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Inspiration Exchange


Spare A Rose

Spare a Rose was developed back in 2013 by a small group of diabetes advocates who were looking for a way to support people with diabetes in less-resourced countries. The initiative was run around Valentine’s Day and asked people to send eleven instead of twelve roses to their Valentine, and donate that saving (around USD$5) to Spare a Rose. That five dollars would provide a month’s worth of insulin to a child in need.

Those advocates knew that there was power in the collective voice. And social media. Using the hashtag #SpareARose, the campaign sent waves through the DOC, with advocates and bloggers from around the world jumping on the bandwagon, and spreading word of the campaign.

The funds raised would be donated to the Life for a Child program, a charity which provides critical diabetes medications and supplies to young people who would otherwise have nowhere to turn. The program currently supports over 19,000 young people in 42 countries around the world.

This is the sixth year the campaign has been run, and since 2013 over USD$130,000 has been raised and donated to Life for a Child.

The strength and attraction of the Spare a Rose campaign is its simplicity: One rose equals a month of life for a child with diabetes; twelve roses equal a year of life. 

Anyone can donate. Whether it is the cost of one rose, or more, all donations are welcome. Some people decide to forgo flowers altogether, donating their entire Valentine’s Day rose budget to #SpareARose. There are wonderful photos posted online by people in the DOC on Valentine’s Day showing empty vases. After all, is there a more beautiful and romantic gift than saving the life of a child with diabetes?

The campaign has also highlighted how different living with diabetes can be depending on where you were diagnosed, and live. In some under-resourced countries, children and young people living with type 1 diabetes are unable to access life-saving insulin, blood glucose testing tools and diabetes education. 

Many people would be horrified to learn that the average life span of a child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in sub-Saharan Africa is only twelve months.

In 2019, the campaign continues to be led by a committed team of people in the diabetes online community. Each year, we look to find new ways to get the message out and increase our donor base and we are so grateful to Cherise Shockley for encouraging us to share the campaign with the team from Roche.

How can you get involved?

It’s easy! You can make a donation by going to

Help us promote the campaign!

Share details of #SpareARose with your friends and family, asking them to donate if they can, reminding them that the cost of one rose (about $5) equals a month of life for a child with diabetes. Sparing a dozen roses equals a year of life.