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Living Long With Diabetes

By Karrie Hawbaker

Public Relations Manager

Posted:  6/7/2011 12:00 AM


Last week, the Associated Press ran an article about 90-year-old Bob Krause, who recently celebrated his 85th anniversary with type 1 diabetes. That’s right, his 85th anniversary! To put it in perspective, the year Bob was born, Frederick Banting and John Macleod had just discovered insulin.

Bob is one of about 100 people recognized by the Joslin Diabetes Center for living with diabetes for more than 50 years.

Considering what prognosis these people most likely received 50, 60, 70, or 85 years ago, such a long life is definitely something to celebrate. As most of you well know, depending on exactly when they were diagnosed, these kids may have been told they would never live to see a college graduation or have a child, yet alone spend June of 2011 celebrating longevity with diabetes in Boston.

In addition, Joslin is studying 650 long-term type 1 diabetes patients to better understand the secrets to their success. In the Boston Globe article linked above, Dr. George L. King, Joslin’s research director, lists learning diabetes management early and sticking to it, a family history of longevity and an active lifestyle as potential key factors. Several of the patients interviewed credit the support system put in place by their families – especially their parents.

We love the idea of recognizing people dedicated to managing their diabetes and of thinking about what it takes to live a long, full life with diabetes.

Of course, with so many advances in endocrinology and medical technology over the last 50 years – and so much research and innovation on the horizon – we’re very optimistic about long lives for today’s generation of people with diabetes. Still, what do you think helps you succeed in managing your diabetes? Is it a great endo? New technology? The love of your family? The support of the DOC?

Share with us in the comments or send us an email at



Marlene Stewart

Posted on Wed Jun 08 23:53:59 GMT 2011

I am 59 and have had Type 1 diabetes for 35 years. I have been blessed to have no complications in my organs and eyes as well as not having neuropathy. Sometimes I wonder why am I so lucky? But, then I am reminded that so much is attitude which affects how one takes care of oneself. I am an elementary school teacher and want to be in control for my students and my family. I take my sugars often and work hard at it. I'm especially excited to be getting an insulin pump in the next week so that I can do even a better job of taking care of my diabetes. Attitude - life is to be enjoyed and can be if you accept the challenge of having diabetes!

Amanda Sheldon

Posted on Thu Jun 09 17:54:00 GMT 2011

Thanks for sharing wtih us Marlene - love that positive attitude!

Michael Hoskins

Posted on Sun Jun 12 06:06:37 GMT 2011

It's great to hear all of these stories. My own mom is one of those Joslin medal recipients, diagnosed about 53 years ago back when she was five. She's traveling to Joslin later this summer to get all poked and prodded for participation in the complication study, and they're trying to get me to go as well - as someone who's at my 27th year of Type 1. It's interesting to see what all the studies will show down the road.

Karrie Hawbaker

Posted on Mon Jun 13 17:35:54 GMT 2011

Thanks for the comments, Michael, and good luck to you and your mom on the trip to Joslin. Yeah, we're interested to see what comes out of the study as well.

Annie M

Posted on Tue Jun 14 03:31:31 GMT 2011

I too have have diabetes for 30 years, have no complications and try the best I can to manage it before it manages me and I read as much as I can about it and try to stay up to date on latest developments. I've been on a pump for over 10 years and that has helped tremendously. My goal is defy all odds and prove to anyone that will take notice that we can live a normal life with diabetes.

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