For those of us who are dependent on insulin, we can thank our lives to Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best who discovered insulin in 1921. Their discovery truly changed the future of many people living with diabetes (more specifically, gave them a future). There is a good summary of the discovery of insulin here.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes, I never really thought much about a cure because (thanks to Dr. Banting et al) I had insulin. I even wondered why people were fighting so hard for a cure for type 1 diabetes when we can survive “just fine” on insulin. I have since learned that insulin is not a cure. It is not a cure because (as anyone who depends on injected insulin can tell you) you cannot control your blood sugar at all times. But also, it is not a cure because for people living with type 1 diabetes we are missing more than just insulin. When our bodies stopped producing insulin, they also stopped producing c-peptide and amylin, which have vital roles in protecting our organs and nerves. Check out this post at Allie’s Voice to learn more.
Of course, I don’t want to underestimate the importance of the discovery of insulin, but I (now) realize that INSULIN IS NOT A CURE.
It really touched me when I read that Dr. Banting completely agrees. He discovered insulin and what he discovered meant that “The death sentence for diabetes sufferers around the world had finally been lifted.” (from this site). The discovery of insulin meant that people with type 1 diabetes would live, but it was not a cure. At the house in London, Ontario, where this incredible man first came up with the idea to inject insulin, there is a flame that will burn until there is a cure for type 1 diabetes. Read more at this website:
While the Flame of Hope is a symbol of hope, it is also a reminder that insulin is only a control for diabetes, not a cure. Only when that cure is at last found, will the Flame of Hope be extinguished.
The man who contributed so much in enabling people with type 1 diabetes to live knew that there was so much further to go to cure type 1 diabetes. 87 years after the discovery of insulin, that flame still burns, hoping for a cure. I wonder how much longer it will have to burn for…