As we look to a brighter future for people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D), their families, and those who care for them, we often seek inspiration from the T1D community. We recently curated images from several artists who live with type 1 diabetes to create a 2017 desk calendar, entitled “A Year in the life with T1D Exchange.” Combining these images with several of the Glu community’s Six-word memoirs, the calendar provides an encouraging reminder of the challenges, successes and celebrations surrounding T1D.
This calendar, which was available to Glu users as well as T1D Exchange colleagues and members, features the work of a photographer, a painter and a street artist. Here are their stories.
Stephen Richert, Living Vertical
I’m a documentary adventure photographer who also happens to live with type 1 diabetes (since 1999).
Climbing changed my life shortly after I was diagnosed at 16 years old. It taught me to find joy in struggle, to deal with frustration, failure and risk. It taught me about the value in fighting against insurmountable odds. Photography gave me a means to own that unfolding story with all of its ups and downs. It is my goal to teach others and empower others to embrace challenge and create from it a beautiful life.
Appleton Artworks, www.appletonartworks.com — @Appletonpictures
After surviving a diabetic coma at the age of six, Appleton began to collect almost every Insulin bottle that has gone through his system. Amounting to hundreds of bottles, faded syringes and old blood strips — all reminders of his survival through the years. Appleton speaks about the diabetes — how it can really only be known by those living with it or loving someone who does…and even then they will never know. With a cure in sight, Appleton’s mission is to raise awareness of diabetes through his art. Misunderstood by many as an easy disease. Sadly unknown are the physical and psychological battles all diabetics go through daily — let alone a lifetime.
My art is about bringing diabetic awareness to the streets – to inspire all people who see it everyday.
Suzanne Gardner, www.suzannegardner.com
I am a blind artist living with type 1 diabetes. My disability has encouraged me to create work that inspires my audience. My hope is that people will see the inter-connectedness of all beings. My personal challenges have given me a great appreciation of the need for this connectedness between people. I use an impressionistic style but bring in very bold and contrasting colours which give me the capability to distinguish between the varying hues. Strong magnifying glasses allow my limited vision to guide me rather than hinder my work.