08 May Throwback to Transform: Transforming Insulin Pumps to Spark Conversation
Article Written By UMR Student Writer Kate Scheffler
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With the diagnosis of diabetes, patient’s lives are forever impacted by managing blood glucose levels, watching their diet, and living with insulin pumps. Those with insulin pumps are burdened by the bulkiness and robotic appearance of these machines that are suddenly a part of their bodies. Diagnosed with diabetes herself, Jessica Floeh, the winner of the iSpot award at Mayo’s 2011 Transform conference, understood these issues that most diabetics face and chose to make a difference—through accessories.
As a graduate student at Parsons, the New School for Design in New York City, Jessica studied design and technology, where she focused on brainstorming ways to improve the design of diabetic devices. In 2010, Jessica’s innovative approach paid off when she imagined the idea of accessories that were worn over insulin pumps and their tubing. With no background in either business or sewing, Jessica slowly began to learn the skills required to start her own company. In 2011, Jessica launched Hanky Pancreas, an online store for scarves with pockets that hold insulin pumps and bands that allow insulin pumps to transform into floral accessories.
Wearing an insulin pump presented a unique opportunity for Jessica. Diabetics, especially women, often have trouble not only discussing their disease, but also coping with the mechanic device that is now a permanent part of their body. Recognizing these issues, Jessica developed a line of accessories that are worn over the pumps. These accessories range from bows to decorative flowers and can be worn with virtually any outfit. Created from a shock absorbing fabric, these accessories are not only fashionable, but also protect the pump from damage. Through these designs, diabetics are able to embrace their illness and uniquely accessorize their insulin pumps to make them feel like a part of them, not just a foreign machine. What began as a fun way to transform insulin pumps, has since grown into a self-identifying accessory that allows woman of all ages to embrace their health and start a new, positive conversation about living with diabetes.
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