Sunday, 18 August 2013

Blue Circle - A Symbol of Diabetes

It wasn't until my first meeting at Young Leaders Action Group (YLAG) that I first heard about the blue circle symbol. In the context that I was talking about with someone in the group, blue circle was the name of a young persons support group that they had created.
Then at the same meeting we were all given small pin badges that had a small blue circle on them.

And so this symbol kept reappearing where diabetes was concerned. I even started to notice that people were putting this blue circle in their profile pictures on twitter. And the thing that they all had in common? Was that they had diabetes. And then at the IDF camp it all really started to become clear about this blue circle.

The blue circle is the international symbol for diabetes, something that joins all nations together and allows one group of people with diabetes to recognise another and know that they have something in common. Diabetes can sometimes be called the unseen condition and the people with it can be called 'the forgotten ones'. As you can't always see that we have the condition, but we do. At the airport on the way to the camp in Italy I knew I would be joining 3 other people in Rome airport. And naively I thought I would be able to recognise them from their facebook pictures when I got there. But when I arrived I wasn't sure who they were. I spotted a group of young people who looked like they didn't know each other very well. But again I wasn't sure if it was them, I knew they all had diabetes- but there was no way of knowing from the outside if it was them. (In the end one was wearing an IDF badge).

According to the IDF, until 2006 there was no symbol for diabetes so the blue circle was created. It aims to:


support all existing efforts to raise awareness about diabetes
inspire new activities, bring diabetes to the attention of the general public
brand diabetes
provide a means to show support for the fight against diabetes

The blue circle icon was developed originally for the campaign for a UN Resolution on diabetes. The campaign for a United Nations Resolution was a response to the diabetes pandemic, that is set to overwhelm healthcare resources everywhere. The campaign mobilised diabetes stakeholders, behind the common cause of securing a UN resolution on diabetes. The United Nations passed Resolution 61/225 ‘World Diabetes Day’ on December 20th 2006

As a symbol the circle occurs frequently in nature, and has thus been widely employed since the dawn of humankind. The significance is also overwhelmingly positive. Across cultures, the circle can symbolise life and health. Most significantly for the campaign, the circle symbolizes unity. Combined strength is the key element that made the campaign so special.
The blue border of the circle reflects the colour of the sky and the flag of the United Nations. The United Nations is in itself a symbol of unity amongst all nations, and is the only organsation that can signal to governments everywhere that it is time to fight diabetes and reverse the global trends that will impede economic development and cause so much suffering and premature death.

Because diabetes is what joins us, why shouldn't we recognise each other. Because together we're stronger and together we WILL achieve a cure. #InItTogether

If you'd like to know more about the IDF blue circle click here