Eli Lilly is reenlisting its long-time ambassador, singer and songwriter Crystal Bowersox, to help people living with diabetes recognize and manage low blood sugar symptoms.
In the “Know Before the Low” campaign, Bowersox, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age six, talks about the need for a plan and the importance of a support network. She answers questions in an online video, with advice such as knowing the personal signs and symptoms and making sure the people around patients know what to do if help is needed.
“Everyone around you is your support network, and people need to know what to do if there is an emergency,” she said in an interview with FiercePharma, adding that “the symptoms for a low blood sugar emergency are different for everyone, so it’s important for people to know their own body and be able to tell other people what to look for.”
Lilly Diabetes is targeting people living with diabetes, as well as their families and friends, with the effort.
“We’ve learned that many people with diabetes don’t discuss low blood sugar or low blood sugar emergencies with their healthcare team, friends or family and oftentimes don’t have a rescue plan. This initiative is aimed at encouraging and supporting those conversations, which will help people be more confident and prepared in the case of a low blood sugar emergency,” Stephanie Shelley, U.S. commercial leader at Lilly, said in an email interview.
Downloadable resources to help facilitate conversations and preparedness are available on the website, along with an optional redirect link that connects to Lilly treatment Baqsimi's website. The glucagon nasal powder spray was approved last summer as the first non-injectable treatment for low blood sugar emergencies.
Along with the website, the online campaign will include social media content on Lilly and Bowersox’s social platforms through this year.
Bowersox and Lilly Diabetes have partnered on awareness initiatives since 2016, when she first became an ambassador by sharing her story with kids with diabetes at summer camps and encouraging them to follow their dreams. Bowersox was the runner-up on "American Idol" in 2010 and ended up in the hospital in diabetic ketoacidosis during the show's run after hiding her condition and not managing it well.
Bowersox said she is recognized now both for her career as a singer and for her advocacy for diabetes awareness and education.
“I’ve even had kids come up and ask me to sign their diabetes gear or pumps—it’s nice,” she said about the recognition. “I definitely want to raise more awareness and shine light on it as much as I can.”