This Year’s Lisa Award Recipient. Only One and the Only One Awarded Twice….Here’s Why.

For years, each June, I have given out my Lisa Awards.  Lisa passed away in 2009 at the age of 36 and she taught me, and this world, about the Power of one person.  Usually I acknowledge a few people who have taught this world the power of one in the diabetes world because that is the world I live.  Lisa’s battle was with cancer but her message was, and still is, about one person making a difference.  I promised her husband (my dear friend) that I would do this annually in honor of my friend.

This weekend being Father’s Day, and this column being ‘DiabetesDad’…….I’m hoping you will indulge me to a little selfishness this year.  This year my unknown world of cancer and the world I know of diabetes comes together as I give this year’s Lisa Award to just one person, and probably the only one who will ever receive it twice.

Paula Ford Martin.

Paula has cancer.  You can read about her fight at Living with Stage IV.  But as an author and television producer, Paula has also influenced the world of diabetes as few others.  The two worlds have now intersected.  Almost as if my world, and Lisa and Mark’s world, overlapped.

The first day I walked into my interview to be part of the dLife Family, a CNBC TV show all about diabetes, it was a day of filming. We were back stage when Paula and I first met and after our meeting I went home and started doing computer searches on all the people I had met that day.  Paula, it turns out, was a powerhouse writer with awards and a diabetes knowledge that was extremely impressive.  Most impressive.

I would come to work side-by-side with this woman for years.  I would come to learn so much being her partner at dLife.  I would also come to love her.  As dear a friend a person could ever know, despite being about as polar opposites as possible.  She is hard rock and a motor cycle, while I walk and listen to Barry Manilow; her eye rolling of my likes in music vs. hers was a very common occurrence.  “Really Tom, that’s music to you?”  Opposite.

She did have a wonderful match when she met Tim, an absolute soul mate.  She and Tim would marry and her life, along with her children (who she fiercely loves) became absolutely complete.  Shortly thereafter, fate stepped in; her journey began and Tim has been there every step.

There are four people responsible for me being called ‘a’ (not to be confused with ‘the’, there are millions of us) DiabetesDad and on the platforms I’ve been blessed to be part; Jeff Hitchcock, Kerri Sparling, Monica Dennis, and Paula Ford-Martin.  All have played a role in this process and it’s too long-a-story to explain today…..but here I am, warts and all, due to their urging, education, guidance and on many occasions-patience. (Turns out that not everyone should write as they speak; who knew)

Paula has the most artistically editorial refined code of ethics of anyone I’ve ever met.  Her going face-to-face with anyone who wanted otherwise is known to those who worked with her.  In the worst situations, find humor.  In the coldest story, find warmth.  In the toughest and most stressful of situations, find humor.  We did that more than I can count.

We were both Executive Producers on a show that would open the gates to learning and understanding this diabetes world and it’s Paula who walked with me step-by-step.
“This is good.”
“This is not.”
“Do this, try this, ask this, follow-up with, do not back down, let’s try this, yes you can, what if we try, can you believe……..and in her recent writings she has changed the world as she shares her battles Living with Stage IV.  Her successes, her fears, her bucket list, her wants, her hopes…..all with humor and compassion continuing her teaching and inspiring to all of us.  She’s most deserving as my sole Lisa Award Recipient this year.  She’s a human force in the Power of One.

Her writings have changed the world touching the lives who are inspired by her strength and willingness to fight, even when no strength seems to be available.  So this year, my Lisa Award goes to Paula Ford Martin, again.  In her most recent writing on her blog, Paula writes;
:……but Tim told me a few days later that Dr. Chiang felt 6 months to a year was a reasonable expectation for me to still be on this earth. Of course, that doesn’t fit into my plans. I want at least a year to see my “babies” cross those stages and get their hard-earned diplomas. I know that the doctor doesn’t have a crystal ball and is just making an educated guess, but it did rock my world a bit to hear that answer. It’s also, strangely, given me a renewed sense of purpose. My goals haven’t changed, so I’ll just have to do what I can to make sure the medical timeline aligns with the goals.

There is no actual Lisa Award.  It’s just space of acknowledgement here in my column.  I’m going to change that and create an actual award and only give it when someone earns the Lisa Award Recognition twice.  Paula, my sweet and powerhouse friend, I will present yours at the reception after ‘your babies’ receive their diplomas.  Meet me there…….okay!

I love you friend.  Keep fighting.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Why Are These People So Special? This Year’s Lisa Award Winners……Share.

Lauren LanningMannyRoy-RipakRichard.Meri 2Click here and read why these people ARE SO SPECIAL.  Also leave a  congratulations message by hitting reply–let them know what they mean to you!
Also share with others—-these are remarkable people who all make a difference.  The power of one.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

A TV Icon, in Her Darkest Time…..Teaches Us All Lesson

Valerie Harper MagI was, and still am a huge fan of the Mary Tyler Moore Show.  I honestly believe that I saw every episode at least 3 times among the original air dates (1970-1977), reruns, and you tube.

Probably more than any other celebrity, Ms. Moore has made no secret of her T1 Diabetes and her devotion to her diabetes charity, JDRF.  She is a hero in every sense and shape of the word.

Being such a fan of the show, it was a huge thrill the times I met with her and worked with her while at the JDF.  Ms. Moore is (and I admit the point could be discussed)  probably in the top 3 or 5 television icons of all time.  So to have met her was as if the show I adored watching; now had an instant, real, live, connection.

One of my favorite characters in the show was always Rhoda Morgenstern.  Her mix of savvy, shoot-from-the-hip-attitude, New York personality, and fabulous great looks made her an instant favorite for me.

I was at the supermarket yesterday and stopped in my tracks when I saw People Magazine’s front cover.

My heart sank.  “What??!!”

I’ve read the article three times and as much as it broke my heart, Ms.Harper has many things to teach us.  I suggest everyone get a copy of  People Magazine and read this article because no matter what Valerie Harper is facing, she, just as our beloved Rhoda, calls it like it is; and also has a few things to say before her life ends.  Even though her disease has NOTHING to do with diabetes; her advice was very real for me as a father who lives in this diabetes world. 

–Don’t let your fear today rob you of a fun life.
–If you’re not here now, where the hell are you?
–My mom always used to say, “If you can learn from it, than do.  If not, forget about it.  That was yesterday.”
–Life is amazing.  Live it to the fullest.  Stay as long as you can.

WOW!  No words could be truer spoken. My thanks to Ms. Harper, her family, and Johnny Dodd of People Magazine for sharing this story. 

Whether diabetes is in your world or not; this is an article that will touch your very soul.  But to the diabetes community, I share the points from TV’s ‘every woman’ as they should be very valuable to all of us.

Valerie Harper states of her relationship with our diabetes hero, Ms. Moore; “I was so comfortable with Mary”; as we are with you Ms. Harper, even in your darkest time—-you found the time to make us comfortable.  May you have peace during this time and thank  you for the reminder what truly is important.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

She Very Well May Save Your Life…..Read…..and more important…..SHARE!

Meri 2She didn’t have to write this.

She did not have to be so honest and truthful.

What she went through, is none of our business.

What she goes through she shares.

To feel sorry for her?  Not in her make-up. AT ALL.

To feel her pain?  Nope.

To display her hardship?  Haven’t seen that yet.

She writes to teach.  She writes to make us feel again.  She writes to make us appreciate the things in life we would normally let by us.

Today she writes…………to save your life.

Read this and learn; one life was too many.  It was half of hers as they were one like no other I have ever learned about.

I have nothing more to say but thank you Meri,  thank you.

YOU!!!!!!!….read this: It may save your life 

I am a diabetes dad.

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

Sunday dHero….Cancer Just Won’t Do!!!

His Godfather passed away last December after a lengthy battle with cancer.  Since the day he was diagnosed in 2009 with diabetes, he was witnessing the battles his Godfather faced everyday, different than his, a battle that would only prolong the inevitable.

After he was diagnosed, at the age of 13, he had to battle within himself coming to grips with what he needed to face as an adolescent dealing with diabetes.  And he did just that.  He continued to learn and teach what it was like to live a better life with diabetes.

And yet, it was his Godfather’s battles that impacted him more.  He came to be able to handle the diabetes, but ‘this cancer’ just was unacceptable and would not do.

He entered the work force at the age of 16 at a local fast food restaurant.  He noticed, through a friend of his, that a young lady who battled cancer at his school began a club to bring awareness to cancer.  He approached the group and became the liaison with his place of business and helped organize an entire event to raise money for the club and help in the awareness objectives they wanted… fight cancer.

He did not have to do that, he knows what is like to have diabetes.  He has enough on his plate.  But when one of our kids with diabetes does something to help others it makes us take notice, it makes us proud that they are willing to help others even if  it is not about diabetes.  They help because the need is there. 

This young man is diabetesdad’s Sunday dHero for his efforts in helping because he saw the need of others and stepped up to the plate.  He is also my son, Rob.  Rob is a low-key behind the scenes type of guy.  I not only love him dearly, he makes us proud every day.

Take a bow Rob, you are diabetesdad’s Sunday dHero.

I am a diabetesdad.

P.S.  If you know of someone worth recognizing as a Sunday dHero–kindly send me their information to

A mad as hell tragedy…we can all help. Read, do, & share.

It’s not enough. You have to get mad; so mad that you do something.

Dammit I’m angry as hell. You get mad too. Please read.

Meri and Ryan Schuhmacher with their 4 young boys (teens and below in age) were just like any other couple; you, me, or even your friends and/or relatives, they’re a family. Meri is the type of woman who somehow always finds a blessed light in the darkness of things that happen in this world. She is a fabulous writer and her “” is about as refreshing and real as it gets.

Did I forget to tell you that 3 of her 4 boys also live with T1 diabetes every day? Figure it this way 24/7/365X3.

Six months ago she revealed to the world that her husband would be battling a rare form of brain cancer and to say the fight was valiant would be an understatement. With 3 kids living with type 1 diabetes, fighting valiantly is a way of life for the Schuhmacher Family.

I saw them in July and you could tell it was a struggle but Ryan had a smile to give and his family around him at the Children with Diabetes conference in Orlando Florida.

Ryan lost his battle over the weekend. Just like that, six months apart, total upheaval of a family. That should make me angry at life. That should make you angry too. Meri wouldn’t want that and truly, it’s not in my make up; but make no mistake—I’m real angry. I’m asking you to get angry too.

Diabetes, Cancer, MS, Alzheimer’s, Autism, and so many more diseases that strike a chord with one of us, or all of us, are always asking for money. Camps, hospices, hospitals, and educational institutions are all also constantly asking for money. And it is understandable, times are tough. Money is needed for extremely important issues.

Recently a woman was bullied on a bus and the world thought it was horrendous and raised $702,384 for this woman. That was fabulous.

This is horrendous also.
Think about this: a woman with 4 young boys and 3 of them with type one diabetes, and not only is the love of her life gone, but so is the family’s source of income. Meri must now ‘go it alone’. Medical bills from Ryan’s cancer battles, three boys with diabetes, daily living with a house and all that goes into running it and the food bills for 4 growing boys; plus so much more—-you get the picture.

A site that was started to help with Ryan’s medical bills is now the financial lifeboat for the Schuhmacher Family’s enormous expenses. Life has completely bullied Meri and I’m asking you to be angry right along with so many others and angry enough to care. Meri will move forward in life because….well….that is Meri. She is a proud woman and a great mother. We can impact the future of this family. Let’s do it……together.

By clicking the above link is a way every single cent will make a difference to a family in need, both now and for years to come. If you have $5, it will make a difference. If you can give more, please do so. Give because you are doing okay, give because your kids are okay, give because you want to see your money actually help a family and make a difference, give because that is what we all do when someone needs our help; this help is needed more than you will ever know. Please, give.

PLEASE–give today and share this blog somewhere else. We’re all God’s creatures, even when we’re mad as hell. Thank you. I’m a Diabetes Dad.