PORT TOWNSEND — East Jefferson County students are competing to win a contest for a special state license plate design on Type 2 diabetes.
Marie Youssefirad — whose charity, the Fariborz Youssefirad Memorial Health Scholarship, is behind the project — is asking members of public to vote for their favorite designs, which are display at the Cotton Building, 607 Washington St.
The final opportunity to view the art and vote will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 at the Cotton Building
Entries were received from 48 student artists, ages 8-14, from Port Townsend, Chimacum, Quilcene and Brinnon schools.
The winning student artist will be announced Jan. 10 and will receive a $200 cash award.
The design will be submitted to the Washington Department of Licensing to become the face of the next special issue license plate. Plate costs range anywhere from $72 to $150, depending on vehicle size.
Potentially, the minimal number of plates sold, 3,600, would generate $98,000 at $28 per plate, and 100 percent of the money would go to the scholarship fund.
Youssefirad set up the fund after her husband died at the age of 58 of medical issues that were the direct result of undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.
His widow describes the suffering of the man she describes as the love of her life at a website at www.fymhs.org.
“The most remarkable thing he spoke to me about was his concerns for other people,” she says on the website. “He did not want anyone else to suffer as he was suffering.”
He had often talked of people undergoing treatment who were younger than he was, she said.
So she set up a foundation to teach children how to prevent Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects the way a person’s body regulates blood sugar, or glucose. Type 2 generally is developed later in life than Type 1 diabetes, found in children.
“May the loss of his life be more than a death,” his widow says on the website. “May it be the catalyst for change.”
Youssefirad said the special license plate process is a lengthy one.
“The winning design will be analyzed and enhanced to meet the rigid Washington Department of Licensing guidelines for acceptance,” she said.
“The license must be visible by a camera for identification as well as be a pleasing design that’s interesting and marketable.
“We’ll be presenting the bill to the Legislature with the design that has been approved by Licensing.”
If legislators’ approve and the governor signs the bill, the plates will be made.
Youssefirad said last year, plates were issued for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and aviation.
Youssefirad’s said a healthy lifestyle, a focus on fitness and nutrition can help children avoid nutritional disorders.
“I am really impressed with the children’s understanding of diabetes and health,” she said. “Whether the design of fruits and vegetables, or the message, ‘you don’t need to eat sugar to be sweet,’ they really understand the topic.
“I think this is a real worthy cause for a special issue license plate issue to support. It’s a unique opportunity to pay it forward in the scholarship that will result in a K-12 seminar teaching diabetes avoidance.”
The seminar as she envisions it will include fitness and nutrition information. Special guests, like athletes and actors, will Skype into these sessions. The curriculum will be streamlined to suit the need of each age group.
To learn more information about the Fariborz Youssefirad Memorial Health Scholarship, visit www.fymhs.org.
Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.