Press release submitted by UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester.
A diabetes diagnosis can be a debilitating blow. The burden of having to regularly monitor one’s glucose levels and pay special attention to diet and exercise can leave many people overwhelmed. For some, the example of public figures with diabetes who have thrived and succeeded despite the disease, can have a positive effect and provide comfort, support and inspiration.
The UMass Memorial Health Care Diabetes Center of Excellence is doing its part to remind patients that living with diabetes need not limit their potential. The diabetes clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center displays a Diabetes Hall of Honor with a photo gallery and inspirational quotes from notable public figures who have the disease, including such notable figures as musicians B.B. King and Crystal Bowersox, athletes like NBA great Dominique Wilkins and Olympic Champion Gary Hall, Supreme Court Justice Sotomayer, actress Mary Tyler Moor, and many others.
Beginning this month, patients with diabetes from the region are sharing that spotlight, too. Outstanding adult and pediatric patients are recognized as Honorees of the Month for their accomplishments and progress in controlling their diabetes, and are also featured in the Center’s Hall of Honor. Doctors, nurses and other providers nominate individuals who they feel deserve this honor. A team of providers then votes on the nominations received. The goal of the program is to demonstrate to all patients that others just like them have successfully managed their diabetes.
“Managing your diabetes is hard work,” said David Harlan, MD, co-director of the UMass Memorial Health Care Diabetes Center of Excellence and William and Doris Krupp professor of medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School. “Finding inspiration from others who have gone through the same challenges and yet who have maintained a positive outlook can be helpful. We are proud to also present for all to appreciate and admire that our own patients exemplify character, perseverance and leadership qualities.”
The first group of UMass Memorial patient inductees to the Diabetes Hall of Honor are:
Blanche Gregoire, 70, North Oxford. Her inspirational quote is, "Live your life from within and go."
Liz Bradley, 14, Shrewsbury. Her inspirational quote is, "Don't let diabetes be the boss. Juvenile diabetes will be with you for the rest of your life, so make the best of it and control it so you don't have to suffer in the long run. Everyone faces challenges while growing up. This is just one of mine, and I know I will be fine."
Dan Polnerow, 17, Boylston. His inspirational quote is, "A diagnosis of diabetes doesn't have to slow you down. I haven't let it keep me from doing the things that I love, and it certainly doesn't have to keep you from doing what you love either ... If you get into good habits at the beginning, you'll set yourself up for a successful future and life. Diabetes doesn't control you - you control diabetes."