(Well, yesterday, but whatever.)

There has been lots of discussion about what happened 94 years ago yesterday – on 27 July 1921. University of Toronto scientists Fredrick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolated the hormone insulin. Today, that means that I am alive and kicking, 17 years after my islets stopped making any.

It means that type 1 diabetes treatment moved from being a starvation diet and not much else, to injecting a drug that was life giving and life saving.

It means that I take a drug that while giving me life, is also lethal and if not dosed carefully and with great consideration can cause terrible side effects.

It means that people with diabetes don’t die terrible, agonising deaths simply because they were diagnosed with diabetes.

It means that I need to be able to do crazy calculations to ensure what I put into my body completely and utterly imperfectly mimics what those with functioning islet cells do completely and utterly perfectly.

It means that there is a treatment therapy that gives us hope and life and allows us to live – sometimes very long, long lives.

It means that each and every day I feel fortunate to have been born when I was and not 100 years earlier.

It means I take for granted that I have access to a drug that keeps me going.

It means that there are far too many people around the world who still do not have access to the drug I take for granted. And 94 years later, that is not good enough.

It means that it was 94 years ago – 94 years ago – since the discover of insulin to treat diabetes and we are still without a cure.

And it means that I wonder when there will be the next breakthrough that is as significant and meaningful and life changing and life saving as what those two Canadian scientists discovered 94 years ago.

But mostly. It means that I live with hope. Hope that those scientists are somewhere working away, and perhaps – just perhaps – are about to find that next big breakthrough.

Hope banksy

 

 

 

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