April 27, 2017 – A #T1DSuperhero might not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but those with type 1 diabetes take heroic actions every single day to conquer the challenges of living with this disease. On April 28, National Superhero Day, which honors real and fictional role models, the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF) pays tribute to T1D superheroes—those who live with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and the families, friends, and caregivers who support them.
As part of the tribute, the DRIF is calling on those who want to raise awareness about this disease and the need to find a cure to change their social media profile pictures to a special #T1DSuperhero graphic. The colorful image has “I’m a #T1DSuperhero” emblazoned across it in comic book style, and is available now for free download at DiabetesResearch.org/image/T1DSuperhero.jpg.
“A superhero to me…is me, because I can deal with diabetes and it’s hard,” says Katie Ashkin, 8, of Long Island, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 6. Ashkin is featured in a newly released public service announcement (PSA) that helps raise awareness about the immense challenges those with diabetes face in managing the disease on a daily basis, likening them–and the Diabetes Research Institute scientists who are working to find a cure–to real superheroes.
“There is a little superhero in all of us,” says Edra Tepper of Long Island, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult. Tepper describes living with a chronic disease like diabetes as a “day-to-day struggle,” acknowledging that for children it can be even more of a battle. “It can take away the carefree nature of just being a kid.”
That’s why the scientists at the Diabetes Research Institute have one mission—to find a cure. Located at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, the DRI is the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes. Scientists there are building upon decades of pioneering research to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks.
“We are solely committed to advancing research to patients until the disease is cured,” stated Camillo Ricordi, M.D., director of the Diabetes Research Institute.
Type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disorder and is not related to age, obesity, or lifestyle, is a relentless disease that requires constant vigilance. There are multiple components to managing the disease, such as taking shots, pricking fingers to test blood sugars, learning how to work an insulin pump, carbohydrate counting and more.
The mission of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now. The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research. Scientists have already shown that transplanted islet cells allow patients to live without the need for insulin therapy. Some study participants have maintained insulin independence for more than 10 years. The DRI is now building upon these promising outcomes by developing a DRI BioHub, a bioengineered “mini organ” that mimics the native pancreas. While various BioHub platforms are being tested in preclinical and clinical studies, the DRI is also developing strategies to eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs and reset the immune system to block autoimmunity.
For more information or to get the #T1DSuperhero graphic, please visit DiabetesResearch.org, call 800-321-3437, or Tweet @Diabetes_DRI.