Some of my first exposure to the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) was from Gina Capone and the blog posts about attending ‘Mastering Your Diabetes‘, an intensive five-day course designed to teach self-management skills. She chronicled her time there, and it all sounded great.
Then I attended CWD’s 2010 Friends For Life Conference this summer and had at least four incredibly powerful experiences around people from the Diabetes Research Institute. First was a session by Norma Kenyon, Ph. D. about her work towards a biological cure. Next was Tom Karlya’s presentations with Kimberly Davis, talking to your congressperson. Then was some social time listening in with a group huddled around Cherie Stabler, Ph. D. talking about tissue engineering. I also spent a bit of time talking with Lori Weintraub and learning more about what DRI is all about.
Everything they said was fascinating to me, but more important, I could feel their passion. I could feel it. Their passion for finding a cure for diabetes was tangible.
It was at Friends For Life that I knew I wanted to be more involved with them.
I am honored to say that I have been asked to help them spread the word about who they are and what they do, and promote the Diabetes Diplomats program for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF), the nonprofit fundraising organization dedicated to funding the cure-focused research the Diabetes Research Institute is doing.
My friend Riva Greenberg recently did a two part interview with Dr. Camillo Ricordi, DRI’s Scientific Director, and there were a couple of quotes that really touched me. They are a great example of the type of people working to help us.
“It’s easy to think diabetes is acceptable if you don’t have it.” Dr. Ricordi (from part one)
“Every scientist here signs off on our collaborative mission, that we help all other groups that have the same enthusiasm for finding a cure.” Dr. Ricordi (from part two)
This is a unique group who are focused on us, people living with diabetes, not competing for scientific accomplishments and accolades. They want a cure, pure and simple.
Dr. Ricordi goes on to say that they don’t get much mainstream funding for cure-focused work, and that they depend on the DRIF for almost 40 percent of their budget. They need our help to spread the message and encourage people to get involved.
As I learn more about the Diabetes Research Institute, the foundation, and the Diabetes Diplomats programs, I will be sharing all of it. I don’t think enough people know about the good things and good people there, and I’d like to help spread the word.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I am being paid a small amount to help them. I appreciate them helping me live my dream (which is to make a living helping people with diabetes).
I am a long way from being able to pay the bills, and am still actively looking for additional contracting and freelance opportunities, but this is a start. This is an exciting start and something that I am proud to put my name behind.