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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Meanwhile, In Other News...

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.


In 2013.

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 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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  1. Applause and hugs and... all the good things coffee brings to my world, I feel for you thanks to this post. Thanks for bringing it home to what matters, Wendy. Very much to reflect on, to help us keep perspective, and recognize ways we can truly make a difference in the here and now. And because of that, I'm donating a single dollar today to LFAC, in Dr. Banting's spirit, because I can. Because I'm alive thanks to him. And there's no reason every CWD or PWD shouldn't also be able to access that 90+ year old life-sustaining hope.

    THIS post is amazing, it brought me to tears and it reminds us all of those living with diabetes who are struggling daily to stay alive.
    I love this post so much - Dr. Banting is my hero and so are you!
    Kelly K~

  3. Thank you so much, Wendy, for re-grounding us with this post. This is the spirit we all need to have. :) Love u!

  4. Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for these terrific words.

  5. What a beautiful post. My dear husband got so excited. I for a moment was excited too, and we talked about this same thing. There are people that can't get insulin now days. We have amazing technology with insulin pumps, CGM, and even meters. There are so many people I know that would kill for one of those too. I would do anything for a cure, but until it is presented in front of me, I consider myself blessed for the availability for the things I have now, and the doctors, that have provided that lifeline. Wendy, you are truly amazing, and always so wise! <3 you!!

  6. Of all the posts made around the DOC about this over the last couple of days this is probably the best I've read. Thanks for the much-needed perspective.


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While I'm happy to share our experiences with what works, and what doesn't work, for the management of Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease in our house, please do not mistake anything you read here for medical advice. Decisions regarding your/your child's health care should be made only with the assistance of your medical care team. Use any information from this blog at your own risk.