Have you signed Dr. Frederick Banting's birthday card yet?
I did, first thing this morning. On the card (you'll see it when you click the link above to sign it) there's an area to write a personal message. I wrote, "Thanks to your work, I have an amazing teenager."
Before Dr. Banting and Dr. Best made their discovery of insulin in 1921, people with Type 1 Diabetes died. Their bodies wasted away. It's humbling to consider.
In 2002, on a crisp December morning, we rushed my daughter to the hospital, and by mid-morning she was receiving insulin. She's now a thriving high school student who is looking forward to this weekend's school play, college in a couple of years, and a career in education.
Had she been born less than 100 years earlier, she simply would have died. Probably by Christmas, only a few days after we'd called the local doctor to stop by on his rounds to examine her.
I'm thankful to Dr. Banting, and his colleague, Dr. Best, for making insulin available so that my daughter can be alive. And I'm thankful for all of the discoveries and inventions that ensued, including modern synthetic insulins, increasingly accurate technology for glucose monitoring, and insulin-delivery tools that have come a long way from regularly boiling and sharpening the one syringe in the household.
Dr. Banting's birthday, now World Diabetes Day, helps put life with diabetes in perspective. There was no life with T1D before Dr. Banting. It's still a daily challenge, and the dangers aren't completely gone, but my daughter is here, and thriving. I couldn't be more grateful.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Banting.