Why Would This Woman Do What She Did??? A Video That Will Drive you to Your Knees.

Sandra StraussEmotional.

Do you get emotional?

Sandy is beautiful and in fact, when she smiles, she is downright breath-taking.  She’s the type of person that, upon entrance into a room, it becomes electric.

She does not ‘say hello’, she hugs you because she ‘means’ hello.  She speaks four languages, and she will share with you that she is a speaker, writer, marketing specialist and a girl who just wants to change the world.

About being the underdog, she writes:  I see underdogs as people with a burning desire to make a mark – who remain committed and undeterred in spite of the odds stacked against them, and who exhibit an indomitable spirit that inspires others. Underdogs have the boldness and tenacity to pursue a goal wholeheartedly, and deserve all the help and support they can get!

She also has T1 diabetes.  When I saw the video that I have included below, I not only cried, but I had to share it with you.  It is of one of the most gruelling undertakings a person can put themselves through.  It is called Tough Mudder which is described as hardcore events in a 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. 


Sandy tells you why she attempts it at the end of the video and it will pierce your heart.  You have to watch it to see if she completes it.   She was not alone in this undertaking and her whole team was made up of people with T1 Diabetes.

This is a video of my friend Sandy Struss. Enjoy.

“….just a girl who wants to change the world.”  Indeed, beautiful.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

There Was a ‘Back Then’, Before……..Who Would Live Like That????????

Back in timeBefore.

Heavens; what did we do ‘before’?

When I was at dLife, Richard found his way into our forums and chats and once I became a regular in the online community Richard would always ‘pop in’ here and there adding his golden nuggets of incredible information.  You see Richard has been living with diabetes for 67 years.  That’s right, 67!

This week, while at the Children with DIabetes Friends for Life Conference he had a ‘first timers’ ribbon on.  Now being in his seventies, the man still looks to educate himself and be part of the diabetes community; doing something for the first time after having diabetes for 67 years.  If that doesn’t humble you, nothing will.

After meeting Richard, I was thinking on the plane ride home from Orlando; what it must have been like living with diabetes when Richard was a young boy.

I know all of the changes that have occurred since Kaitlyn was diagnosed 21 years ago and there have been so many more since Richard was diagnosed during the 1940s.  It makes me wonder what in heaven’s name we all did before……..before……..SO MUCH!

Imagine our world without devices like pumps, fast-reading glucometers, small needles, CGMs; Imagine our world without CWD, JDRF, DRI, The Diabetes Advocates, The Diabetes Hands Foundation, and so many other areas; Imagine our world without Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest; Imagine our world not connected and not being able to be with each other in the many ways available to us.


We now live in an instantaneous world which readily is available to supply and share information.  Our meters are the fastest they have ever been, and there is even discussions of things like the Bionic Pancreas and the BioHub; words that did not even exist 5 years ago, much less sixty-seven.

The world is forever changing and changing at a pace that on one hand does not seem fast enough but in another; faster than anyone could ever imagine.

When people like Richard were testing urine in a test tube 40 years ago, what would they have said when told that someday you will have something that will dispense insulin automatically?

We are now living in the fastest world of ‘now’ becoming ‘before’ than any other time in our history.  Just a shame that it is all not fast enough……isn’t it?

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

A GIANT Steps Down: Bob Pearlman President & CEO of the DRIF

CWD 2011 Bob P and TomIt is with huge mixed emotions I share the following news.  Below is the press release as stated by the DRIF.

My boss, my mentor, and my friend—-there is not one single parent or person with diabetes who should not be grateful for the work Bob has done over the past 20 years..

I will write more in the near future but for now I say best of everything Bob, you surely deserve it.

We will stay driven.  We will stay focused.  We are in it to end it.

Diabetes Research Institute Foundation President and CEO Robert A. Pearlman Stepping Down After 20 Years

HOLLYWOOD, Florida — May 20, 2013 – After successfully leading the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) for two decades, Robert A. Pearlman, 67, of Boca Raton, FL, announced that he will be stepping down from his position as president and CEO effective June 30, 2013.

Mr. Pearlman was recruited to the DRI Foundation in 1993, after a 25-year career in the fundraising field, to increase funding for the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami, the sole beneficiary of its support. During his tenure, the Foundation and the DRI experienced exponential growth, developing into one of the premier diabetes organizations and a recognized world-leader in cure-focused diabetes research.

Under his leadership, the DRIF has raised approximately $300 million dollars and, in the process, became the largest contributor to the University of Miami in its history. Mr. Pearlman presided over three consecutive five-year campaigns which increased fundraising more than 15 percent per year. When Mr. Pearlman steps down at the end of this fiscal year, the annual campaign will close 13 percent over this year’s goal and up 34 percent over last year.

“We thank and honor Bob for his tremendous service for the last 20 years. He built the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation into a world-class institution and has made a tremendous impact on shortening our timeline toward the discovery of a cure for diabetes,” said Harold G. Doran, Jr., chairman of the DRIF’s National Board of Directors. “Bob is leaving us in a strong and exciting position to move toward our goal of a cure and continue our momentum after unveiling the DRI BioHub earlier this year.”

“It has been an incredible privilege and personally gratifying for me to have led the DRI Foundation for the last 20 years and to have worked side by side with Dr. Camillo Ricordi, director of the DRI. I’ve been surrounded by an incredible team at both the Institute and Foundation, many of whom have been at the organization even longer than me. I’m confident that with this team in place the mission to cure diabetes will be achieved,” said Mr. Pearlman.

DRI Foundation Chief Operating Officer Deborah Chodrow will become acting president and CEO on July 1, 2013. She will serve in this capacity as the organization conducts a national search for a permanent successor. Mr. Pearlman will remain a consultant to the Foundation for a period of time to ensure a smooth transition for his successor.
Complete link:

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’

What One Person Does For Your Kids…….Amazing!

Blair County 2013It’s so hard to describe.

There are people who are very busy.  There are people who have too many things on their plate.  There are people who ‘would if they could’…..and then there is Lisa Treese.

Lisa Treese has had hardships in her life.  She is also a mom to three rapidly growing boys who each have their own interests.  She works.  She is a community advocate.  She has a son with type 1 diabetes.  She has a husband, good friends, a home, pets, and an extremely active life.  Lisa has a thousand excuses ‘not to be involved’, but she has one good reason to act.

Lisa also lives by; “I don’t do nothing.”

This weekend I had the privilege, no; the honor of traveling to Blair County Pennsylvania for what I still consider to be the absolute blue print of a DRI Diabetes Diplomat project.

One woman with a dream which has resulted in a community of also, ‘not doing nothing’.  The annual Blair County Pennsylvania Walk was a wonderful day that will result (they have another event happening this month as well) with over $30,000 for diabetes research.  She organizes, writes the letters, makes the calls, calls the shots, reaches out to families, reaches out to friends, and creates one heck-of-an-event. 

I always have fun with Lisa as we watch the hundreds of people arriving and I state the quote she said to me years ago when she started, “No one will ever come”.  Well that turns out to be wrong every year and was wrong this year as hundreds and hundreds of people came this weekend with dark clouds.  And they kept coming.  

They cheered in the rain.  They walked in the rain.  And as soon as the walk was over, the sun came out and many of the people stayed for the fun and the food.  And they participated in a walk event that is truly unlike any other.  Why?  Because Lisa knows every single team and child with diabetes that attends the event. 

She greets all of them.  She asks how they are doing.  She introduces that person with this person because they might help each other.   She is a born communicator.  She cares.  She is one of the most incredible people I know.  She does it all for one reason, to find a cure for her son.

People do things.  People do great things.  Many people do things to help the DRI and the goal to cure diabetes forever.  They do their homework.  They support the work of
Dr. Ricordi, and his team, because they believe in the concept of ‘in it to end it’ just as the researchers at the DRI believe it.

I have said it a thousand times, the best part of what I do is meeting the people around the world who want to help and live by the belief that ‘diabetes just will not do’ in their lives.  They do more.  They do not just talk; they act.

Lisa Treese does it with an energy, with a smile, with a compassion but also with one fiercely incredible drive for success. 

Anytime I need a lift, I go to the Blair County DIabetes FB Walk Page.   They are all wonderful people who do so much to make this day such a memorable day.  Lisa would be the first person to say she does not do it alone;  that she has an army of people who help her accomplish this goal.

She would be right. 

But one person needs to stand up and say, “I can do this.”  And does just that.  In this case that person is Lisa Treese; an incredible driving force making a difference for her child, and yours.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’

A Big Corporate Giant………Made up of People; Just Like You and Me.

BillboardAt the end of the day, it’s about people.

On many occassions I hear and/or read about this company or that company and the ‘big bad’ machine that operates in the daily business pages.  I want to share something  today about a big company made up of……..well………people, many having a tie-in with diabetes, just like you and me.

Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, relatives, and/or friends that have been impacted by diabetes.  They work for Walgreens in South Florida.  If you have a loved one with diabetes and a cure interests you, so will this story.

This is year number three that the employees of Walgreens in South Florida, (south of Port St. Lucie to the Florida Keyes) have joined together to create the Walk with Walgreens to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).  This year their combined totals will top 1 million dollars.  For my loved ones and for yours.

This is not a DRI walk and Walgreens has a big presence; this is different than anything else out there.  This is their walk.  They organize it, they run it, they donate money to the DRI.  They make the signs.  They recruite their employees.  They encourage families with diabetes, whether part of the Walgreens family or not, to be involved.  They have 3,842 things on their plate in running their stores; yet they find the time, much of it THEIR OWN time, to make this walk a success.

Tomorrow approximatelt 8-10,000 people will be at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami and at Traditions Square in Port St. Lucie.  In addition to those who will donate money, and in addition to the many wonderful family teams that will be participating; the work and the pride of the Walgreens employees to ‘get this right’ has been remarkable.  I wish you could have attended the meetings or been on the countless calls for the last ten months and heard the dedication in the voices of all of those who have chipped in to make this walk successful.

We, as an organization, could have NEVER accomplished this feat alone.  I know walks.  I have been part of creating the biggest ones in existence for diabetes since our journey began, when Kaitlyn was diagnosed in 1992, and it is hugely labor intensive.  It’s a lot of work.  It’s A LOT OF WORK.

Tomorrow will be a fabulous day for people with diabetes.  I have purposely not mentioned names because to do so, I know I would leave someone out, someone who was as fabulous as the next person.  I do not want to do that because EVERYONE played a vital role from Walgreens, from the DRI, from families who formed teams, and from a whole list of incredible sponsors.

I need to mention one person though, he is the type of man who is the quickest on deflecting any credit to others.  His name is Roy Ripak and he sits at the top of the Walgreens Corporate ladder for all of the Walgreens Stores in South Florida.

He has a business to run.  He has a big business to run.  Yet he finds the time to tackle this monumental job.  Interesting thing about Mr. Ripak is that we are only one of many charities in the area who benefit from his nature of giving back.  He is tireless in helping others.

Yet diabetes is personal to him, as it is to many others in the Walgreens world of employees, as it is to many of us.  Diabetes does not care where you work or what you do; and it needs to be stopped.  Now cynics can chime in and say Walgreens makes boatloads of money from people with diabetes and that is a true statement. 

But I have come to know the PEOPLE at Walgreens in South Florida.  I have seen them work hard, sweat, plan, organize, and even shed tears over what diabetes is about and what this Walk with Walgreens to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute has become.  Walgreens is made up of people.  People who care about people with diabetes; you, your kids, my kids, their associates, and all those who live with diabetes.

Tomorrow, walks will take place in two corners of South Florida; Miami and Port St. Lucie.  Amazing events with fun, food, celebrities, health fairs, family teams, music, corporate teams, incredible sponsors like Neutrogena Sun Care, Listerine, Zyrtec, Pepsi, Coke, Clear Channel, Multirace, The Miami Dolphins, and so many, many more.  And of course Walgreens will be there and so will the DRI.  On this day we will all meet……..

……….at the corner of Happy and Healthy.  Thank you Walgreens.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

On the Road….Many Entities Help Us…..They Don’t ‘Have to’.

MiamiMy friend and mentor, Charlie Rizzo, once stated to me that he had to do what he does. I have written before about his tireless efforts in the world of diabetes and since his daughter was diagnosed he has never once lost that fire to find a cure.

I thought of those words today.  I am on the road, which I am a lot.  The traveling is always hard on everyone in my house.   I love what I do and the travel is part of it.  When I was an actor and in New York working people used to say how wonderful it must be.  I enjoyed that too but like anything, I knew that it was my job.  I came to work and did my role and went home.  I never thought of it as wonderful but always knew I was fortunate to be where I was in life.

It is the same with travel.  It is a necessity with my job and because I know that it brings me to meet wonderful people who do great things, this too is a fortunate side despite all of the plane, trains, hotels and automobiles.

Today I am in Miami meeting with some of the folks from Walgreens.  Walgreens is a great big company.  They do not ‘HAVE TO’ do anything.  Not just for the DRI, but the diabetes community as an entire entity is very fortunate to have a company who chooses to help out.  

There are many, many charities out there and Walgreens is a good friend to not only the DRI, but the JDRF, ADA, and other diabetes organizations as well.  We are all lucky that they ‘choose’ to help all of us.  On April 20th of this year they will run their annual Walk with Walgreens to benefit the DRI.  It is a huge event in both Port St. Lucie and at the Sun Life Stadium (home of the Miami Dolphins).

There is no ‘one day’ that we stop and say thank you to the so many people, companies, schools, and a whole list of others who have no ties to diabetes that do great things for us.  They donate money, time, products, and other resources because someone got their attention and they chose to help out.  Let us know some of the places you work with and have been very generous to your efforts?

Sure I know, it is part of the corporate world to give back and I know that much money is spent inside their stores and it makes for the ‘warm and fuzzy’ side of the corporate world to help.  But remember that every entity you work with has ‘floor-to-ceiling-proposals’ from thousands of  charities asking for help.  For some reason they are involved with you because you asked them.  It’s never wrong to say, every now and again, thank you for helping us.  Remember, they don’t have to ‘this’, but because of our love for our kids, we do.  Call them up or drop a line and just say, ‘thanks’.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’


Information as Promised: Dr. Camillo Ricordi’s Live Webinar

CamilloI stated that I would supply the information about Dr. Camillo Ricordi’s live webcast when it was available.

Without editorial or comment I would like to inform you that on Tuesday April 2nd, 2013 from 12 noon – 1:00 PM USA Eastern Standard Time; Dr. Camillo Ricordi, DRI Scientific Director, will host a live webinar to discuss the vision and strategy about the DRI BioHub.

He will be joined by Cherie Stabler, Ph.D. Director DRI Tissue Engineering Lab and DRIF President and CEO Robert Pearlman.

After short presentations; Q&A will take place.

You must register first and you can click here to do so:  REGISTER

At the time you register you will have an opportunity to suggest a question.

It has been suggested that anyone wishing to register do so in a timely manner.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’

JDRF, and The World, Loses a POWERHOUSE. A Tribute.

Carol and Jim IrwinWhen I was a staff person at what was then called the JDF (didn’t know that did you?) I was at a meeting and the woman at the microphone said with that incredible smile; “Lock the doors because no one is getting out until they commit to this.”

That woman was Dame Carol Lurie.  Last night, quietly in her sleep I am informed, the world lost probably the most influential person in making what the JDRF has become to the world today.  She would dispute that, of course, and give the credit elsewhere.

She was strong and the many times I have referred to her and Lee Ducat when I lecture, it is always to show the power of what two moms could do in a world, where they believed; that diabetes just would not do.

I left the JDF, she stayed.  I went to the DRI and it was years later that my son was also diagnosed when I opened  my mail to a note that simply said that although we are on separate paths, our goals would always be the same; our kids.  And I’ll never forget how she signed it, “…see you at the finish line.—C.L.”

She and her husband, Erwin (who also passed a while back), were powerhouses in this world of diabetes.  Long before the internet, social media, and electronic outreach; Carol somehow found a way to connect the corners of the earth as one diabetes voice.  And the voices rose.  The voices were heard.  And changes happened.

So when you think that nothing can get done or be done in this world anymore; think of Dame Carol Lurie–or ‘just-a-mom’ Carol Lurie as she would say.  A mom who just believed that in this world, under her watch, diabetes will just not do.

It is my thought that she and Erwin are in black tie & gown behind the pearly gates dancing together and half way through the evening, she may very well speak to all of the angels and say, “Close those gates and no one leaves until we figure out a way to significantly help those who I have left behind.”  …..and her legacy will continue on.

See you at the finish line my friend.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

I Know Where My Heart Belongs…..Do You????

Islet cell heart editedHappy Valentine’s Day. Those who know, know they have my heart.  But the islet cell picture in the shape of the heart, that I posted today, was discovered by one of the Researchers at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) and given to the world to use.  That simple gesture of sharing with the world is indicative of the reason that out of all the entities out there, that I could give my energy, my heart will always belong to the DRI.

Those who know me also know that I am very supportive of  many entities, organizations, and projects.  My mantra of ‘don’t do nothing’ is well-known in the diabetes community.  I respect whatever anyone else chooses to support.  Recently a good friend asked me, “Why do feel so strongly about the DRI?”

Years ago, when DRI was really just beginning, I was approached by a colleague at a conference who was a regional director in the Florida area.  Jennifer approached me and stated that she knew many people from the Long Island area were looking at the DRI and asking a million questions.  “What do you do?  How do you stop them?”  I smiled at Jennifer, who was also a mom to a child with T1, and I said, “Jennifer, I tell them to go.”

My thought has always been that we need to continue to look for the answers we seek, never to be so connected to a place that if another one doing a better job comes along, that you would not look to FIND THE ANSWER.  In our life, the single most important factor in our lives is to find a cure for our two children.  Second, a close second, is to have the knowledge of everything out there to keep our kids healthy.  But the leader is a cure.

There is not one single entity our there more dedicated to finding a cure than the DRI.  To this day I have never seen or been introduced to anything like it.  Yes, I work here.  But I have worked at other diabetes-central places before and I would change again if someone showed me a better place to be.  The scientific findings at the DRI are known throughoutthe world.  What they have been part of has changed the diabetes world of research like no other place.  And it continues today.

I know there are scientists out there doing work that is capturing the imaginations and the hopes of many.  I know most of them and some could be very helpful.  When someone says to me, “what about so-and-so” my answer is always the same; “Go and ask them if they would be willing to work with others, to share, to speed up their results, if it is no, then don’t waste your time.”

I learned that from the DRI.  The DRI shares with centers all around the world in a collaborative effort second to none.  It is this effort of sharing and connecting, as well as the brilliance of the findings that keep me here.  But if you know some place better please let me know.  But they must pass the litmus test: Is the science real; do they collaborate; do they share; is it on the pathway for a cure.

Now I also know there are those out there saying we need to put a timeline on the scientists to find a cure.  Not so.  Does anyone remember the decade for a cure in the 90’s; the battle-cry was that a cure would be found by the end of the 90s but that came with a PR slant only; and much of the real science out there was not even being entertained for funding.  So be careful on timelines…..been there, done that….and it broke my heart.  DIligent?  Absolutely.  Focused? Absolutely.

The DRI is a group of scientists that share with each other, share with the world, and whether you have a million dollars or run an event that raised $50; you are part of the DRI Family.  Each person is as crucial a step on the pathway as the scientists themselves.

It is no secret to anyone that Lisa Treese is without a doubt one of my favorite people on this living earth.  She is a mom who does what she can.  She was not happy with what she saw in her community and she searched, and she searched, and she searched and how lucky for the DRI that she gives so much time and effort.  I will never forget when Lisa and her mom toured the DRI and her mom called me afterwards and said to me, “That was staged, right.  I cannot believe that is how they treat everyone who visits and tours the DRI.”  It is how we treat every one—simply put, one is, or is not.  The DRI is.

It is also no secret that another favorite person on this earth is Bonnie Inserra and her family.  They have worked hard in life and they share generously with both their time and their support.  You see, these two women, myself, like so many more have ‘touched and seen the DRI in action’.  All work diligently for one reason, to turn out the lights because the job is done.

That is why I share with you on this Valentines Day, that when it comes to diabetes, my heart belongs to the DRI.  If you want to be updated on research, I do not want you to change anything in your lives, but if you want to stay updated on worldwide happenings in diabetes research I urge you to become a DRI Insider by clicking here.

There will be a cure for diabetes, I’m sure of it.  And the DRI will be part of it.  For me that is worth giving both my soul and my heart.  Happy Valentines Day.

I am a diabetes dad.


$116,000,000,000 You Pay….What Comes Back?

moneyThe American Diabetes Association estimates that when it comes to diabetes 116 billion dollars (with a “b”) is spent on everything out of lost time which is an additional 58 billion dollars.

I believe there will be a solid advantage to the pharma world that is aligned with the place and/or organization that takes us closer to a cure, or is helping those in need on a larger scale–a thought occurred to me that I think needs addressing.

If you combined all—I mean all—of the money given to those focusing on research, you would come nowhere near the 300 million dollar mark annually.  That’s JDRF, DRI, ADA, Joslin, Barbara Davis, DECA, Columbia University, Minnesota, Harvard, and on and on and on; COMBINED. I believe my number of 300 million is very high for an annual amount.

For all that is given, spent, and utilized to care for all those with diabetes; all the fundraising combined is .25 of the total revenue spent on diabetes care annually; and almost all of that fund-raising is private philanthropy;  one-quarter of one percent!

Anyone else find that number to be slightly skewed? 

I get it.  Companies are in business to make a profit for their stock holders.  And many companies give a good deal; but are all of them giving even 1% back to the consumer in the form of a cure or helping those in need?

We now have many choices when it comes to diabetes supplies, maybe we should add,  “What are you doing to help?” to our decision process when choosing a company to purchase our supplies.  Maybe we should be asking more, what do you think? 

I am a diabetes dad.