Carl Armato was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just 18-months old in 1966. Immediately thrown into the fire of figuring out diabetes, his family rallied around him and together, they started the journey of fitting good diabetes care into a full, faithful, and active life.
He grew up to become President and CEO of Novant Health, one of America’s largest and most respected healthcare organizations, and that’s a special story. It’s an encouraging and entertaining tale told the pages of A Future With Hope and one that tells the tale of learning to share his story of diabetes.
Refuse, refuse, refuse
Opening the book with a story of talking to a teenager with diabetes just after a presentation, Carl plants the seeds that continue to grow throughout the book.
“…refusing to buy into the notion that I couldn’t be a champion tennis player or an all-star shortstop; refusing to believe I couldn’t fall in love, marry and have a wonderful family; refusing to think I could never be a successful professional, just because of diabetes.” he explains to the teen.
Refuse, refuse, refuse. Can you do that?Carl S. Armato
Surroundings and support
A central figure in Carl’s story is his father, Lucien Armato. From the early pages of the book, Carl’s family is supportive, but it’s his father’s attitude, understanding, and dedication to Carl’s diabetes care that really shines.
Lucien turned diabetes into a positive for Carl, empowering him to see that having diabetes gave Carl a better understanding of how others with illnesses really felt and that he could be of great service to others because of the compassion diabetes created in him.
Carl points out that we all need a strong support system around us, even if it’s just one or two people, and that we need to support our supporters.
He says that living with diabetes means you are a conqueror inside and your spirit as an overcomer can contribute a lot to the world! I agree with him 100%! I am so proud of and impressed by everyone I know who’s living with diabetes.
I also enjoy how Carl decided that staying tight-lipped about his diabetes deprives him of the opportunity to show others that how successful he can be, even with diabetes!
The power of stories
Chapter eight is titled “Helping Others Find Hope.” There is a line that makes me smile because it’s a lot like the diabetes community online. Carl says “When I talk to people about diabetes, it is clear they want to hear the stories, not just the medical information they hear in a physician’s office.”
It’s my belief that the people listening to Carl value the sense of normalcy that comes from hearing his experiences with diabetes. And thanks to his parents, Carl excels at playing up the possibilities rather than focusing on well-known dangers.
Carl talks about people with diabetes learning by doing, and I couldn’t agree more. He says, “it’s difficult to learn this from a little booklet; everyday life events don’t come at you packaged and succinctly coordinated. You’ve got to be able to account for the curveball that life can throw at you on any given day…”
A world bigger than his own
Carl is using his life experience with diabetes and position at Novant Health to make a huge difference on the general population. Also in chapter eight, he shares that two years ago, Novant Health’s patient data revealed that African-American women with diabetes had a 20 percent greater chance of returning to the emergency room and being readmitted to the hospital than other patients with diabetes. Carl drove change in their practices to make sure they have access to medications and education, and now the increased risk among this group is only 3 percent. That’s just one example of the positive change happening within the system Carl is leading.
His father’s eyes would shine when Carl talked about working in healthcare because of the empathy and understanding diabetes nurtured in Carl. His dad talked of creating delightful places for people to receive care thanks to Carl knowing the experience firsthand. Can you imagine receiving care in somewhere that’s delightful? I love that idea, and thanks to Carl, we’re well on our way.
A Future With Hope is a fun, quick, and inspiring read, and I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about Carl’s story. I look forward to the change he’s making in the world!
Every time I heard a no – No, you can’t play sports. No, you probably won’t be an accountant. No, you can’t pursue your dreams – I tried to listen instead to a yes, from inside me.Carl S. Armato