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  • Writer's pictureJill Kietzke

Today is the Day: World Diabetes Day

While Diabetes Month has been going on since November 1st, today is the day that celebrates the work of Fredrick Banting and Charles Best. On this day 100 years ago, these two began the life-saving results of insulin: by removing insulin from one dog and giving it to another dog with severe diabetes, keeping it alive for 70 days, until they ran out! (Is that why I am such a dog lover?)

Just as now, it took many hands to further develop this life saving insulin until it could be used in a human, just 2 months later! Read the full history of insulin here in this great article by American Diabetes Association: https://www.diabetes.org/blog/history-wonderful-thing-we-call-insulin , or visit https://www.sciencehistory.org/historical-profile/frederick-banting-charles-best-james-collip-and-john-macleod for a more detailed history.

Frederick Banting and Charles Best on the roof of the University of Toronto’s Medical Building in 1922. Dogs were used as experimental subjects in the insulin tests.

Courtesy the C. H. Best Papers, Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto.


While this discovery was the first stone in the yellow brick road, which paved the way with life-saving treatment for people with diabetes (Type 1), the road will not end until there is not only a cure but when EVERYONE with diabetes can THRIVE WITH DIABETES. This is the pot of gold that I am going to be part of: prevention, diagnosis, education, treatment, monitoring, technology all have to be in that pot.

ABC...A diabetes alphabet

A is for Advocacy: While Trollway Diabetes Inc. does not specifically participate in lobbying or political activities, this is still perhaps one of the most powerful words in the diabetes alphabet! As a community member, Lion, nurse, leader and diabetes professional I have learned how powerful our stories can be. I recently had the privilege of participating in a virtual workshop of diabetes leaders of all kinds in order to shine some light on the struggles that arrive from the cost of diabetes care. One of their stories really spoke to my mothering instincts and how we try so hard to protect our children. Thank you to the Sego family for your A+ Advocacy!

This family struggled constantly with the costs of affording insulin for years. Their son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 7. She spoke of how sometimes bills couldn't be paid, and at times utilities were shut off because they had to choose between electricity, water, etc., and their son's insulin. We all know that is a decision we would never want to HAVE to make. Fast forward to when her son was in college, playing football, being a normal young adult (as normal as possible while living with T1). When he went for the first time to pick up his own insulin he discovered how much it would cost for a 1 month supply: $1700 (4 vials). He called his mother in a panic, thinking it couldn't be right, since they had insurance. But that WAS the right amount. And that realization resulted in him only picking up 1 vial instead of 4 to last him the month. While these parents discovered his decision in time to save his life, that is not always the case. What really was a gut punch for me was imagining what that young man was thinking when he found out the cost of his "life" and what his family had sacrificed for him growing up. No child should EVER have to feel that. You can read Kathy's full Senate Testimony here: https://www.finance.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/29JAN2019SEGOSTMNT.pdf

As painful as it is for this family to relive this every day, mom is sharing her story as an advocate for people with diabetes, even providing her testimony for the United States Senate Finance Committee. While I luckily don't personally have to feel this pain every moment of every day, I still advocate so that it might some day not have to happen. While not everybody's advocacy story will go this far, EVERY story is important.

You can find out more about just one way to advocate for diabetes here (there are MANY, and we need them all) : https://www.diabetes.org/advocacy


Stay tuned for more Diabetes Alphabet!

Jill

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