Getting Real: My Experience Modelling with Type 1 Diabetes

By Evelyn Riddell

When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at age 12, I knew nothing about the disease. How could I, when there was rarely any mention of it in the media?

Last spring, Aerie hosted an open competition looking for women to appear in the store’s campaign – #AerieREAL. I entered by filming a 30-second video of myself explaining why I wear Aerie bras, and what the #AerieREAL message means to me.

Staying true to Aerie’s slogan – “Don’t change you, change your bra!”, its creative team prioritizes the comfort and safety of their models. In fact, there was never any staging; every time that I would put on a new outfit I placed my pump where it felt natural. While working at my most recent photo shoot, I experienced a low blood sugar on set for the first time. The Aerie team was incredibly helpful and eager to learn how to assist me in any way as needed.

Since the campaign launch, I have received a flood of support from the T1D community. That is how I knew this campaign was not only about me but about all those individuals living with T1D who see themselves reflected in me. I never expected to make so many personal connections with strangers who bravely shared their stories. I have received pictures of girls wearing their Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) proudly with their prom dress, and others from parents of children wearing their devices visibly for the first time with a huge smile to match. 

I would like to thank the T1D community for its support and its overwhelming acceptance. Similarly, I am appreciative of the media outlets that covered this story, and I hope it encourages more companies to embrace Aerie’s body-positive message. I look forward to the future and to more opportunities to represent the T1D community on a national scale.

Until then, I will continue to advocate, educate, raise awareness, and support individuals living with T1D.

Instagram – @evie_ann

Twitter – @evie_ann_

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Developing an insulin patch pump with open-protocol communication

Imagine an automated insulin delivery system that is able to connect with other devices seamlessly. A state-of-the-art, tubeless technology that provides continuous insulin therapy, operates on its own platform and publishes its own communication protocol.

Thanks to a new partnership between JDRF and medical technology company, SFC Fluidics, Inc., this functional insulin patch pump may soon revolutionize the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and become the highly sought technology among patients with the disease.

A two-year funding commitment from JDRF will enable SFC Fluidics to foster the development and delivery of the interoperable insulin pump. The new technology enables flawless, secure connectivity with other devices (e.g., Bluetooth) such as continuous glucose monitors and other third-party automated insulin delivery technologies (e.g., solutions by the do-it-yourself community).

For more than a decade, JDRF has played a leadership role in accelerating the expansion and commercialization of artificial pancreas (AP) systems that program insulin delivery. In 2017, JDRF launched its Open-Protocol Automated Insulin Delivery (AID) Systems Initiative and worked with key stakeholders to identify the regulatory and liability implications of an open-protocol AID ecosystem.

This new solution is expected to not only provide a greater range of future treatment options for people living with T1D, but to also increase the adoption of these cutting-edge, life-enhancing technologies.

For more informative articles on health and type 1 diabetes, visit our JDRF Blog

New JDRF-funded study aims to prevent type 1 diabetes in infants

Researchers at Oxford University (UK) are offering powdered insulin to babies at high risk of developing type 1 diabetes (T1D) with the hope of training their immune systems to tolerate the insulin they produce, thereby offering life-long protection against the disease.

The goal of POInT (Primary Oral Insulin Trial) is to introduce immune tolerance to insulin, as T1D results from the body’s defense system attacking and destroying insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Researchers will perform a prick blood test to screen the eligibility of 300,000 babies who have been identified with high chances of getting T1D through genetic markers.

From the age of about six months until they are three years old, children in the trial will then be given a small dose of insulin powder daily together with a meal. Half of the study participants will be offered the real insulin while the other half will receive a placebo (capsule containing no drug). In order to assess the efficacy of the treatment, neither the children nor the investigators will know which capsules contain insulin and which contain a placebo. The children’s health will be monitored via visits from the research team.

Previous studies have shown that oral administration of insulin is safe and does not affect sugar levels. Researchers are hopeful this pioneering therapy will become a preventive treatment in the future for all babies with an elevated genetic predisposition for T1D.

POInT is being funded by the National Institute for Health Research, JDRF, Diabetes UK and the Wellcome Trust, as well as the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

For more informative articles on health and type 1 diabetes, visit our JDRF Blog

JDRF and Gubra collaborate on the advancement of a new glucose-responsive insulin for diabetes

JDRF has joined forces with Danish biotech company, Gubra, to develop a glucose-responsive insulin (GRI) as a treatment for people with insulin-dependent diabetes. The Gubra approach is based on a long-standing goal of researchers in the field to create a form of insulin that could linger in the bloodstream and become active only when needed.

People with type 1 diabetes (T1D) must check their blood glucose several times a day and rely on insulin injections to keep their blood sugar levels within a healthy range. Gubra’s GRI product is designed to work when blood glucose levels rise too high and to be inactive when they are in or below the standard value. The unique approach combines properties of bolus insulin (insulin that controls glucose levels at meal times) with those of a long-acting basal insulin (insulin that controls blood glucose levels during periods of fasting) to provide not only improved overall blood glucose control, but also a safer and simpler drug for people with T1D. This GRI can therefore respond to fluctuations in blood glucose levels after eating more rapidly and naturally than conventional fast-acting insulins without the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

“JDRF is excited to partner with Gubra on developing a novel glucose-responsive insulin, which has the potential to disrupt insulin-based treatments and reduce late stage T1D complications,” says JDRF scientist,
Dr. Jonathan Rosen.

JDRF’s funding commitment will help advance Gubra’s new insulin product towards clinical and pharmaceutical development.

For more informative articles on health and type 1 diabetes news visit the Research News section on our website.