CHICAGO— Today members of the Illinois General Assembly were joined by IndyCar Driver Charlie Kimball at Lurie Children’s to announce a design contest for the state’s new Diabetes Awareness License Plates. “These plates will not only generate money for diabetes research, they will serve as mobile billboards raising awareness across the state,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). “Our goal is to have a child living with Diabetes design the plates.”
Sample plate coloring pages, contest rules, and application to put the plates on your vehicles can be found at ILGADIABETES.com. In addition to spreading awareness, $25 from every plate sold will go to diabetes research via the state’s Diabetes Check-Off Fund. “Diabetes touches so many lives and families including my own,” said Durkin. “I appreciate all of the doctors, caregivers and diabetes patients who joined us today and in particular, IndyCar Driver Charlie Kimball. Charlie is someone children with Type 1 Diabetes can emulate.
He is living proof that diabetes does not have to limit their dreams and goals.” In addition to announcing the contest, Kimball, a Novo Nordisk Patient Ambassador, took time to share his story and meet with patients at Lurie Children’s to show that he may be an IndyCar star, but controlling the daily challenges of Diabetes is his top priority. “I was diagnosed seven years ago and almost had to give up my dream of being a professional race car driver,” Kimball said. "The daily management of my diabetes is so important to helping me maintain my active lifestyle and I encourage others living with diabetes to be proactive in monitoring your blood sugar levels and eat healthy, get physical activity, and work with your health care team to work out a treatment regimen that's right for you."
The contest was started today at Lurie Children’s where several of the patients started their designs.
“At Lurie Children’s, we care for nearly 2,000 children and adolescents with diabetes – and this is their month,” says Donald Zimmerman, MD, Division Head of Endocrinology at Lurie Children’s. Lurie Children’s is one of the top children’s hospitals in the country according to US News & World Report. It is the pediatric teaching ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and one of only a handful of U.S. children’s hospitals with a dedicated pediatric research center. The contest was announced as part of the joint Diabetes Awareness Month efforts. Organizations and legislators from across the state are showing their support, encouraging proper care, and sponsoring screenings.
“We are excited that Illinoisans will have the opportunity to show their support for people living with diabetes,” said Simintha Esson, ADA Director, Development and Mission Delivery. “Diabetes is increasingly affecting a growing number of families in our great state, and your American Diabetes Association remains committed to helping to Stop Diabetes.” More than 800,000 Illinoisans are living with Diabetes. Yearly, $7.3 billion is spent on both direct and indirect costs associated with the care of diabetes in Illinois, which accounts for more than 10 percent of all health care spending. The earlier treatment begins, the easier it is to prevent the dreadful, costly and sometimes fatal side effects of diabetes.