Even in Death, One Finale Gift of Love

My sister passed away this week, she was seventy-one (the picture above is how I will always remember her). She was the oldest of six kids and I, the youngest, but only seven-and-a-half years separated us. When a baby, she would feed me and marveled as I skillfully added bread, spaghetti, and meatballs into my milk only to drink it (sorry, yeech). She was my Santa Clause and I, her Little Elf (later she would call me L.E. as not to embarrass me). Now at age 63 it made my day when we would speak on the phone and before hanging up I would say, “I love you”, to which she would reply “I love you more L.E”, every time. Under most definitions, we are all a close-knit family. JoAnne was a mom to six kids of her own and grandmother to thirteen. My sister was not perfect and for the rest of this story, kindly recognize this fact we all know to be true. Let me also say that I cannot begin to thank the so many people who reached out to our entire family since we shared this news, it is so greatly appreciated.

My sister, passed away suddenly.

Why this is an odd statement to say is because for at least the last third of her life, my sister was paralyzed completely below her neck, a victim of multiple sclerosis, commonly called MS. She had many ups and downs, but always came through. Even when admitted to the hospital, coming back out was usually not that far away. This most recent stay in the hospital would be different and a decline started, would quickly get worse. As she was being prepared for some scans, she passed away as they got the equipment ready. My niece, Meaghan her daughter, was with her and in this world of COVID, not dying alone is a welcomed gift. The final end would be listed as cardiac-arrest, in essence, JoAnne’s earthly body had just had enough.

In the story from the bible of Job (pronounced Joe-b), Job is tested beyond human comprehension; death of loved ones, pain inflicted, disease inflicted, problems, trouble, and more. And yet, Job remains faithful to God and never once complained. If ever there was a modern day story of Job, my sister would be cast in the lead.

MS comes in so many degrees of severity and as JoAnne stated to me once more factually than complaining, “THIS is the lottery I win”; to be given the worst form of MS. You see my sister never, not once, ever complained of her situation. Many, many people she dealt with, turned their backs on her, both personally and professionally and they will now live with that burden. Because she proved naysayers wrong, time and time again.

Living by herself, service providers who said she could never live outside a facility alone were proved wrong as she was granted her independence and lived in her apartment, with her trusted service cat, Selene. A black cat with such a heart and positive force that one would swear she alone would break the stigma of black cats every. Caretakers would come and go but never once would JoAnne grant the permission to give up her independence. Her son, a wiz on anything that runs through the walls of a building, created practically everything to be voice activated because JoAnne’s mind and voice, despite a completely compromised body, remained sharp as a tack.

Traveling by plane, attending family events, attending milestones in both her own children’s lives and her nieces’ and nephews’ lives, seeing her beloved Barry Manilow in concert, meeting her idol “C.C.” Sabathia on the field of Yankees Stadium; JoAnne was going to let MS stop her from nothing……that attitude would guide her life. When my mom and dad passed it was not even a thought that she wouldn’t, or couldn’t attend their funerals. As the services ended at the cemetery, the order to wheel her closer was given, and she would pay her respects and thank them for all they meant to her. “God gave me the strength and mom and dad showed me how to use it”.

Many medical professionals would offer a course of action, and if she disagreed, she would fight them until one was convinced on the correct course to undertake, many times, hers. “I know this disease and I know my body”. Many family members would advocate on her behalf, and most times, it was the right path to take. I have many stories how people tried to take advantage of her, her position in life, her needs, her position, and those stories would be accompanied on how they were dismissed, each and every time. But on those whose actions could have, and might have, devastated those not as strong; JoAnne refused to say one thing negative. Not most times. Every time. She would defer the comment and say something positive about the person without fail. She would also remind all how God knew what he was doing, and so many had it worse than she. Being negative was not allowed and ‘no’ was nothing more than a word.

Her children wrote such beautiful stories as they remembered their mom this week. Each one emphasizing just how strong she was and how, each one, had a specific trait/attribute in their life they now hold due to their mom, well, being their mom.

She always and in all ways took a huge interest in her Goddaughter’s type 1 diabetes. When we spoke she wanted to know the latest and greatest in research for my two kids as well as trying always to hear about the advancement of science discoveries. Her MS and T1D being autoimmune diseases, she would share that helping medical research in one disease would surely help the other. “Autoimmune is autoimmune. Although different in their autoimmune properties, there are parallels, and there is cross over”. And of course, she was 100% correct.

Recently, she would be taken to SUNY Stony Brook Hospital one last time. And as I spoke to her daughter this week she informed me that mom was not leaving Stony Brook as she had donated her body to the worldwide education facility known for research with instructions to study her, study her MS, learn from what she lived with, lived with indeed, and use it to help others with MS and beyond.

So my sister’s last act on this earth was a gift so huge, herself. Organ donations are so needed and to actually say ‘here, take me, and use me’ is one huge final gift of love. Not surprising coming from one who lived her life the same way………a gift of love. Thank you Santa Clause, I will love you more forever. Love your L.E.
I am a DiabetesDad



More than Words, Thom would want Action

As we end this 2021 and begin 2022 I sit staring at the sky with amazing clouds cutting through like huge cotton balls on a jet-blue background.  I’m trying to find the right words.  My normal final two columns each year are usually a take on ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and a Goodbye column to the end of the year welcoming the next, all with a diabetes ‘flavoring’; but to be quite honest it’s just not there.  My heart aches, my heart pains.  Earlier this month we in the diabetes community suffered a major gut-punch and I just feel the need to address it.

Like everyone who knows Thom Scher (the CEO to Beyond Type 1, for those who do not) I was beyond devastated at hearing about his death while he was in New York City on business.  He was too young.  He was too bright.  He was too good. He was everything one would say that now results in the complete loss that he is gone.  Many, many, deserving accolades have been stated, written, and spoken by so many.

 But Thom deserved more from us.  Thom would expect more from us.

In his very short time, not only on this earth but as part of our diabetes community if Thom taught us anything, he taught us that; YES! There is a way to do that, makes anything possible. When I read that Beyond Type 1 and the JDRF had come to an agreement to form an alliance it was a trumpet call to the world……..find the ways to work together, not the way to say no.  Then, again, with ADA.  And many others as well. That is how Thom worked.

Thom was not just a believer of the whole entity being larger/better than the sum of the parts, he believed that ALL the parts make up the whole.  When you see that organizations such as Tu Diabetes, Diabetes Scholars, Jesse was Here, JDRF Alliance, ADA X BT1 Partnership; and programs such as expanded sites into different countries/languages, advocacy initiatives, type 2 community, and more, all now fall under BT1’s banner, it truly is a testament to how Thom worked.  The way Thom and I really came to know each other was with the programs on the missed diagnosis of T1D.  Since before Reegan’s Rule and other initiatives, we worked closely to see the stage set for BT1’s efforts.  In one of our conversations Thom looked me square in the eye and he said, THIS will be in all 50 states, I promise you that. And it very well will happen.

A while ago when we met at a conference, someone came over to us and I introduced Thom and he immediately honed-in to find out who this person was, and what he could learn.  When asked the question he was asked many times, did he have anyone in his family, he began to answer and I cut him off, “You no longer can say you have no one in your family, in fact you have one of the largest families I know.”  He assured me that moving forward his answer would be amended.  My family, your family, the BT1 employees’ families, his friends and their families, the Diabetes Community, Thom most assuredly now had much family who lived with diabetes.

But now Thom has left this world.  His visions need to carry on, must carry on.  And THAT my dear friends, is on us.  In his short time did we learn that working together on……….well……anything is possible if we only have the desire to do so?  Did we learn that, yes, we all have objectives but the Venn diagrams of all our existences have enough overlap of commonality to build GREAT things.  Did we learn that, I surely hope so?  But what will we do about it?

How my heart goes out to Thom’s Family and all who knew him and loved him.  My heart so aches since the day I received the call.  As we go into 2022, my pain must be turned into action.  There is no way on this living earth that Thom Scher would want anyone to be looking/walking around in circles asking what is next?  He would challenge us to get off our butts and get moving in the right direction forward.  I pledge that to you Thom, I owe you that.  And so, don’t we all?

Thoughts?

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.  Tagged diabetes dadThom Sc.her, diabetes inspirationjust don’t do nothing

D-Month…..over?….what?…..when?

November is over. Did you miss it? Did you do something for diabetes awareness month? Did you need a reminder that diabetes is in your household?

I get it. So many believe in the ability to celebrate a good life despite/in spite of living with diabetes. A time to let the world know, and help diabetes awareness, for an entire month. What a concept.

Not to me. November is the same as its 11 colleagues that make up a year. I celebrate, educate, advocate, and hopefully inspire (a little) 365 days a year. Telling someone who lives with diabetes that there is a month totally dedicate to diabetes awareness, the answer you will most likely hear is, “Thanks but no thanks—-I live with it 365 days a year.”

It’s nice that some roll out diabetes awareness month as is done with holiday decorations and celebrations. But in truth, we choose to celebrate our kids every day, a special month is not needed. What our kids do all year round is worthy to celebrate all year round.

It’s nice that some roll out the advocacy for diabetes causes during the month of November. But in truth, we choose to fight for the rights of those living with this disease every day we can. Insulin costs, rights, and the ability to have what everyone else has gets a full court press all year.

As I stated it earlier…..I get it……I really do. Blue, new, you, and what’s due are the voices loud and clear. Let’s just push as hard all year long. No matter how small or how large, “just don’t do nothin”—-but do it all year long.

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.  Tagged diabetes daddiabetes inspirationjust don’t do nothing



Two Moms Change Our Diabetes World

It amazes me sometimes when media skips something so crucial to our diabetes world. Nothing would make me happier than when this story is read, media sources who are so much more significant that my little column here reach out to these two women for the simple reason; their story needs to be read, seen, heard, and witnessed. People need to know that when they make the decision to “just not do nothing“; they can, and do, make a difference.

Many entities and people helped get this to California Governor’s desk (Diabetes Advocate Brett Michaels being just one), but before Senate Bill 97 became part of the highest level of funding bill in California history as part of a whopping 123.9 billion dollars for grades K-12, it started as just an idea. Moms Debbie George and Michelle Thornburg knew that the world could do better at recognizing the early onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D). They knew that it was needed to have the complicated conversations with doctors, nurses, teachers, and school staff on what type 1 diabetes entails, and provide a better understanding of the disease to help ensure the safety of their children, Sierra and Dylan. In doing so, they changed the parameters of diabetes education for all children in the state of California forever…….and it is up to the rest of the world to continue the battle……..but now, there is a treasure map to the promised land of riches; breaking down the misunderstood world we all know with our children living with T1D. Two moms said, “ENOUGH, WE CAN AND WILL DO MORE!”

Years ago when Little Reegan passed away from undiagnosed diabetes, her mom and legislatures in North Carolina passed an unprecedented bill regarding diabetes education. Both moms were in touch with those responsible back then in 2015 and made it their mission to take the same framework of the Reegan’s Rule law in North Carolina, build upon it, and move it through the governing halls of California’s State Capitol. A massive undertaking over five years in the making. When one starts this process, they start out as an advocate. The process is full of twists, turns, setbacks, successes, loneliness, promises of being helped also being broken; all out weighed by one concept, to get the job done. Upon finishing the job, these same advocates are then classified as experts because basically, they did the impossible. They took an idea, a much needed concept, and they made it law. Period.

The law states (click here to read the entire diabetes portion of the bill): The department, in coordination with any other entity the department deems appropriate, shall develop type 1 diabetes informational materials for the parents and guardians of pupils. The informational materials shall be made available to each school district, county office of education, and charter school through the department’s internet website.

THIS IS NOW A LAW IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

For all time, every state now has a road map to do the same. What began with Little Reegan, then moved to Pennsylvania with the efforts of another mom, Debbie Healey, has now graduated to the big time with a law specifically designed for money to be allotted to those undertaking type 1 diabetes education.

My face is streaked with tears as I write this because the deaths of so many paved the roadway for this much needed legislation. Debbie and Michelle have initiated something that is next to impossible to accomplish, and in doing so even created a nonprofit to continue the work they started (EaseT1D.org). More can do the same. Bravo ladies and a huge and deep bow of gratitude from all of us wanting a better world. Somewhere out there Little Reegan is looking down and smiling knowing that she continues working through others to change the world.

God works in that way.

What will you do about it?

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

It amazes me sometimes when media skips something so crucial to our diabetes world. Nothing would make me happier than when this story is read, media sources who are so much more significant that my little column here reach out to these two women for the simple reason; their story needs to be read, seen, heard, and witnessed. People need to know that when they make the decision to “just not do nothing“; they can, and do, make a difference.

Many entities and people helped get this to California Governor’s desk (Diabetes Advocate Brett Michaels being just one), but before Senate Bill 97 became part of the highest level of funding bill in California history as part of a whopping 123.9 billion dollars for grades K-12, it started as just an idea. Moms Debbie George and Michelle Thornburg knew that the world could do better at recognizing the early onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D). They knew that it was needed to have the complicated conversations with doctors, nurses, teachers, and school staff on what type 1 diabetes entails, and provide a better understanding of the disease to help ensure the safety of their children, Sierra and Dylan. In doing so, they changed the parameters of diabetes education for all children in the state of California forever…….and it is up to the rest of the world to continue the battle……..but now, there is a treasure map to the promised land of riches; breaking down the misunderstood world we all know with our children living with T1D. Two moms said, “ENOUGH, WE CAN AND WILL DO MORE!”

Years ago when Little Reegan passed away from undiagnosed diabetes, her mom and legislatures in North Carolina passed an unprecedented bill regarding diabetes education. Both moms were in touch with those responsible back then in 2015 and made it their mission to take the same framework of the Reegan’s Rule law in North Carolina, build upon it, and move it through the governing halls of California’s State Capitol. A massive undertaking over five years in the making. When one starts this process, they start out as an advocate. The process is full of twists, turns, setbacks, successes, loneliness, promises of being helped also being broken; all out weighed by one concept, to get the job done. Upon finishing the job, these same advocates are then classified as experts because basically, they did the impossible. They took an idea, a much needed concept, and they made it law. Period.

The law states (click here to read the entire diabetes portion of the bill): The department, in coordination with any other entity the department deems appropriate, shall develop type 1 diabetes informational materials for the parents and guardians of pupils. The informational materials shall be made available to each school district, county office of education, and charter school through the department’s internet website.

THIS IS NOW A LAW IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

For all time, every state now has a road map to do the same. What began with Little Reegan, then moved to Pennsylvania with the efforts of another mom, Debbie Healey, has now graduated to the big time with a law specifically designed for money to be allotted to those undertaking type 1 diabetes education.

My face is streaked with tears as I write this because the deaths of so many paved the roadway for this much needed legislation. Debbie and Michelle have initiated something that is next to impossible to accomplish, and in doing so even created a nonprofit to continue the work they started (EaseT1D.org). More can do the same. Bravo ladies and a huge and deep bow of gratitude from all of us wanting a better world. Somewhere out there Little Reegan is looking down and smiling knowing that she continues working through others to change the world.

God works in that way.

What will you do about it?

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

It’s not Up To Anyone Else……It’s Up to Us!


The diabetes online community lit up a Christmas Tree this week when Lila Moss walked the Versace Fashion Show Runway sporting her insulin pump attached to her left leg. The comments came fast and furious. We need to get her involved, how can we reach her?, she could be the next spokesperson for diabetes causes.

I don’t think so.

Even if she and her family take T1D on as a cause, it would be nice but I would not expect the ‘dial to change’ all that much. How do I know? Well for one thing people like Mary Tyler Moore, Bret Michaels, Nick Jonas, Damon Dash, Jim Turner, Jay Cutler, Kendall Simmons, Gary Hall Jr, Nicole Johnson, Sam Fuld, Jean Smart, and a long list of others with T1D have lived with this disease and many have been huge spokespeople for the diabetes world……….but here we are.

Other comments calling her brave, a trailblazer, and an example for others, also were thrown about., which she most certainly is but I do think for Ms. Moss, she would just be happy to do the work she was asked to do on the runway without diabetes getting in the way. Like all of our kids do everyday.

Diabetes has had celebrities and also major roles, both good and bad, on TV shows and in movies……..but here we are.

Actors, sports heroes and even a sitting Supreme Court Justice have T1D……..but here we are.

The world is not going to all of a sudden wake up and take notice that the those with T1D are out there in all lines of work and doing it while managing their diabetes because someone is in the media. All those mentioned above have lent their names to diabetes causes…….but here we are.

The way the world is going to take notice is if we continually become involved in everyday life EVEN WHILE managing T1D. All walks of life. All aspects of living. And telling our stories as much as we can. We all need to take part. We all need to live by just not doing nothing. Get involved with charity work, advocacy, funding research…..there is a diabetes cause for anyone willing to do the work. All of us doing SOME thing to spread the word, raise more money, or advocate to get laws changed (we can start with the cost of insulin).

Then, maybe then, people will begin to say, “Hey those people living with diabetes are really trying to make a difference, not only for themselves but for the world around them.” To Ms. Moss I say if you’re looking to really make a difference, have your people reach out, we’ll put you to work. And actually, if YOU’RE looking to really make a difference……email me at tkarlya@DRIF.org——there is much work to do, I’ll put you to work as well. It’s not up to anyone else…..it’s up to us. Together we’re in it and only together can we change it. Just Don’t Do Nothing.

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

Tagged DaddDad. dMom, DiabeteResearch.org

An Opportunity, Not an Obstacle

When I first decided to interview Morgan Panzirer, it was about half way through reading her book Actually, I Can (T1D Media, available on Amazon). The title of this article,
An Opportunity, Not an Obstacle, is a rule Morgan Panzirer lives by. I truly wanted to find out if the author of the book I was reading, was as captivating in real life, and as grounded, as she appears in her book. Turns out the book, as good as it is, doesn’t do justice speaking to the author in person. I know this, I have not met many twenty-somethings in my life like Morgan Panzirer.

Almost anyone in the diabetes community knows the name David Panzirer (if you don’t, you should) as he is a grandson of Leona Helmsley and was appointed as a Trustee upon her passing in 2007. The amount of money the Helmsley trust has given to diabetes organizations, research, and causes, is incredibly astronomical. I share this because it’s important you know this in the context of my interview, below, with Morgan. When I picked up the book I knew it was by the daughter of, argumentatively, one of the most influential individual funders to diabetes causes in the last fifty years.

My interview was just she and I.

What I got was a young woman; an extremely kind, articulate, sharp, young woman living with diabetes sharing what that is like; and she is a woman who is on a mission. What I got was a man who, through the eyes of his daughter, is a dad. What I got is a family who undergoes all of the life any family with two kids living with diabetes, must face every day.

We need influential people to help continue funding our diabetes causes but we also need to always remember that at the end of the day, we are all just families living with a disease and being part of a club no one wants to be part of. The difference is in those families who choose to make a difference, and as far as the Panzirer Family is concerned;
Actually, they Do!

DD (Diabetesdad): Thank you for taking the time to talk.  When young people do something in spite and despite diabetes, and do it as well as you did with the book, it was very moving for me.  My own kids have done much, and I love seeing when young people do something to help others.  I loved, loved, love your book.

MP (Morgan Panzirer):  Thank you very much. 

DD: When were you diagnosed?

MP: I was diagnosed March 22nd, 2007 at the age of 6 and am now 20.

DD: When did you start the idea of writing a book.

MP: It actually did not start out as a book.  I always wrote and wrote about things important to me.  When I was diagnosed I wrote about living with T1D.  How I felt, what frustrated me.  I would write when I had a good day, a bad day, just life.  I wrote through middle school and was unsure where the writings would go, and in 10th grade I just shut it down, unsure what I would do with these writings……they sat on my computer.  My senior year in high school, I came across it again and I gave it to my teacher and asked her if she thought anything was there?  She read it.  She loved it. From there we worked together, edited it more, continued and finished it, and the rest is history.  We bought it to a publisher and after about 9 months, the book was ready to go.  In total it was about a year and half from when I started.

DD: Now that you look back on it, so much has changed in our world from COVID to so much more.  Would you change or add anything?

MP: Great question.  So much happened as I transitioned to college.  Being on my own for the first time, there were certainly challenges with that and moving forward for my first two years in college.  I would write about my experiences coming here, to Villanova, and the adjustment…….and it was an adjustment.

DD: …..and your dream?

MP: To become an endocrinologist.

DD: Let’s go back to the moment you were diagnose and you realized life would change as it has for so many. In as bad as that must have been, and as you look back and recognize that change, was there anything else in your life that you can remember, that also changed your life……not being about diabetes.

MP: Another really good question.  There certainly have been times when I absolutely realized that life could, and was about to, just change on a dime.  My Great Uncle, who was like a father-figure to my dad, was fine one day, had some trouble with his vision, had an MRI, and 9 months later he was gone from brain cancer.  Life is just so fragile. We just cannot take any day for granted because we just don’t know.

DD: So, as you went through this particular tragedy, this horrendous tragedy, did you find yourself saying; “Wow, I got this (dealing with diabetes)” comparing the tragedy you were dealing with?

MP: Totally, 100 percent.  It’s funny you said that because for years my siblings and I would shop for Christmas presents for kids in children’s hospital.  And we would go and deliver these gifts.  One year, about two years after I was diagnosed, I remember walking around the hospital delivering gifts and I turned to my parents and said, “My diabetes is nothing compared to this.”
Now to be clear, I’m not minimizing what it’s like to live with diabetes, and I know how serious it is, but just walking through the children’s ward it was just eye opening on how much so many have to deal with as well.  I can handle what I have.

DD: Let’s touch on that for a minute.  It’s like a two-edged sword as you, my kids, and others don’t look like those in a St. Jude’s commercial.  Encouraging our kids to live life to the fullest, a commercial is not going to move people like a puppy in a cage to help.  What would you do, given the chance, to tell the story about what it’s like to live with this disease?  To get others to help….with funding a cure, education, whatever the cause, but to somehow help the diabetes community?  How would you walk that line and get that message of getting those to help, and at the same time show the world that people with T1D can do great things…….like even becoming a pediatric endocrinologist?  How do we move people?

MP: I think the only true way, is to somehow show a ‘day in the life of….’.  One truly does not understand unless they live with it, or it is in their household and they see it first-hand.  The balance of living life while tending to blood sugars and everything diabetes is an ongoing and never-ending situation.  That the management and living with it impacts every other single thing done throughout the day needs to be shown. I think how to do that in a minute or so public service announcement would be a real challenge.

DD:  Your sister, Caroline, who is three years younger than you, was also diagnosed about three years ago.  Share about that day.

MP: She was enrolled in a clinical trial and she was showing all of the auto-antibodies so we kind of knew it might be coming.  But we surely did not know when.  After watching me my entire life, being told that it was probably going to happen at some point, I believe, is tougher that when it’s a complete surprise.  When she was diagnosed, my chief concern, and goal, was what could I do to help during this transition.  I know how challenging it is, I wanted to help her understand.  Thinking of ways, I could be there and support her during that time.

DD: Did you feel almost an obligation to nurture her and help her along?

MP: Yes, completely.  She is a very, very, good lacrosse player.  To help her manage her diabetes so she could continue that became very important to me.  To give her suggestion on balancing those blood sugars, as much as she would allow me.

DD: My daughter, and her younger brother, both have diabetes and Kaitlyn speaks to her brother in ways I could never do.  Do you find that you can say things to Caroline about diabetes that your mom and dad couldn’t?

(Morgan laughs)

MP: Absolutely. 

DD: One of the many stories I found interesting was when your mom went for a run, ran into Martha Stewart, came back home, and shortly thereafter, you’re on the way to the studio to be on the show.  Can you share that story?

MP: My mom is a big runner and she runs with her friend.  I was pretty young but I remember that Martha Steward lived pretty close to us, and they were running on a dirt road, and Martha was on one of her horses, and they all began a conversation. Somehow, which is not so uncommon, my mom talked about me dealing with diabetes and Martha was pretty taken about our journey and said we should be on the show.  My mom came home and said, “Hey, guess who I ran into today?”
One thing led to another and my mom said one day, “You’ll be missing school today we are going to be on a television show.”  We went into the studio and of course one of my most vivid memories was my mom sobbing on camera.  I was probably 7 or 8.  But we did the show, a chance to teach others.

DD:  I deal, meet, and know many, many people in the diabetes community and you have a gift many people would like to have.  Your positive attitude is so evident in your life.  Why is that?

MP: I think, in part, it is the timing of my diagnosis.  Kids are resilient.  I was extremely frustrated, at a young age, when I was diagnosed.  But it was here.  I had choices to make on how it would impact me and my life.  I remember actually thinking, “Well, I’m not going to get out of this, so I might as well make the best of it.”  I’m not so sure I would have the same attitude if I was diagnosed in my teen-age years.  I knew there was no choice and my nature growing up was not a pity party and walking around with my head down.  I have things I want to do.  I want to get to the things that I want to do.  My attitude of I’m just going to deal with what comes my way, really got me through.

DD:  I have to ask you.  It’s just so very clear that your family has been extremely fortunate and have provided incredible opportunity for you.  Your mom and dad have worked hard and I have to share, nowhere does it come across the life style you have had.  You make it clear that you understand the life you‘ve been given.  And, yet, nowhere in the book, with the exception of sharing a few meetings with some known people (The Pope, Presidents, Celebrities) did I feel for one second that ‘privileged attitude’ and quite honestly, the ability you have to stay grounded in the world around you is almost envious, why is that do you think?

MP: A really good question again.  An honest ask. Yes, I do know but I have never thought I was, or wanted to be, better than anyone else.  I think everyone around you, has a story to tell.  I love meeting new people.  I’m well aware that what you first see in someone is not always what you get.  People could be going through horrible times behind closed doors and we would have no idea.  I’m open to new people and chatting a conversation is something I enjoy doing, with anyone.

DD: You stated already that your mom and dad made sure that giving back was part of the family dynamic.

MP: From the time I was a child.

DD: I like to close my interviews with a little thing I created.  I will say a word or a phrase, tell me the first things that pops into your head, either a single word or a short phrase.  Ready?

MP: Yes.  I think it’s a bit scary…….
(Both of us laugh)

DD: Speaking in Public?

MP: Nerve racking.

DD: Diabetes?

MP: Frustrating.

DD: Pope Francis (whom she met)?

MP: Incredible.

DD: Gideon (her horse)?

MP: Love. (Laughs)

DD: Dealing with a blood sugar reaction during an activity?

MP: One of the most frustrating things ever.

DD: Karen Zlotnick (Morgan’s high school English Teacher)?

MP: An influential part in getting the book out.

DD: Cure?

MP: Hopefully in my life time.

DD: Management tools?

MP: They have come so far in just the 14 years since I was diagnosed.

DD: Mom and Dad?

MP: The most supportive parents I could ever ask for.

DD: Caroline and Luke?

MP: Always keep me grounded and we have a lot of fun together.

DD: I am hoping that my tomorrow will be………what?

MP: (thinks for a moment) Will be filled with whatever I want it to be.

DD: Thank you very much for your time.  I have stated before that your family is so special to me in how you all have impacted the diabetes world around us.  From your dad’s no-nonsense approach to moving the needle, to all of you; and the way you support each other.  The way that you, your mom, and how you all are not afraid to share your story so others may learn is inspiring. I thank you for your time.

MP:  Thank you, I truly enjoyed this.

Morgan meeting the Pope

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