Coco, Disney, Lilly, and Nick Jonas's ... Mom.
At Friends for Life, several members of the DOC had a chance to meet up with representatives from Lilly (one being the same guy who rode over on the Magical Disney Bus with me from the airport, and he had the most impossibly teeny carry-on bag. Only a guy could pack business clothes for a week into one, single carry-on. /digression and also, hi, Adam) to discuss a very cool partnership between Disney and Eli Lilly.
Oh yes, that's right: Disney has it's own PWD. Her name is Coco. She's a monkey. (Or "MWD," as Leighann so aptly put it.)
Others have written about Ms. Coco and her diabetes bracelet of animated glory, but I wanted to chime in and add my excitement. I grew up with images of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as parts of my childhood, and I knew plenty of kids who went to Disney World on vacation. But I didn't know anyone else who had diabetes. Now, diabetes has infiltrated the mainstays of childhood memories by becoming part of the Disney gang. Coco, a monkey who clearly has the same affinity for bows as my daughter, is right there in the thick of the Disney mainstream, and sporting a busted pancreas. This is awesome, because it gives little kids with diabetes a cartoon character they can identify with, and feel cool about. (And I'm secretly thankful that Mickey or Minnie weren't 'chosen' to have diabetes, since mice are always managing to get cured randomly.)
Part of this collaboration between Lilly and Disney is an update to the Disney Family.com website, featuring editorial and information specific to families with type 1 diabetes. This, to me, is just as cool as that crazy MWD. Disney is extremely well-known (see also: understatement of the year) and to have type 1 diabetes featured prominently in their space is nothing short of remarkable. This is mainstream attention to a disease that was once sorely misunderstood and ignored. (Now we're just slightly misunderstood and social media'd.) Now you can visit www.Family.com and check out their diabetes offerings, anchored by the tagline, "Everyday challenges; everyday magic."
And lastly, as part of this Disney/Lilly partnership (henceforth referred to here as "Dilly," because I can't type those two words over and over again without getting distracted), there's a contest. "Once Upon a Time" is all about sharing the real stories of life with diabetes, and bringing more families into the magic of Friends For Life. From the website:
"Lilly Diabetes and Disney Online have joined forces to help families with children who have type 1 diabetes see the magic that exists in everyday moments. It's all part of a new initiative designed to provide understanding and support to families affected by type 1 diabetes."
What happens next is an essay contest where parents of kids with diabetes are encouraged to submit an essay inspired by their child's experience with type 1 diabetes. These entries will be judged, and the winning entry will score air fare, hotel, and conference registration for a family of four to attend the 2012 Friends for Life conference.
To top it off, Disney and Lilly have added some celebrities to help raise awareness of their Once Upon a Time contest. One of these celebrities is the mother of OMG NICK JONAS himself, Denise Jonas. I'll be speaking with her this afternoon, and will share her take on all of this with you later today!
I am impressed. This isn't just a drop-in-the-bucket kind of advocacy effort so a company can check their "We did our diabetes advocacy due diligence" box. This is real. A real Disney character with type 1 diabetes. A real chance for a family to enjoy the magic of both Disney and Friends for Life. I love this.
Obligatory disclosure: I attended an information session hosted by some members of the Lilly team, and they filled me and some of my fellow PWDs in on this partnership information. Per usual, my opinions are my own. As are my typos.