The heART of the matter

I’m Elizabeth Rowley and I am the founder of the site T1International. I've created a space where Art, education, and giving come together to (hopefully) make change and help others.

I was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 4 (almost 22 years ago). Early on, I found my passions of humanitarian work and diabetes around the world – particularly related to access to insulin and diabetes education. It is hard for me to accept the fact that people are still dying due to lack of insulin, despite it being available for use by people with diabetes for almost 100 years. My background in international development and my hunger to learn more about these problems and their potential solutions led me to create T1International, which focuses on global diabetes organizations and topics.

Through interviewing others on my web site, I discovered the organization AYUDA (American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad) and I knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of. Having recently completed the IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes training in Melbourne, where I connected with young people living with diabetes from all corners of the globe, I was inspired to do more to create the change I want to see in the diabetes community. Because of that, my husband (who also has type 1 diabetes) and I have created the T1International Marketplace, where our combined interest of art, and all things creative, can be used to help others.

What is the T1I Marketplace?
The T1I Marketplace is an online shop where you can purchase artwork and hand-made items, made by people with diabetes (and supporters of people with diabetes) in exchange for donations to the AYUDA program. Every item you ‘buy’ will support kids in the Dominican Republic to live happier, healthier lives – so it’s a win-win! In the future, we hope that the T1I Market can be used to fundraise for other causes as well, so we won’t stop after we reach the AYUDA target. Be sure to have a look at the various items by visiting Please note that we can customize almost anything to make sure your art is special to you.

Here is a selection of some of the diabetes-related (and general) art up for grabs at the marketplace:


AYUDA is a non-profit volunteer organization that empowers youth to serve as agents of change in diabetes communities around the world. AYUDA’s innovative peer learning model uses international volunteers as catalysts for empowering local youth living with diabetes. I am so excited and lucky to be one of those volunteers. AYUDA remains a grassroots volunteer organization by asking its volunteers to participate in fundraising for the cost of their programs. Fundraising by volunteers contributes to the majority of the costs to run AYUDA’s programs and sponsor local diabetes projects, so every donation goes directly to the program.

As a volunteer, I will go to the Dominican Republic for three weeks to support AYUDA’s local partner organization, Aprendiendo a Vivir. Together we will organize programs for young people with diabetes to promote youth leadership and motivate young people with diabetes to lead healthier and happier lives. For some of the children in the DR, it will be their first experience receiving diabetes education and meeting other people living with diabetes. This will be an instrumental part of their education.

Diabetes camp meant the world to me as a kid, so this experience is the perfect opportunity for me to give something back and ensure that kids who are lacking in supplies and education get the knowledge to help them survive and thrive with diabetes.

You can read more about my motivation for the programme at my fundraising page, and about the CRAZY thing my husband is doing to support the cause as well.

Get in Touch!

I would love to hear from you if you are an artist and interested in donating art to the cause, or if you have other ideas about how we can raise even more funds through the T1I Marketplace, or any other means.

This blog has been approved by TuDiabetes Administration.

Great project!!!