How to Help People with Diabetes that Need Insulin – Diabetes Daily

Ukraine is under attack, and it’s natural for our hearts to go out to Ukrainians with diabetes. People with diabetes in the besieged country are at risk of grim outcomes, not just from bombs but from diabetes itself. Pharmacies and hospitals are running out of supplies, and medicine supply chains have been disrupted or, in many areas, severed entirely. Hundreds of thousands have poured across borders, potentially overwhelming the capacity that willing nations have to care for refugees.

People with type 1 diabetes will die if they do not get more insulin.

It is difficult to assess the state of the nation’s insulin supply through the fog of war. On Tuesday, March 1, Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding reported that Novo Nordisk’s warehouse in Ukraine had been isolated by Russian attacks.

Thankfully, Novo Nordisk released a short statement that indicated the situation was not quite so drastic:

The exchange underlines the stress, worry, and confusion inherent in the situation. No matter the disposition of one important warehouse, many reports suggest that pharmacy shelves are emptying, and one can only guess as to how long most people with diabetes in Ukraine will have access to their life-giving medicine. Twitter is full of photos like the one below, of a long line outside a pharmacy:

Source: @OzKaterji

People need help now.

I’ve done some research on the best ways that we can help Ukrainians with diabetes from afar. This list is undoubtedly incomplete and imperfect: with the situation developing so quickly, it’s often impossible to know exactly what each charity is doing in Ukraine and the surrounding area.

Insulin for Life & Spare a Rose

In the diabetes online community, with so many people looking for ways to contribute, most attention has coalesced around the charity Insulin for Life.

Insulin for Life operates a campaign named Spare a Rose, which asked for very small donations to help people in the developing world afford insulin. In response to the Ukraine invasion, Spare a Rose has quickly launched a new effort, Spare a Rose for Ukraine.

Spare a Rose for Ukraine will run throughout March 2022, with all donations earmarked to support people with diabetes in and out of Ukraine. Donations will be directed to Insulin for Life, a registered charity with over two decades of experience providing insulin and diabetes supplies to under-resourced countries, and responding to emergencies. Their international consortium and network in Europe, with partners in Ukraine and neighboring countries, has supplies ready to go if and when and where needed.

Click this link to donate to Spare a Rose for Ukraine

Larger Emergency Medicine Charities

If you’d rather donate to a larger charity with better-established links to Ukraine, please consider one of the following. The top two on the list have named insulin as one of their priorities:

  • We are putting Project Hope at the top of our list, because it is devoted to “actively shipping essential medicines,” including insulin. Project Hope is monitoring pharmacy shelves in Ukraine and doing what it can to meet critical shortfalls. A director reached out to me and confirmed that delivering insulin is a part of their strategy.
  • Direct Relief has also named insulin distribution as one of their priorities during this war. Direct Relief is well-established in Ukraine and “is the world’s largest charitable distributor of donated medicine and medical supplies.”

The following charities are also dedicated to bringing medical aid to Ukraine:

  • United Help Ukraine brings medical supplies and humanitarian aid directly to the front lines.
  • Sunflower of Peace, founded after Russia annexed Crimea in 2015, is similarly devoted to “acquiring and distributing first-aid backpacks, medicine, medical instruments, and other means of survival that are saving hundreds of lives.”
  • Razom, which means “together” in Ukranian, is one of the major national charities, and it has quickly pivoted to emergency response mode to provide “critical medical supplies.”
  • International Medical Corps, which provides “primary and emergency health services from medical professionals,” is expanding its reach in Ukraine and surrounding countries in response to the invasion.

There are many other non-profit organizations operating in Ukraine right now, including major international charities such as Doctors Without Borders and the Red Cross.

Finally, One Do-It-Yourself Charity

Type One Style is a UK-based online storefront that specializes in attractive adhesive patches designed to make the Dexcom, Omnipod, and Freestyle Libre devices both stronger and better-looking.

This is not a charitable organization, but if you’re comfortable supporting a scrappy DIY effort, the shop has gone all out to help people with diabetes in Ukraine, and is organizing its own campaign to get insulin and diabetes supplies into the hands of people that need them, using friends and couriers. They are accepting donations of insulin and supplies, and you can also donate cash directly to help facilitate their effort.

You can also support Type One Style’s efforts by buying any of their new Ukraine-flag patches and stickers, or by buying some of the new Ukraine-themed art from the wonderful illustrator Miss Diabetes.

I was unable to get in touch with the owners of Type One Style before we published this article, but am eager to update this article when possible with details on their effort.


If you’d like to help in a different way, one of the most helpful and comprehensive general sites we’ve found is, which is operated by the Stanford Ukrainian Students Association. The website offers links to more than a dozen organizations accepting donations, which range from well-established local and international charities to the Ukraine Ministry of Defense itself. It also has advice on how to use social media to influence government officials and raise awareness, as well as many other resources.

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Author: Mabel Freeman