Artists Work With Kids To Create Diabetes Awareness Mural

By in News on November 8, 2012

Two local organisations joined forces last Saturday to raise awareness about diabetes and work with children affected by the disease.

Awareness, Compassion and Education (ACE) Diabetes and the Diabetic Research Institute (DRI), brought artists and children together at Popopstudios to assist in painting a mural that will be installed Downtown for World Diabetes Day on November 14.

ACE Diabetes was established over the Summer to address the overwhelming need in the Bahamas for diabetes awareness, and the challenge of managing diabetes on a daily basis.

According to Dr Graham Cates, president of Ace Diabetes, the organisation’s ultimate goal is to reduce the burden of diabetes on individuals, families, communities and health-care systems. They want to work on supporting good health, and prevent or delay the onset of diabetes related long-term complications.

Dr Cates said the official launch of ACE Diabetes will be on World Diabetes Day at the New Providence Community Church.

DRI, on the other hand, works along with children with diabetes, empowering them through education.

At the gathering on Saturday, Dr Cates said the children assisted local artist John Cox, as well as art students, in designing the mural. He said it was a fun way to get covered in paint, work as a team and combine health with art.

“We love working alongside the Diabetes Research Institute and spending time with the children. In the past we have screen printed t-shirts with the children and taken them rock climbing over at Atlantis. We will be doing more work with the children in the future,” said Dr Cates.

Nurse Anita Cates of ACE Diabetes said the idea to create a mural in honour of diabetes awareness started with a conversation at Starbucks with John Cox.

“I wanted to find an interesting and powerful way of bringing awareness to diabetes, plus something that hasn’t been done before. The concept of ‘I Can’ was chosen to send out the positive message that children and adults, who have diabetes can lead a full and meaningful life, just like everyone else,” said Nurse Cates.

She said the initiative also presented a great opportunity to talk with the children about all of the things they can do even though they have diabetes. She said too often the message about diabetes is a negative one and the group wanted to highlight the positive aspects of peoples lives.

When the mural is installed it will show images created by the children.

“Art has a unique way of getting into the heart. As people walk or drive past the mural we hope it will cause people to stop and think. We want to show people that the Bahamas is concerned about the burden of diabetes and that as challenging as it can be there is always hope,” she said.

Dr Cates added:  “The children did an awesome job, the images they produced are powerful. It is wonderful to see that the children are dreaming of a great future for themselves. Some want to be doctors, which is fantastic. That means they can look after me when I retire.”

ACE Diabetes previously held a “Move and Groove” fitness fundraiser. It is also running a Group Balance Lifestyle Programme until December 3, designed to help people lose weight, get fit and decrease their risk of developing Diabetes.

“The incidence of diabetes continues to grow at alarming rates throughout the world. The Bahamas is no exception. Regular exercise can help prevent diabetes, plus it is an important part of diabetes self care management. People were asked to wear a blue circular ribbon at the Move and Groove event. They were also asked to wear the same ribbon on World Diabetes Day,” said Dr Cates.

By Alesha Cadet,
The Tribune
Published: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Photo by Ana-Lisa Wells

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