Over drinks with T1D friends one night, we (Kat and Tara) were talking about fundraising ideas to support our beloved diabetes camp (where we had met the summer before), and other amazing diabetes non-profits. It can be so hard to ask friends and family for money all the time when there are so many worthy causes. We laughed about how ridiculous it would be to start a T1D nude calendar. We kept joking about it, then seriously talking about it, and decided we had to make it happen.
What started off as a joke between friends turned into something beautiful as we recruited people to participate in the project. It is interesting to us that diabetes is often called an invisible disease. Sometimes it feels anything but invisible with the bumps and bruises, scar tissue and patches of sticky adhesive residue, gadgets and tubing, and constant beeping. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Diabetes can definitely leave its mark on your body, and we feel this is especially apparent when naked. During their photo shoots, T1Ds shared stories of struggle and acceptance, of eating disorders and complications, and also of finding peace.
There was a lot of laughing and a lot of crying. The love for bodies and all their amazing abilities, and the exasperation of living with a chronically ill body that requires so much mental attention to keep alive really resonated with us. It’s about acknowledging the struggle and changes to your life and body while celebrating your existence and abilities. The calendar reminds us to practice gratitude for all the amazing things are bodies are able to accomplish each day with insulin.
Our participants are all ages (over 21), genders, ethnicities, and body types, and the nude portraits are all tasteful (no family jewels shots/no naked selfies). Anyone who wants to be a part of the project can message us through our website. It’s a big decision for people, and a very vulnerable process. We are so honored that people choose to share themselves and their stories with us.
This year, each participant’s photo showcases a passion of theirs–something that their T1D body allows them to do. The most rewarding part is getting to hear so many people’s stories and experiences, and feeling the hope and determination that drives each participant to pursue their passions. Our most recently diagnosed participant has had type one a little over a year, and our longest diagnosed participant has been living with T1D for 62 years. There is so much knowledge to be shared and so much support to be given and received in this incredible type one community. We receive many messages through the website from people thanking us for doing the project and telling us it has inspired them in someway, like this message from Stephanie:
“My name is Stephanie and I’ve had type 1 for 18 years now. Diabetes has always been a struggle with my self image. Seeing some of the photos you’ve taken has made me proud to wear a CGM and an Omnipod. I’m no longer embarrassed to go to the beach and have someone ask what “that thing” is. All of your photos show a story, not just a device. Thank you for this. It means more to me than you know.”
The calendars are $20 a piece and all proceeds are donated to Carb DM
, and JDRF