A really neat project is in the works right around Banting House NHSC to raise awareness about diabetes! Using the Munzee app, a local man has been working on building a virtual Diabetes Awareness garden. The Munzee game is similar to geocaching: players use GPS tracking to find the location of physical or virtual QR codes (also known as Munzees) and collect points when they “capture” the Munzee with their smart phones. The App is free to download and use. The Munzee creators consider the game to be “…the next generation in global scavenger hunt games,” with almost 200,000 players across the globe and more than 2.2 million Munzees to find. Most of the Munzees are located in urban settings which makes it easier for people to access them, as well.
Richard, the man spearheading the creation of the Diabetes Awareness garden, has been an active Munzee player for some time. This was the first awareness garden to be started through Munzee, and Richard decided to create this project after his wife was diagnosed with diabetes. The area around Banting House NHSC was the perfect spot to create the garden because of the ties to Banting’s work. Munzee players can add Munzees into the game, and Richard’s idea was to get people to create virtual Munzees in honour of loved ones who have been impacted by diabetes. The project has already had pieces deployed by more than fifty people from around the world but still needs some help adding virtual Munzees to the area around Banting House. The project needs about 400 Munzees to complete the image and there are about 200 more Munzees to add before it is finished. Here is what the project currently looks like on the Munzee website:
When all of the individual Munzees are placed, they will create an image that will look like this on a map:
This project is working to raise awareness for diabetes and also promotes a healthy and active lifestyle. Players navigate around the area collecting the Munzees, so it’s a great way to get some exercise and spend time with family or friends while thinking about the impact diabetes has on people’s lives. The project also shows how people can come together across the globe; you don’t have to be in London to add a Munzee to the project, you just have to have a Munzee account. Participating in the project should be a lot of fun, whether as a player collecting the Munzees or as someone placing the virtual codes. It will be very interesting to see what the finished product looks like and hopefully people in the London area and beyond can get involved!
The work Sir Frederick Banting and his team did to help people with diabetes has carried on in many different forms, from research to public awareness activities. Projects like these help to bring people together and remind us all that there is still a lot of work to do before a cure for diabetes is found, but that there are fun ways for everyone to participate and contribute!
This post was written by Taryn Dewar, Graduate Research Assistant at Banting House NHSC. Taryn is a Master’s candidate in Public History at Western University.