Those at risk for diabetes look like you, me and Rev Run, Novo photo campaign shows

What does a Type 2 diabetes patient look like? They come in all races, ages, shapes and sizes--and 1 in 4 sufferers don’t know they have the disease. That’s a stat Novo Nordisk is looking to change.

The Danish drugmaker is tapping company ambassador and hip-hop legend Rev Run to help it put on a traveling photo exhibit--titled “Am I at Risk?”--that will “illustrate the many different faces of Americans who are at risk of diabetes,” the company said in a statement.

The exhibit--part of Novo’s wider Ask.Screen.Know effort--will also include 12x8 foot double-sided mirrors that’ll help visitors see themselves “among the faces of risk,” symbolizing the millions of Americans out there who don’t know how easily they might develop the malady. It’ll also emphasize the importance of screening, Novo said.

Rev Run and his wife, Justine Simmons--whose family history, ethnicity and age heighten their chance of developing diabetes--will be featured in the exhibit, along with 10 other adults who identify as having one or more diabetes risk factors, including age, gender, ethnicity, height and weight.

"There's no type when it comes to those at risk of Type 2 diabetes," Simmons said in a statement, with Rev Run adding that “you can’t confront what you don’t know.”

Rev Run and Simmons are just two of many celebrity spokespeople who have teamed up with diabetes powerhouse Novo, which recently signed on Roots actor Ben Vereen and country singer RaeLynn to serve as part of its Patient Ambassador Education program. The company currently counts NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, “Top Chef” star Tiffany Derry and former baseball star Lou Brock among its other famous partners, and many may recall the controversial, now-nixed pact it struck with butter maven Paula Deen a few years back.

Meanwhile, Novo is hardly the only pharma player to turn to photo exhibits as a marketing tool. Novartis last month launched its own--Melanoma Through My Lens, a collaboration with the not-for-profit Save Your Skin Foundation that showcased the personal experiences of 6 Canadians living with advanced melanoma. And earlier this year, Baxalta teamed up with photographer Rick Guidotti--who had previously worked with Novartis on a photo campaign about hives and skin plaques--to illustrate the perspectives of rare-cancer patients.

- read Novo's release

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