The 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of insulin: Celebrating its impact on our Lives
By Krista Lamb
On April 14, 2021 Diabetes Action Canada partnered with the Banting & Best Diabetes Centre and the University of Toronto’s Department of Medicine to host a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin.
This event was designed entirely by a team of people living with or caring for someone with diabetes, and was an opportunity to share stories of how insulin has changed lives for the better. Each speaker was chosen because they were living with diabetes or doing work that was making a difference in the field.
More than 1,000 people registered for this virtual event, which was attended by those from around the world. They watched video presentations from people living with diabetes who shared their stories—including our youngest Patient Partner, 7-year-old Chloe Pow and her father, Conrad.
Mother daughter duo Dana and Marley Greenberg discussed their experiences living with type 1 diabetes and how the condition has changed in the almost 50 years since Dana’s diagnosis—and in the more than ten years since Marley’s.
The Diabetes Action Canada Indigenous Patient Circle was represented by Sasha Delorme and her family. Sasha told the story of her son Brayson’s diagnosis with type 1 diabetes and her own diagnosis with type 2 diabetes. And Diabetes Action Canada Patient Partner Mike Alexander shared his experience as a survivor of the Sixties Scoop. He had developed depression and battled addiction before his diagnosis with type 2 diabetes and has now transformed his life to become a successful triathelete.
Drs. Bruce Perkins and Alice Cheng shared the latest developments in insulin treatments in a panel moderated by Dr. Sarah Linklater, the Chief Scientific Officer for JDRF Canada. And Drs. Holly Witteman, Joyce Dogba and Joseph Cafazzo shared the ways that people with diabetes are being integrated into every part of the research process—and how that is improving the results.
In a special presentation, Grant Maltman, the curator at Banting House National Historic Site of Canada, discussed the importance of place in the discovery of insulin before unveiling Canada Post’s new stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary.
Jen Hanson, the Executive Director of Connected in Motion, and Oria James, the co-founder of the University of Toronto’s College Diabetes Network, presented on living and thriving with type 1 diabetes—a talk filled with resources to help those with diabetes find community and connection.
Throughout the evening, videos were shared from across Canada and around the world. Researchers, health care providers, people living with diabetes and those caring for someone with diabetes all submitted messages to commemorate this anniversary and talk about what insulin means to them.
The entire event was truly a celebration—with the chat filled with questions and comments from an international audience who were touched and inspired by the presentations.
This celebration was made possible thanks to a generous donation from Sun Life.
Videos from the event are now available for viewing on the Diabetes Action Canada website.