What is the idea behind the diabetes ribbon?
We often see ribbons for many causes such as breast cancer, AIDS, support for soldiers, and the like. It makes sense to have a ribbon to support diabetes. The colors of the various ribbons appear to match the respective cause so that when the ribbon is seen by others the association is immediate. Red for aids makes sense due to the association of blood. Pink for breast cancer makes sense due to its associate with women. Camouflage for soldiers makes sense due to the gear soldiers wear. So, why is the color for diabetes grey? What is with the red gem? Where did this idea come from, anyway?
When a grassroots group wondered why there was no ribbon for diabetes awareness they took it upon themselves to come up with one that made sense to them. After much debate, they came up with grey for one very good that actually make as much sense as the colors for the causes mentioned above. They wanted a color that would make an immediate association with the cause. No other group was using grey at the time, so they elected to use grey. They added the gem as a symbol of hope. The grey for them is associated with the challenges diabetes brought to their lives.
It should be noted that Type 1 and Juvenile Diabetes have different colors. Type 1 has a blue and grey ribbon with a drop of blood at the “pin” location, while Juvenile Diabetes has an orange colored ribbon.
During the month of November, which is Diabetes Awareness Month, these ribbons may be seen everywhere as they are worn by diabetics and their family members, doctors who treat them, and organizations that promote awareness and work to prevent or cure diabetes. There is one other symbol, which is a large blue circle. This is considered the universal symbol for diabetes for all citizens of the world. It is used particularly during the month of November and it is prominently displayed on World Diabetes Day, which is November 14th.
Until the day comes that T1 is finally cured and no child is born with it and until T2 is eradicated once and for all, Diabetes awareness is necessary. The more we understand the causes of this illness the more likely we can knock this one out of our lives. If you see a person with these ribbons or the blue circle displayed, ask them what it means to them. They may have diabetes, or they may have a loved one who does. They may be working toward ending diabetes. Listen to their story and ask questions about it. It may be the most important conversation you will have that will save your life or the life of someone you love.
For those whose lives are untouched by diabetes, kudos to you! The best way to keep it that way is to live and learn how to keep it that way. Stay aware and share.