….and the answer is, anyone who has ever enrolled in a diabetes research project.
Years ago, I was talking to a friend, his name is Kenny Bernstein. He had an islet cell transplant. For a good amount of time, he did not need to take insulin, he did not need to check his blood sugars, he did not need to do any of it because he had an islet cell transplant. (He did do it to keep notes for the scientific study in which he was enrolled).
But everything was normal from blood sugar to no need for insulin. So many said it would never work. the theory was just that….a theory. Imagine the surprise when it turned out that some people were off insulin for years.
Now to be clear, this was a study and the patients were on immunosuppressive; it was only to prove the theory that islet cells could work if implanted.
Imagine people like Kenny, Gary Kleiman, Rita Hart, and so many others who went through this entire process having NO IDEA what would be the result. As I was speaking to Kenny (in a conversation I have relayed many times and it drives me to my knees every time I repeat it), I said, “Kenny, you must feel great.”
Kenny looked at me and he smiled that most wonderful smile and he said;
“Tom I do feel great, but I didn’t do this for me, I did it for Kaitlyn (my daughter) and those like her. This is not the answer, it is but a step. We have much work to do.”
WOW. Those who enroll themselves into programs for the benefit of science, for the benefit of taking management tools forward, or steps forward toward a cure; we need to stop and recognize these incredible individuals during diabetes awareness month. Thousands, maybe even millions, of people enrolling so something can be learned in the search for that biological cure; or in the search for a better management tool. If these people did not volunteer for these studies, and sometimes they HAVE NO IDEA what the result would be, we would be even further behind than we are. Many things we take for granted, at one time or another, HAD TO BE TESTED ON LIVE PATIENTS.
So if you have enrolled in a study, any study, to benefit the causes of diabetes…..we all thank you and salute you this diabetes month.
For Diabetes Awareness Month:
This month, I will be highlighting someone in the diabetes community. They may be people you know, or might not know, but they give of themselves to make this world, our world, with diabetes a special place. I will not get to everyone this month, but it is my hope that perhaps you can be introduced to some of those you may not know.
I’m certainly not the definitive on who should be included….you are. If you think I should include someone, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do what I can to include that person as well. Welcome to diabetes awareness month.
I am a diabetes dad.
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