Blenko creates special piece to benefit diabetes research

BLENKO GLASS | Courtesy photo
A new piece from Blenko Glass, in Milton, features a blue circle — the universal symbol for diabetes — and sales benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Blenko Glass, in Milton, one of the oldest handmade glass factories in America, has joined with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to produce a special edition piece.

The release of the piece is timed to coordinate with National Diabetes Month, which is taking place this month. The piece features a blue circle on its neck, which is the universal symbol for diabetes. The handcrafted glass is 101/2 inches tall of azure blue with a single, darker cobalt blue circle on the neck and the signature of Blenko Glass and “2016” on its base.

It is on sale now for $50, and $5 of all sales will go toward the JDRF, a charitable organization dedicated to funding type 1 diabetes research.

Blenko had previously been approached about making a special- edition glass piece for breast cancer awareness, and it went over well. It was then approached about doing a piece for National Diabetes Month, said Blenko’s Dean Six, vice president of marketing and sales.

“They explained their symbol was a blue circle,” he said. “We played around with a couple things and showed them some things that had a blue circle in the design, and they picked one.”

Registered dietitian Malissa Sarver is a type 1 diabetes coordinator at the hospital KDMC-Ohio in Portsmouth, Ohio.

Juvenile diabetes is today most often called type 1 diabetes and is an autoimmune disease that strikes both children and adults suddenly, Starver said.

It has nothing to do with age, diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent it. And, at present, there is no cure and must be controlled with insulin shots or an insulin pump, Starver said.

She has a 3-year-old who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 1, but the disease can strike adults at any time. Actress Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed later in life, Starver said.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas stops producing insulin — a hormone the body needs to get energy from food. This means a process the body does naturally and automatically becomes something that requires daily attention and manual intervention.

Those with type 1 diabetes must constantly monitor their blood-sugar level, inject or infuse insulin through a pump, and carefully balance insulin doses with eating and activity throughout the day and night.

“There’s a lot of misunderstanding about diabetes and type 1 diabetes. Will these kids ever grow out of it? No, they won’t. Was it from eating too much sugar? No, it’s an autoimmune disease.”

The vases are available only through the end of 2016 in the Visitors Center shop at Blenko in Milton; via phone order by calling 304-743-9081 or online at -Edition-Items_c46.htm.

Reach Douglas Imbrongo at,

304-348-3017 or follow

@douglaseye on Twitter.

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