I remember sitting in the hospital when my son had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and so many questions ran through my mind as I thought about what this meant for his future. Would he still be able to do all the things a parent hopes and dreams of for their child? Everyone I knew connected to T1D told me yes, but honestly I still had my doubts… especially that first year.

As my son got older and started getting involved in activities, we made it our mission that we wouldn’t let diabetes hold him back from anything he wanted to do. Of course T1D can add challenges, but it doesn’t have to keep him from doing the things he loves.

I know that now. And I have a beautiful way to celebrate all those adventures that we as parents once worried might be impossible after a T1D diagnosis. Maybe it’s candles from a milestone diaversary, pebbles collected on a family hike, or a rolled ticket stub from a starring role in the school play.… Upcycle your empty insulin vials as a place to hold on to these special mementos. How appropriate that the vessel you display them in once contained the medicine that makes all of these adventures possible.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 or more empty insulin vials
  • Safety glasses
  • Protective gloves
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Mementos of choice (such as confetti, wildflowers, rocks, ticket stubs, candles, sand, beads, etc.)
  • Small craft corks (available at craft stores)

How to Make It

  1. Remove vial labels.Peel off the outer wrapping from the insulin vial(s).
  2. Peel off vial caps.Wearing safety glasses and protective gloves, use pliers to remove the caps from the vials: Grip the cap with the pliers and squeeze, crushing the sides of the cap. If necessary, rotate the vial a quarter turn and crush the cap again. Then grab an edge of the cap with the pliers and peel it off of the vial. Lift out the rubber stopper that’s underneath the cap with your fingers.
  3. Wash out vials.Clean out the vials with soap and water and dry thoroughly.
  4. Carefully insert mementos into the vial(s). Place the cork(s) into the top of the vial(s).

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.