|Eli Lilly and Company Archives|
A number of people lost their lives yesterday, because they couldn't access insulin.
While the DOC has spent the past 48 hours oscillating between hope and skepticism, excitement and indifference, commotion and tranquility...a child, perhaps a parent, and most-assuredly some one's friend DIED, because insulin was not easily accessible to them.
At a time when phrases like "beta cell encapsulation" and "beta cell regeneration" roll off our tongues with gusto, people continue to suffer and perish, because the most basic therapy isn't within their reach at all.
I was sidetracked. I admit it. I allowed myself to feel a cautious sense of hope. I anticipated the big reveal, alongside you (I mean...you did too, right? It wasn't just me?). For a few moments, I abandoned doubt, and relished in the sea of possibilities.
Honestly, I was a bit disappointed by the anticlimactic drift I felt inside. I felt like I've already heard similar stuff before. Even still, it is exciting. It holds promise. It does, indeed, sound GRAND!
And then I felt the burden on my heart return.
While my daughter is healthy, vibrant, and thriving...while she wears an insulin pump, and vials of insulin can be found in our fridge, and used test strips litter our carpet...another mother held her dying child today.
I cannot help but to think about Dr. Banting through all of this.
When his private practice was failing, he took a part time faculty position, and was asked to lecture on the pancreas. Sounds reasonable, I suppose...except that he didn't know a darn thing about the topic. While researching in preparation for his lecture, his brain started pondering the possibilities for a treatment. Shortly thereafter, he threw caution to the wind, packed up everything he owned, and moved in order to pursue his hunch. At one point, he sold his car (!!!!) so he could purchase more dogs to use in his experiments.
Can you imagine what this "diabetes world" would be like, if not for Dr. Banting's noble dedication? If not for the self-discipline it took to educate himself about a topic he was relatively unfamiliar with? If not for his willingness to take risks while making personal sacrifices on the basis of an INSTINCT??
The discovery of insulin is considered to be a TRUE medical miracle. Not hype. Not preamble. Not an overture.
What happened next was nothing less than a complete act of heroism: Dr. Banting sold the rights to his discovery to the University of Toronto...for ONE DOLLAR.
He could have patented his insulin, and made millions of dollars for himself.
But he didn't.
Instead, he gave it away.
He gifted my daughter a chance to live.
When fundraising hysteria, and research updates, and cured mice begin to cloud my perspective, I often stop to ponder that dollar.
I needed to readjust my line of sight with this one, and feel a need to apologize for that.
I'm sorry I was whisked up in anticipation, and subsequent idleness.
I care deeply about the global crisis that exists in 2013, when people who desperately need insulin still cannot access it.
One simple dollar changed the world then, and it can still change the world now.
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