How did your son’s diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes inspire you to take action?
When my son, Nicolas, was diagnosed with Type 1, our whole family was shaken. We were thrown into a world we knew nothing about and began researching, learning, and piecing together what our “new normal” would look like. Sarah Lucas (who would quickly become my Co-Founder at Beyond Type 1) was one of the first to reach out and reassure me that there was a strong future. As a mom of a Type 1 herself, her guidance allowed me to see that my son could live a full and healthy life managing this disease, while also working towards an eventual cure. Together, we realized what a gap there was in resources for newly diagnosed families and set out to work to make a true impact.
What are the greatest obstacles when it comes to Type 1 diabetes?
Awareness. Public misunderstanding of Type 1 diabetes is so widespread due to lack of education and messaging about the differences between Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Beyond Type 1 works to educate the general public on the basics – Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that anyone can get at any age. The body’s own immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes must take insulin and measure their blood sugar levels to survive. The disease, if left unmanaged for even short periods, can kill you. There is no cure – at least not yet.
Cost. For so many people living with Type 1 diabetes in the USA and globally, the medication and tools they need to manage the disease are expensive. Devices like continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps are impressive pieces of technology, but they’re not accessible by the vast majority of people living with Type 1 diabetes. Most importantly – the cost of insulin has risen to the point where it’s prohibitively expensive for many of the people who need it every day to stay alive. That’s not acceptable. And that doesn’t even begin to address the cost of research to actually fund the path to a cure!