NEWSBREAK: Lilly Fires First Shot in Lowering Insulin Cost……Now We Need a War!

first-stepToday, Lilly Diabetes released an announcement that they are reducing insulin up to 40% for some users in the retail market.  You can read the announcement here:

Now this very well may not be for everyone and clearly will not work in all cases, maybe not even in a whole bunch of cases.  But it will help in enough cases to impact a good deal of lives, and that’s good.   Lilly deserves all the credit in the world for actually trying to do something, and being the first to fire a tangible shot.  Now naysayers might criticize it; but there is something in this release that is revealing when Lilly Diabetes President, Enrique Conterno, states that this is a ‘first step’, and I believe him.  I participated in the discussions mentioned and I can tell you this, Lilly is serious in their attempt.

Why?  Because as I have stated before, I’m not a huge fan of petitions.  From my days in government I know they accomplish little but good PR for the ones issuing them.  In government it’s pretty well accepted that the amount of signatures is directly related to the PR machine behind it and not really about the substance, personal letters are a different story.  What Lilly Diabetes is doing is an actual action step.  IT WILL NOT be for everyone and may also be for a smaller percentage, but it’s a step and when it comes to major companies, I will take any step than no step at all.

The diabetes companies are not alone in the price issues and the costs being so high to patients; and it’s my sincere hope that ALL the players involved can solve the issues themselves because I feel, as is more of the case than not; to have the government involved in trying to fix this will be a disaster—–it usually is.

So I applaud Lilly Diabetes and I know they are not done speaking with people trying to figure all of this out.  It’s also my sincere hope that ALL OF THE PLAYERS (including retailers and payors/insurance companies) sit at the same table at some point to actually do something constructive to help those who cannot afford these crucial diabetes needs.  Not merely to issue a press release in the first week after a meeting (who cares) but to construct a bridge of new ideas and out-of-the-box thinking with REAL solutions, because diabetes patients deserve at least that.

Agreed, what Lilly Diabetes has begun will not solve all the problems, and maybe only help a small percentage;  but actually helping a small percentage quietly and methodically for some sort of actual solutions are so much better than huge “look at what we are doing” campaigns that will accomplish little.

Patients need action steps and Lilly Diabetes, I hope, has just started the snowball to begin rolling down the hill.  Time will surely tell.  Bravo Lilly Diabetes.
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NEWSBREAK: T1D Hero to Make History This Weekend in Talledega

ryan-reed-carIt’s not only his unquenchable thirst to succeed;  it’s not only his drive to win; it’s not even his incredible relationship with the folks at Lilly Diabetes that keeps so many pulling for him—-it’s the way; at every turn (pun intended) Ryan Reed grabs the spotlight by the ears and points it at himself for, but, one reason.  In his words, “….not only to drive…..but more importantly, the opportunity to encourage and educate people who are living with diabetes and  those who care for them.  We will continue to share the message about diabetes awareness……”

Inspirational.  Educational.  Directly, with humility and charm.

THIS is why Ryan Reed is a hero…….big time.  And every time I’m with him, and his family, I feel like I’m just a friend of his mom’s—-because, you see, that’s how the Reeds make you feel; like you are part of their family.

But make no mistake about it, when Ryan climbs into that #16 car with the words LILLY DIABETES on the hood in big letters——-IT-IS-ALL-BUSINESS.  And that business will take Ryan Reed this weekend to a place that no one has ever gone before as he makes history as the ONLY DRIVER actively managing diabetes to race at the Sprint Cup Level.

This, a young man who was told just five years ago after his diagnosis of T1D, that he would never race again.  To Ryan, his mom, his dad……THAT was just unacceptable. And Ryan takes every chance he can to take the opportunity so kids know what he has learned; diabetes should stop them………………from nothing.

He doesn’t just say it…….he lives it…………and at 200 plus miles per hour.

After an incredibly close call last week…..Ryan has rebounded, ONCE AGAIN, to show the world that his diabetes IS NOT WHO he is.

The leading team of racing, Roush Fenway Racing has just signed a multi-year renewal agreement for Ryan to continue with them behind the wheel…..and now, in addition to the Xfinity Series; he is entering the NASCAR SPRINT SERIES.

He not only took the Xfinity Race in Daytona just over a year ago, not only qualified for the 2016 inaugural Xfinity Series Chase, now he enters the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as well.  Race car driving is, indeed, like dancing with a buzz saw.  Ryan is at a trajectory of success which inspires everyone living with diabetes and a whole bunch of us who don’t.  Breathtaking to say the least.

Best of luck to Ryan, his family and to Lilly Diabetes who is the driving engine (pun intended again) to making it all happen as Ryan’s Sponsor.

WOW…………………..Start your engines indeed!!!!!!!!

I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

NEWSBREAK: Interview with a REAL Winner…..Oh Yeah, He Won Daytona Too!!!

Ryan reed victorI had the opportunity for a one-on-one interview with NASCAR Xfinity Series ‘checker-flag’ recipient, Ryan Reed, shortly after his huge victory at Daytona National Speedway last weekend.  This remarkable young man is not only taking NASCAR by storm, he and his partners at Lilly Diabetes and The American Diabetes Association’s Drive To Stop Diabetes, are also allowing many other people, mostly young people, to meet Ryan and hear his story first hand.

Lives are being changed.  As you listen to Ryan speak, it’s as clear as can be that his passion for being in NASCAR may very well only be surpassed by his desire to touch lives.  And he’s doing JUST THAT.

Thank you so much for taking the time today; and first of all; congratulations on your big win.
Ryan: Thanks it was a fun weekend.

In the race, you have two laps to go, you are 4 cars back. What goes through your mind at that moment?
Ryan: You take it ‘corner-by-corner’. Trying to take advantage and deal with the fact that the leader can just pull away. I was side-by-side with the 33 car and when a few cars ‘got together’ (collided) I was in a good position and took advantage in the back straightaway. During the race when the two cars got together, where you surprised that the yellow caution flag did not come out? Ryan: I was concerned. But the two cars that got together; they keep moving onto the grass and emergency vehicles were not needed, the race officials will allow the race to continue and not display the cautionary flag if there is no perceived danger. You just never know, you cannot think about it and need to just keep going.

I have heard you say that you drive with gloves on and checking your blood sugar is not an option by finger pricking; you use the Dexcom; who is looking at it, you, a pit crew member?
Ryan: I have 5-6-7 gauges that I have to keep an eye on located on my dash, the Dexcom (receiver) is one of those gauges; it is not inconvenient at all to keep an eye on it while racing.

Was there anything that needed ‘tending to’ during the race from trending up and/or down?
Ryan: No it was pretty much business-as-usual. Between the heat in the car and the adrenalin pumping, I stay hydrated. I pretty much stay where my number is at levels I need them to be. I start at about 100-120 and usually end the race at around the 180-200 range.

You have been around the track since age 4; who inspired you?
Ryan: My dad, I was always pulling for him when he raced. There were a lot of guys that I learned from who broke into the race when they were young. I looked up to them to learn some things because I knew as a younger race I would need to know; a few guys really inspired me as I started to get into it.

Did you always have the ‘need’ to go faster?
Ryan: Anything that had a motor was always a lot of fun to me. Growing up it was, and still is, fun for me to do. I enjoyed motor cycle riding but, for me, it was always NASCAR. I did not want to compete with motorbikes; it has always been about being 100% on a NASCAR track as my goal.

You’re 21; is 21 considered young for racing?
Ryan: In the Xfinity Series, you can start at 18, and you will find 18-25 as an average but racers are in this series at 55. So the ages can, and do, vary.

There have been professional athletes, upon being diagnosed with T1, told they could not no longer compete; can you take us back to when you were told that; how you felt, and what you did when you decided that ‘diabetes just won’t do on my track?’
Ryan: It was a tough time in my life and that transition when I was told I could not race any more. The turning point came with my Doctor, Dr. Anne Peters. She had a very different outlook on it. She was just so confident and instilled the confidence in me that if I gave 100% we would make it happen. From that point forward I was never worried about getting in a race again, and just wondered how we would do it.

You are diagnosed. You deal with it. You now go back to your parents and you say you want to get back out on to the track; what was their reaction?
Ryan: They were super supportive. They knew the track is where I wanted to be and there were some who stood up and said ‘No’ you can’t do that, or we don’t want you to do that, that was a conversation we never needed to have. I would like to talk a little about your relationship with Lilly Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association.

When you look at your car, and you see those logos, they must represent more than a sponsorship. It makes a statement to the world. How does it feel knowing that you all work to make real differences in this world?
Ryan: Absolutely. I think we have one of the most-unique partnerships in motor sports or in any type of sports marketing in the country; or the world. The partnership among us, Lilly Diabetes, and The American Diabetes Association is just so organic, and pure. Three organizations working together for a common goal to raise awareness and send a positive message. I do not know how you can get more pure a message. The main reason is to spread a positive message about diabetes. Last weekend when I jumped out of my car, I did not have to talk or rattle about sponsorships but I could tell my story and how much this (the win) means for people with diabetes. I cannot thank Lilly Diabetes and the ADA enough for teaching me how important it is to tell my story and try to make a difference. It’s rare and really cool.

Tell me about the meetings that Lilly Diabetes and the ADA’s Drive to Stop Diabetes (click to learn more) set up for you where you meet kids around the appearances of your race schedule. Can you tell me what those meetings are like when you see all those young people?
Ryan: We sat down and figured out how we could design Drive to Stop Diabetes, you know away from the racetracks. Hospitals, diabetes camps and any place that is involving kids. It’s the coolest part. Not to just tell my story but hear about the kids doing sports all year round where diabetes doesn’t even phase them. For me that is what it is all about. It is what makes it all worthwhile. What do you say to kids who say, I don’t think I can reach my dreams? Ryan: It’s hard. If someone tells them they can’t…a coach or others; I went through all that and do all I can to get them to stay positive and use any example, either my story with racing, or other stories of people I know to go out there and do what they can.

The last thing I like to do; is mention a word or a phrase, and you tell me the first thing that comes into your mind?

Ryan: Intense

Ryan: draining, difficult

Ryan: Supportive

Nothing between you and the checkered flag.
Ryan: What we work for, that’s what it’s all about; winning races.

Ryan: Motivation

Other kids living with type 1
Ryan: Inspiration and connection.

Thank you for your time today.  I speak with kids all the time trying to find their way out there and you are an incredible and inspirational young man changing the lives of so many who live with type one diabetes, thank you for that and good luck in the future. Ryan: Thank you for saying that and thanks for the interview

Seems to me this young man was a winner long before he ever crossed first in front of a waving checkered flag.

I am a diabetes dad.

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


A Young Man Who LIVES: Diabetes Just Won’t Do in HIS Life

Ryan Reed JoslinHave you ever come across something that just says, “WOW!!!!! They got this right?”  As is so clearly known, I’m staff at the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation and I have to admit that I would be lying if I said I was not a tad envious of my friends over at the American Diabetes Association and their relationship with Lilly Diabetes on bringing NASCAR Driver Ryan Reed around the country…..and to that I must say, Bravo, Bravo, Bravo.

The absolute truth on the success of this program; American Diabetes Association, Drive to Stop Diabetes is not merely the concept of a NASCAR Driver with diabetes visiting kids around the country, but it is actually Mr. Reed himself.

This young man must have had an incredible upbringing because to balance confidence with humility is no easy feat and it is the first thing that strikes you about him when you meet him.  The feeling he has in his heart for kids with diabetes is evident as soon as he opens his mouth to speak.  Maybe because he understands what they feel when being diagnosed with T1 diabetes and told your dream is gone.
Ryan ReedHe told me that he has always loved the ‘need for speed’, as so many in his field.  It is important to make note of that fact because it is what he loves, and always has.  Speed.  More.    As Gary Hall was to swimming, Ryan Reed was to racing; both could not breathe unless they were doing what they loved.

And in 2011 Mr. Reed was told, as Mr. Hall was told many years before; that being diagnosed with T1 diabetes meant an end to their careers.  And both of these athletes made it clear, diabetes would just not do in their lives.  “No” was not an option.

Mr. Reed, at the ripe old age of 20, is one of the youngest members on the NASCAR Circuit—and he is doing it with type 1 diabetes.  His pursuit of fulfilling his dream has served as an inspiration to anyone who hears him; and I have quite a few times already.

And yet, it is not just what happens on the track that is impressive, look at the faces of the kids he is with in the picture above. His recent visit to the Joslin Diabetes Center was filled with kids who marveled at his diabetes on the racetrack and listened attentively to his day-to-day dealings with the same thing they must; T1 diabetes.

His message was clear, diabetes stopped him from nothing; and it should not stop their dreams either.

They say that the first rule in racing is that what’s behind you does not count.  And surely Mr. Reed is focused on his goals in front of him.  Gary Hall once told me that he won more medals in the Olympics after being diagnosed with diabetes than before.  I look forward to the day that Ryan Reed tells of all the things he has done when told that it never would be possible after his diagnosis…….and that list has already begun to lengthen.

Drive open in the corner my friend, until you see God,……….and then pass Him!!!!!  The checkered flag, to Ryan Reed, is not merely on the track…… is the goals he puts in the hearts of every child who hears his voice.   To reach those goals, one begins by starting the engine.  And when it comes to diabetes, ‘Drivers, start your engines’.

I am a diabetes dad.

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