Age: 41 Year Diagnosed: 1990 Location: Chicago, IL

“I am grateful for my diabetes. It no doubt is scary, challenging and has changed my life and long term heath but to be honest, it makes me work harder and I like the challenge of not having things easy. I'm scared of the potential long term complications and any hereditary effects on my children but diabetes is a thinking persons disease; it's analytical, it's organizational, it's planning and prep and problem solving and makes you stronger and smarter. One event i'd like to share is the launch of my startup Dropp Kitt. Dropp Kitt makes premium diabetic goods based on the belief that diabetics deserve better. Better quality, better solutions and better style. For almost 30 years as a type one diabetic I’ve dragged my diabetic supplies with me in everything from a Ziploc bag to an old leather Dopp kit. When I met my business partner everything changed. Together we designed a beautifully handcrafted premium leather case that fits in my back pocket and fits all of my daily essential diabetic supplies. The support and outreach from the diabetic community has literally brought me to tears when we sold our first unit this weekend! As a problem solver (and creator) by nature it is humbling and gratifying to see other diabetics find comfort in a little thing I created.

I would tell new diabetics to be upfront about their diabetes, if not only from a safety perspective. Let co-workers, people at the gym etc know that you are diabetic, where your supplies are and what to do in case of an emergency. I do a lot of public speaking and consulting and one of the first things I tell a crowd is "I am a well controlled type 1 diabetic but my family is not here with me today, so if you notice me sweating profusely or looking a little off tell my to check my blood" and then I show them where my Dropp Kitt and supplies are in case of emergency.”