November 14th is World Diabetes Day. Those who live with diabetes often remark that every day is diabetes day! That is true but November 14th is special.
The 14th is the day that Sir Frederick Banting was born. For those who don’t know, Banting was a Canadian born medical scientist. He received the Nobel prize for his work isolating insulin for therapeutic use with his colleague Dr. Charles Best. He is the reason that my son is alive and thriving today.
Before 1922, a person with Type 1 diabetes was not expected to live long. The only way for them to survive was on very strict diets and those diets often left them malnourished. Injected insulin came along and changed that.
The incredible before and after image of Leonard Thompson shows us just how dramatic of an impact insulin had on the lives of those living with diabetes.
While my own son wasn’t as emaciated as poor young Leonard. He was gaunt and skeletal before he was diagnosed. My youngest child had always been a thin child. He had been sick but seeing him teetering in the bathroom after he began to receive insulin sent me into shock,however. His skin was hanging off of his tiny body and it had happened so quickly.
Thankfully on November 14, 1891 a man was born who would find this miracle elixir. He would discover a way for my child, and millions like him, to receive the insulin that they were lacking in their own bodies. Dr. Banting gave them their lives back. He gave parents back their children.
Those of us who use insulin, no that it is not a magic pill. We understand that it must be respected. People living with diabetes quickly learn how the smallest doses of insulin can have life-threatening consequences. Despite the risk, the reward is incredible. We have our children, our partners, and our friends. They thrive, contribute and enrich our lives.
On this day we say “Happy Birthday Dr. Banting!! Thank you so very, very much for giving us this incredible gift of life.”