Ever admiration what it ability be like to see The Hulk or Admiration Woman antic a Dexcom connected glucose adviser or OmniPod application insulin pump, while they’re out aggressive villains and accomplishing their ballsy superhero deeds? Well, admiration no more!
Thanks to an engineering D-Dad in San Diego, CA, who happens to be adeptness in 3D printing, it’s now accessible to acquisition miniaturized replicas of these diabetes accessories fit for any activity figure, toy or babyish that a adolescent with diabetes ability appetite to accessorize. You know, to embrace that “me too” and “just like me” affect that so resonates with kids who aloof don’t appetite to be different.
Say accost to Ballsy Kid, a beginning new business started by D-Dad Joe Kuelker whose son Remy was diagnosed in 2014 aloof afore his 2nd birthday. Joe’s an architect and artefact artist by barter and with an absorbing able resume, but who says that starting Ballsy Kid has has had a added abstruse appulse on him than annihilation he’s done in his career to date.
In fact, while Ballsy Kid is in its adolescence and a diminutive tiny one-person operation, it’s already accepting a huge appulse about the world. We anticipate this makes it a “Small But Mighty” diabetes business account profiling actuality at the ‘Mine. We adulation the family’s story, and it’s abnormally abating to apprehend this ancestor allocution about his admiration to put smiles on the faces of accouchement with diabetes while additionally giving aback to the community.
“When you put these admirable life-saving accessories on your child, that’s aback it affectionate of hits you adamantine that this is real… It’s adamantine to digest, that this is a life-altering condition. But maybe, (your child) doesn’t accept to feel so abandoned in active with it and cutting these devices,” Joe says.
Joe’s son Remy had been abandoned abandoned about 22 months old aback he was diagnosed with T1D in December of 2014, and he wasn’t able to anon alpha on an insulin pump because he was still a babyish — admitting he did get on a Dexcom CGM aural a ages of diagnosis.
But it wasn’t until aboriginal 2017, aback Remy was 4 years old and in preschool, that Joe says they started acquainted a change in their son’s compassionate of diabetes. He began acumen that he was the abandoned kid who had to abrasion these medical accessories and focus on T1D tasks. Understandably, that fabricated him feel “different” because of his diabetes. And that bankrupt his father’s heart.
With a able accomplishments in artefact development and engineering in the auto-related industry and acquaintance alive on circuitous projects like energy-efficient abstracts centermost cooling systems in Silicon Valley, Joe anon formed an idea. He angry to his claimed 3D printer and started authoritative some little replicas of diabetes accessories that Remy wears — the OmniPod insulin pump and Dexcom CGM.
Of course, the admeasurement aberration was absolutely visible. The calibration on a adolescent compared to an developed is appealing ample in comparison.
“He’s so tiny that we put these accessories on him, and they attending so massive,” Joe credibility out.
The aboriginal replica created was a mini OmniPod that Remy could attach to his blimp Build-a-Bear appearance blimp animal. Soon after, a Dexcom transmitter and sensor followed — scaled about about bisected the admeasurement of the real-world medical products.
“I started this so he wouldn’t be so abandoned and could see one of these medical accessories on one of his little friends, addition that is a allotment of his life,” Joe says, disturbing up at the memory. “I aloof handed it to him and his eyes lit up. There was aloof this little smile, and he aloof accustomed it. That was such a candied moment.”
The action of authoritative the D-Device replicas is a accustomed one for Joe, as he uses abounding of the accoutrement that he’d formed with in the artefact development industry now in his assignment at Ballsy Kid. For example, the screws acclimated in the blimp animals are stainless animate for use with plastics, aforementioned as in the auto industry projects. Addition re-adapted apparatus is the adhering stick-and-peel patches of the little D-Device replicas, that he’s acclimated in the accomplished on high-volume, big-ticket articles in engineering. They are additionally waterproof, so accouchement can booty the D-Device replicas into the bathtub with them and the adhering won’t bark off.
“I’ve acclimated them and I apperceive this action works, it’s quality,” he says. “I don’t like to cut corners, and aback I’ve formed with this being in the past, I accept brought it over to Ballsy Kid. It’s absorbing how those worlds accept beyond over.”
After seeing that attending in Remy’s eye, Joe says he capital added kids and families to acquaintance that aforementioned feeling. He absitively to aggrandize his activity to the D-Community.
For the holidays 2017, the appeal and acknowledgment from Diabetes Association was amazing. It was a active time, he says. He affairs to accessible it up afresh for this accessible anniversary season, and isn’t absolutely abiding what to expect.
“I’m absolutely acquirements as I go all of the e-commerce and business aspects,” he says with a laugh. “This has been a big acquirements acquaintance for me. Coming from engineering, you are accustomed a blueprint or a botheration to break and again you’re generally larboard abandoned to do the engineering work. You again duke it off to added bodies forth the line, to absolution and advertise and ship. But with Ballsy Kid, I’m a one-man operation accomplishing aggregate from the engineering and architecture work, to the baby accomplishment and assembly, and again the marketing, selling, packaging and shipping. It’s all new, but it’s a lot of fun.”
The abstraction of creating diabetes accessories and accessories for toys isn’t 100% novel. Others accept ventured into this area, too. Most conspicuously in contempo years, we’ve apparent American Girl add a diabetes kit for its dolls, Build-a-Bear alms a agnate diabetes kit; as able-bodied as blimp animals like Lenny the Lion, Rufus, and Jerry the Bear who accompany a D-theme to kids’ lives.
While those are great, Joe credibility out that there wasn’t annihilation for little kids who use OmniPod and Dexcom specifically, abnormally for them to accept accessible for the admired toys and blimp animals they already love. He capital to actualize article different, added specific. So actuality we are.
As of the alpha of September, Joe has about 50 items for auction – alignment from pin-on or stick-and-peel artefact replicas, including Pod-teeth for a pumpkin, to hats and T-shirts that he additionally produces. About all of it is fabricated in-house, including the accoutrements fabricated at home with the hat-press and shirt-maker that he bought.
Joe says he’s befitting prices as low as accessible — alignment from about $5 to $20 per artefact — and he invests all profits aback into the business to abide accomplishment and aggrandize what he offers.
One of the newest offerings is a little koala who happens to be cutting a Dexcom CGM – modeled “unofficially” afterwards the Summer 2018 account about Quincy the Koala at the San Diego Zoo who was outfitted with a Dexcom G6! That adventure fabricated its way about the D-Community, and Joe says he’s acclimated that as afflatus for creating this fun mini Dexcom replica accurately for a little koala blimp animal.
For anniversary chump who buys a koala, addition is donated to a bounded San Diego children’s hospital to use in their abutment and apprenticeship programs. The purchasing customer’s name affianced assimilate the donated koala, as able-bodied as any amusing media IDs they ability appetite included. That creates a affiliation aural the community, article that was active for their ancestors aback Remy was aboriginal diagnosed and they begin abutment in the Diabetes Online Association (DOC), Joe says. He hopes to aggrandize that to added hospitals over time, possibly alive with accommodating organizations or D-camps area kids and families ability acquisition this beneficial.
To him, it all fits altogether with the “never alone” and “T1D aloof like me” mantras in the Diabetes Community. Abnormally for newly-diagnosed and adolescent children, the Ballsy Kid accessory can be a diabetes teaching apparatus in accepted while additionally allotment accouchement to be added adequate with their own medical devices.
“This has consistently been about giving back,” Joe says. “It’s article that is important to me. It’s fun because not abandoned are we giving back, but my barter can be a allotment of that. This is a abundant way to about anon accept impact.”
As of now, Joe says he hasn’t been in acquaintance with any D-Device companies like Insulet or Dexcom about his assignment at Ballsy Kid. He’s not abiding how that ability materialize, but says it’s account because to see if any of the companies would be absorbed in acknowledging this endeavor.
Although it’s a growing business, he sees it added as a amusement appropriate now – possibly alike acceptable a non-profit in the future. All of that is TBD, this D-Dad says, because appropriate now he’s absorption on his own son’s acquaintance and those of added families in our community.
“I like to anticipate of us as a different aggregation because we do things a bit differently, focused on things that don’t exist,” he says.
Well, that’s one way to accomplish different dreams appear true. Thank you, Joe!
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