s nice. What is a podcast?

DC_FinalLogo_GrayBkgrnd_PodcastI started the Diabetes Connections podcast this past June and I’m having a blast. Talking to interesting people, learning more about a topic I have great passion for and getting back behind the microphone. What’s not to like?

However, quite a few friends and even several guests have said to me, “Wow, you’ve started a podcast?! That’s so cool. What exactly is that??”

A podcast is basically a radio show that you listen to whenever you want on whatever device you want. They first got popular back when the iPod was introduced. People realized they could create their own shows on computers and other people could find them on the internet and upload them to this newfangled version of the Walkman. A lot has changed, they’re much easier to put onto your mobile device for one thing, but the name stuck. iPod. Podcast.

Most regular radio shows have a podcast version as well. Almost always, it’s what they’ve already aired, just available when you want it, on demand. The vast majority of podcasts, though, are created by people who don’t work for a radio station. Some have millions of listeners and are professional operations. Others get 10 downloads and sound like they’re produced in their mother’s basements.  (More cool info from Pew research here)

podcast app graphicIt’s pretty easy to listen. If you have an iPhone or iPad, the native podcast app looks like this.  Just tap it and enter “Diabetes Connections” in the search. You can also ask Siri to find it for you. (“Siri, find Diabetes Connections Podcast”) Once you find it, you can subscribe so you never miss an episode, or just pick whatever episode you find interesting at that moment. Or, just click here for my iTunes link.

stitcherAndroid users have lots of options, too. Pocket Casts is usually the top-rated app, but it’s not free. You can check out Stitcher Radio for Podcasts, which is. I’m an Apple person, so if you know of a great Android podcast app, please leave it in the comments! There really are dozens of podcast apps; my show should be listed just about everywhere. Here’s a link to my show on Stitcher.

Since most new cars now come equipped with Bluetooth, it’s easy to listen while you drive. Just play the show from the phone and use the Bluetooth to connect with your car’s sound system. You can also listen from your laptop, most podcasts have a website. Here’s mine (so convenient, right?!).

About one third of Americans listened to a podcast last year, so there are still a lot of you who’ve haven’t. I hope this helps you take the plunge, whether you listen to my show or any of the tens of thousands of podcasts being produced right now. For more info, this is a great explainer from the Wall Street Journal, complete with apps they recommend and podcasts they love.

If you like mine, please share it with anyone you know who’s touched by diabetes. I love creating this show. I hope you love listening to it.