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Local sisters are finalists in national contest

By Molly F. McGill

Two New Gloucester children have become finalists in a national video contest sponsored by Medtronic, Inc. to teach children about diabetes and overcoming everyday challenges by using insulin pump therapy.

Eight year-old Anna Lipp, who has type I diabetes and has been using an insulin pump since she was four years old, and her six-year-old sister, Jane, created a short educational video about diabetes management for children and were selected as one of 19 finalists on April 9. They are the only finalists from Maine.

The contest was open to children, parents, caregivers and healthcare professionals and must use ''Lenny the Lion,'' Medtronic's ambassador for children's diabetes worldwide, in the submitted video by downloading printable props.

Medtronic, Inc. headquartered in Minneapolis ''develops and manufactures a wide range of products and therapies with emphasis on providing a complete continuum of care to diagnose, prevent and monitor chronic conditions,'' according to their website Medtronic.com.

A key focus of the company is diabetes management systems. People living with Type I diabetes use an insulin pump to make up for the insulin the body fails to produce. Insulin is a hormone that converts sugar, starches and other food into the energy that is needed in daily life. Insulin pumps help children to manage their diabetes and live long, healthy lives.

''We developed the contest to educate children with diabetes and their families and caregivers about the importance of being strong and active, like Lenny the Lion,'' says Amanda Sheldon, director of public relations for Medtronic diabetes.

The contest required that each video, no more than three minutes long, needed to communicate to children what living with diabetes is like and daily life activities one can participate in and not on the technical aspects of insulin pumps.

In the video submitted by the Lipp sisters, Anna and a stuffed ''Lenny'' explain what diabetes is and how using an insulin pump can help manage the chronic disease to younger sister Jane, who doesn't have diabetes and is dressed as a lion.

''When you have diabetes like me and Lenny, our pancreas doesn't make any insulin or the insulin doesn't work as well as it should,'' explains Anna in the video. ''That's why we both have an insulin pump.''

''Wearing an insulin pump like me and Lenny and keeping good control of our diabetes let's me and Lenny be strong and active,'' says Anna as her younger sister roars in approval. ''Just like Jane.''

The sisters and Lenny demonstrate every day activities they can participate in such as riding bicycles, running and dancing. In one part, the role of Lenny is played by a golden lab that tromps through the yard trailed by the giggling girls.

''It was so nice to see Anna and Jane having fun making this video together,'' says Kim Lipp, mother. ''As a family we have all learned a lot since Anna was diagnosed with diabetes, and the girls are so proud they were able to make this fun video to share with other kids.''

The video is on YouTube and can be found by searching ''Anna, Jane and Lenny.'' The winner of the contest is determined by which one gets the most votes. Visitors to the site must log in to officially register their vote. Vote by clicking the ''Thumbs UP: I Like'' button under the video. Voting ends April 30.

''There is a lot that people don't understand about diabetes,'' says Anna, ''so I like to have the chance to explain to them what it is in my own words.''

The first place winner receives a trip for four to Disneyland in California, $1,000 worth of gift certificates, an invitation and recognition at the Medtronic Diabetes office in California and their video advertised on the website.

You can view the video by going to www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4avBFN5fzY.


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