People to Know: Haidee Merritt
The most common reaction to Haidee Merritt's illustrations is an emphatic "That's so true!" And then laughter. Haidee is fluent in gallows humor and crisp levity, and seems to hit the proverbial lancet on the fingertip every time. In other words: She (very cleverly) speaks our language.
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a baby, Haidee has taken a realistic stance on the disease, which colors her art. In one drawing, titled "The Geyser Effect," blood spurts from a man's finger. In another, a fortune cookie's message reads, "A diabetic and her money are soon parted."
Though her drawings push the envelope, they express what many people with diabetes feel. "Their trademark edginess is a result of the impatience with (and, sure, bitterness against) those who discount, discredit, or dismiss someone else, especially if we're talking about diabetes," she says.
Haidee has plenty up her sleeve for the future, too: She recently finished illustrating a book written by Riva Greenberg, joined the online magazine Insulin Nation as senior editor, and launched a video interview program called "Five Spot" at this year's American Association of Diabetes Educators annual meeting.
Kim Vlasnik is a blogger with type 1 diabetes, advocate, cartoonist, and founder of the You Can Do This Project.