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Disney Discovers Diabetes

Updated: 9/21/22 1:15 pmPublished: 8/31/11
By Kelly Close

Coco, Disney Publishing Worldwide's first character with type 1 diabetes.

In partnership with Lilly Diabetes, Disney Publishing Worldwide has created its first character with type 1 diabetes, a young monkey named Coco. Coco is featured in a new Disney Publishing Worldwide children’s book called, “Coco and Goofy’s Goofy Day.” Coco and Goofy are invited to a birthday party, but concern is raised that Coco shouldn’t go. Coco finds a powerful ally in Mickey Mouse, who agrees that she can “come to the party, play games, and have treats.” At the party, Coco has a wonderful time running around, doing very well in a game of musical chairs, and enjoying a modest-sized piece of birthday cake. Coco’s mom checks her blood glucose and other characters admire her strength. Unlike Goofy, who overdoes it by stuffing his face and being generally lazy, Coco practices moderation and is still going stronger than ever at the end while Goofy has to be brought home in the wagon he thought Coco might need because of her diabetes (right!). The book ends with a question and answer section that gives children and adults alike the opportunity to learn more about diabetes. (For example: “What does Coco carry in her backpack?”) Coco’s story is part of a collection of custom books for children of various ages and stages of life with diabetes: a cookbook is in the works, and there will be an “Expert Advice for Guests with Type 1 Diabetes” addition to the Birnbaum Guide to Walt Disney World “Pocket Parks Guide” series, which will have an introduction by Children with Diabetes co-founder Laura Billetdeaux. This exciting news was introduced at Disney World mid-summer at the CWD Friends for Life conference, and the man who runs diabetes at Lilly, Enrique Conterno, was there himself – a notable sign of Lilly’s commitment. To boot, Lilly used social media to introduce the news (they announced it first at Friends for Life to members of the diabetes online community and let it catch on through Twitter and Facebook – we think we were the first to Tweet this – @diaTribenews), and followed up several weeks later with a contest about type 1 diabetes and family life.  --JGS/KC

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About the authors

Kelly L. Close is the founder and Chair of the Board of The diaTribe Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of people living with diabetes and prediabetes, and... Read the full bio »