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Spokane EMT Promotes Diabetes' Blue O

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

It has been a busy year for Spokane area emergency medical technician Kris Maynard. Last summer he and his wife opened a new company, Glucose Revival, and began selling the necklaces for diabetics that Maynard invented. Those necklaces contain glucose that diabetics can ingest when they feel the need.

In addition to his business, Maynard is working to elevate the public profile of diabetes, so that it’s on par with diseases such as breast cancer.

Credit Doug Nadvornick/SPR
Kris Maynard shows off one of his refillable glucose necklaces.

Kris Maynard would say he’s no marketing guru, but he recognizes that the pink ribbon used to raise awareness for breast cancer has been a big success. He hopes diabetes advocates can emulate that success with their own symbol, a blue circle.

“It was implemented in 2006 by the International Diabetes Federation and the United Nations adopted it and really wanted that to be the symbol that goes out so it can be recognized," Maynard said.

He believes diabetes organizations have not taken full advantage of that symbol to raise the profile of the disease. With that in mind, he incorporated the blue circle in his company’s logo. It’s the O in the word "glucose."

“We think if people learn to start seeing this blue circle, once it becomes recognized in the music realm, once it becomes recognized everywhere, the money’s going to follow it to be able to get the money and resources we need," Maynard said.

He mentions music, which he is using as part of his marketing strategy.

“Last year we made a music video with the help of Twisted Sister in our first diabetes awareness music video," he said. "So we went into it again this year and found a Type 1 (diabetic) hiphop artist down in Dallas, which we now kicked off our second music video.”

That video featured hip hop artist B.I.P rapping his song "Tell Me Why."

“And when you’re on the ground, go ahead and lift your head. And lately I’ve been down, feeling like I’m quite pathetic and little do you know, I’m living as a diabetic. Type 1, though fighting like taekwondo….”

Maynard is aiming even higher for next year. He says he’s working to convince another diabetic musician, Bret Michaels from the group Poison, to highlight the disease during a show at a National Football League game next November. November is national Diabetes Awareness Month.  

Maynard is also working to raise the disease profile at the local level. In November, he says several businesses did their part.

“The Davenport Hotel highlighted the blue circle on their building," he said. "The Steam Plant lit up their facility with blue. The pavilion and the Clocktower at Riverfront highlighted the blue circle as well for us.”

As Glucose Revival negotiates a busy holiday season, Maynard says he’s happy that his refillable necklaces have caught on and are now shipped to diabetics all over the country. But he’ll be even happier if the blue circle becomes as common and accepted as breast cancer’s pink ribbon.