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Spare a Rose, Save a Life

Every February, the Spare a Rose campaign raises funds to provide insulin and other diabetes supplies to people with diabetes in under-resourced countries. Spread the word today to make a difference.

This Valentine's Day marks another chapter for Spare a Rose, a global volunteer-led effort launched by members of the Diabetes Online Community.

If this is your first time hearing about Spare a Rose, here's how it works. For Valentine’s Day, send your loved one 11 roses instead of 12 and donate the value of one less rose (around $5) to Spare a Rose. 

Donations go directly to Insulin for Life Global (IFL), a charity that provides lifesaving diabetes medication like insulin to people living in underserved countries. It really is as easy as that, and the impact of every single donation is huge.

Every cent raised by Spare a Rose goes to Insulin for Life Global

Along with medication, IFL donations from Spare a Rose are used to provide diabetes education, advocacy, and supplies to people in need.

When Spare a Rose originally launched in 2013, donations went towards Life for a Child, a non-profit organization that supplies insulin and other diabetes care supplies to children with type 1 diabetes in under-resourced countries.

With almost $400,000 raised since the campaign's inception, the founders of Spare a Rose decided to expand their fundraising efforts to help adults and children living with type 1 diabetes. In 2022, Spare a Rose, Save a Child became Spare a Rose, Save a Life, with all proceeds going to IFL. 

“Spare a Rose is a beautiful way to make an impact in the lives of those who are not as fortunate as we are. It’s such a no-brainer: plus, you can set up a recurring monthly donation, so your ability to make an impact can also adjust to your budget,” said Manny Hernandez, who was diagnosed with LADA in 2002.

Along with Adam Brown, Kelly Close, Bennet Dunlap, Jeff Hitchcock, Scott Johnson, and Kerri Sparling, Hernandez was part of the original crew that came up with the Spare a Rose campaign. 

That said, no one person “owns” this campaign, which makes it all the more powerful. The entire diabetes community plays a role and stakes a claim in its success, making every voice matter and every donation more poignant.

What can you do?

  • If you can donate, please do. The beauty of Spare a Rose is that even very small donations make a huge difference. Just $5 provides a whole month of insulin.

  • Tell people about Spare a Rose. While the campaign really peaks on Valentine’s Day, the whole month of February is a great time to talk it up.

  • Chat with your employer. Some companies offer donation matching, which means that for every staff contribution, the organization donates the same amount.

  • Host a coffee or tea gathering, lemonade stand, bake sale, or another event where people can donate to Spare a Rose. 

  • Social media drives Spare a Rose. The campaign lives on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other social media platform where people with diabetes gather. Use it for good and share the link for donation, as well as details about how people’s donations help. 

The diabetes community at its very best

The diabetes community is an amazing source of peer support for people living with diabetes. Spare a Rose shows just how committed the community is to supporting others living with the condition.

This is a diabetes community campaign – owned by every person living with and affected by diabetes – and that is one of the real strengths of this initiative. It's also a chance to aid people with diabetes living in low-income countries or places facing humanitarian crises where access to lifesaving supplies is limited.

Everyone can contribute, and every single contribution is important. No donation is too small. While Insulin for Life receives all funds raised during the month-long Spare a Rose campaign, it is the diabetes community that sustains the activity, encouraging donations and support from people affected by diabetes.

“If you are reading this, you are probably one of the lucky ones. We have access to the lifesaving supplies we need to manage our diabetes, and the only thing we have to worry about is keeping up with the big D, not wondering about day-to-day survival. For way too many, access to insulin is a life-threatening and daily struggle that we need to change,” said John Sjolund, CEO of Luna Diabetes who also lives with type 1.

Over the last 11 years since Spare a Rose began, there's proof that when the diabetes community comes together, great things can be achieved. Spread the word. Spare a rose. Make a difference in the life of someone with diabetes.