A Pro Bowl tight end who played in the NFL during the 2010s and into the 2020s has signed on for a healthcare brand’s awareness campaign this fall.
No, we’re not talking about Travis Kelce’s star turn in Pfizer’s commercials promoting its updated COVID-19 booster shots.
We’re talking about Kyle Rudolph’s contributions to Medtronic’s Blue Balloon Challenge as part of National Diabetes Awareness Month
Rudolph, who played in the NFL for more than a decade before retiring to start a career as a sports analyst, is supporting the cause alongside actress Jennifer Stone.
Like other action-oriented healthcare initiatives, the Blue Balloon Challenge calls on participants to bounce a blue balloon between their hands to represent the day-to-day challenges faced by people living with diabetes.
The health tech company’s diabetes division pledged to donate $5 for every challenge completed on social media to the nonprofit Life for a Child, which provides critical diabetes supplies to kids in underserved areas.
The Blue Balloon Challenge may seem like a new concept to many Americans but the effort kicked off in Europe two years ago and has only grown since. Medtronic has engaged with regional influencers like Sena to promote the cause in Japan and has plans to host Bondi Beach Blue Balloon Challenge in Australia.
For Rudolph, the campaign has a special meaning given that he has family members living with the disease, which affects about one-in-10 Americans.
“As someone with diabetes in my family, I have seen firsthand how activities like eating or exercising may require many decisions to be made to keep blood sugar in range,” he said in a minute-long ad promoting the campaign. “So Medtronic challenged me to juggle a balloon while doing something in my daily life and clearly, it isn’t easy.”
The campaign launched weeks before Medtronic is slated to release its latest financial earnings on November 21.
Several other healthcare organizations have launched advertising campaigns to coincide with Diabetes Awareness Month and educate people about the risks associated with the condition.
Earlier this month, Abbott rolled out an installation at the Oculus Center in New York City to highlight patient stories focused on diabetes. The installation — which features comedian and talk show host Sherri Shepherd — seeks to market Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre continuous glucose monitoring system.