Grand-prize winner Anna Katherine Tollett and her younger brother, Jon Robert.
When Anna Katherine Tollett was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she knew nothing about the disease. Three years later, she’s educating everyone in her town about what it means to have diabetes.
Anna Katherine is the grand-prize winner of the American Diabetes Association’s Share Your Vision Stop Diabetes video contest, which took place during American Diabetes Month last November. During the month, people from across the country submitted 30-second videos explaining why they wanted to stop diabetes. After the ADA narrowed more than 100 submissions down to the top 10, public voting commenced in January. Ten thousand votes later and Anna Katherine, a 10-year-old from Ruston, La., was proclaimed the winner of an iPad and the chance to appear in a Stop Diabetes public service announcement. The contest was sponsored by VSP Vision Care.
Her winning video explained life as a tween with diabetes through animation. “I run, I play, I test five times a day,” Anna Katherine recites as a stick figure girl runs, skateboards, and tests her blood glucose. “It tells [viewers] I can do this, it doesn’t limit you,” she explains. “It’s difficult, but it’s manageable.”
The video was a collaboration between Anna Katherine and her parents, Roland and Kristi Tollett. While Roland designed the animation, Anna Katherine had the vision: “I wanted to show people what kids and people with diabetes do,” she says. And the reason she chose animation over a video? “I’m around a lot of people who don’t like to see needles go through the skin so I just wanted to take the sting out of diabetes.”
To get the word out, Anna Katherine enlisted her family and friends, spoke to her church, and talked to local news stations about the video and what it means to have diabetes. The most important aspect of participating in the contest was “telling people what I go through,” she says. “The more people that know about diabetes, the more people will donate.”
|Rachel Wright took second place.|
The second-place winner, 13-year-old Rachel Wright of Highlands Ranch, Colo., also hoped to explain what it was like to have type 1 diabetes. “I wanted to show people that it’s normal people like you and me with diabetes,” she says. “That everyone has it, all ages.” In her video, she tells viewers that she’s a sister, a daughter, and a basketball player—and also a teen with diabetes.
“I’m so impressed. I’m tearing up talking about it,” says her mother, Chris Wright, who says Rachel created the video and edited it by herself and on her own time. “I’ve never seen her do anything like this. Just seeing how her vision came to fruition was really exciting.”
Though she’s had diabetes for four years, must test her blood glucose multiple times a day, and takes insulin to stay healthy, Rachel says it’s not for herself that she hopes to stop diabetes. She wants to find a cure so that other kids, like her younger brother, will never have to go through what she does daily. “I have it and I know how bad it is,” she says.
|Third-place winner Laurie Basloe with students from her fifth-grade class (from left) Matthew Johnson, Yoland Gillespie, Isis Peters, and Kennedy Mayers.|
Third-place winner Laurie Basloe, a 31-year-old fifth-grade teacher from Brooklyn, N.Y., says spreading the word about diabetes—such as in the form of a video—is critical since the disease is so prevalent. “We all have someone in our lives who has this,” she says.
Basloe enlisted the help of her students at the Magnet School for Global and Ethical Studies to create her video. In it, the children name those in their lives who have diabetes—mothers, grandmothers, aunts—before Basloe explains that most people know someone with the disease. “Over the last four years, I’ve started trying to do diabetes education in my class,” she says. “I work in an area where it’s mostly African Americans and diabetes is very prevalent.”
Because she has lived with type 1 diabetes for 23 years, Basloe says she most wants to stop diabetes for the younger generation—youngsters like Anna Katherine and Rachel. “It’s really heartwarming for me to see the first- and second-place winners were young people with diabetes,” she says. “That was me, and they’ve already started to educate people.”