Art therapy for young diabetics

ONE in every 450 children has Type One diabetes and almost 65,000 are newly diagnosed each year, global statistics reveal.  

Roche Diagnostics (Diabetes Care) marketing manager Dekchen-Soo says: “We always get the same shocked reaction when we tell people about diabetes in young children and teenagers. In general, people view diabetes as an older person’s ailment. We need to change this perception, educate and create awareness amongst the young and their families about diabetes prevention, monitoring and control.” 

According to Roche Diagnostics, children as young as three have been diagnosed with the disease. 

Soo says that learning about diabetes is important because, with knowledge and understanding, children can lead normal, healthy lifestyles, and they can help delay serious diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, stroke, eye and kidney disease and depression.  

DIABETES DRAWING: A prize-winning entry from Italy in the Accu-Chek Global Art Contest 2003.

Hence, as part of Roche Diagnostics’ continuous efforts to provide education, information and quality customer service, the company recently joined hands with the International Diabetes Federation to organise the first Accu-Chek Global Art Contest 2003.  

Themed, Managing my diabetes lets me follow my dreams, the contest was aimed at helping children express their feelings about diabetes through art.  

Says Soo: “Education is the key that can open the door and empower youngsters to take charge of their lives and destinies. Education can also help them communicate their needs and feelings better. Children sometimes find it difficult to express their feelings and thoughts. Through art, which is a form of non-verbal communication, we can gain valuable insight into a younger person’s feelings about his or her condition, which is what makes the art contest so important and relevant.” 

The Accu-Chek Global Art Contest is also intended to help families and healthcare professionals better understand the emotional impact diabetes has on children.  

Drawing over 2,000 entries from 27 countries, the winning artists won a visit to a Disneyland theme park with their families.  

Following its overwhelming success, Accu-Chek Global Art Contest 2004 will soon be launched.  

Themed, The Spirit of Challenge, the contest will be open to children and teens with diabetes, aged six to 17. The most creative, imaginative and original work of art stands to win a holiday worth 5,000 euros. 

“So, get your paint brushes out and start practising. We will be announcing the contest details in local newspapers very soon,” says Soo. 

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