Personal Connections

I work for the American Diabetes Association.  Working here is more than a job to me.  I personally know many people affected by this devastating disease, including some of my immediate family.  Currently, my brother is fighting the battle against diabetes and my grandmother suffered from it for many years.

My dad passed away from diabetes related complications.  He had type 2. This is the most common kind of diabetes and affects 95% of the 25.8 million Americans with diabetes.  My dad had to give himself 4 insulin shots a day.  In addition to the inconvenience of daily shots, my dad also suffered from the many issues that diabetes brings with it:   eye problems, nerve damage, kidney disease and eventual kidney failure, which made it necessary for him to have dialysis 3 times a week.  He was scheduled to have his leg amputated when the doctors discovered that he was also suffering from pancreatic cancer.  At that point he decided to stop the dialysis and died a week later.

Although he lived a long life, dying at age 84, I do believe that his life was shorter than it should have been.  His mother lived to 102 years old and his father to 96.  My dad endured many years of dealing with the effects of this disease, way beyond the frequent finger pricks and the daily insulin shots. Because he had diabetes, and my brother has it, that too, puts me at risk for the disease.  I am the mother of two wonderful children.  We know that family history can add to the risk factor for diabetes, so you can see why working for the American Diabetes Association is more than a job to me. I hate the idea of possibly battling this disease myself and I am even more concerned that my kids may someday be diagnosed with it.  I am lucky to work for an organization that is so meaningful to me.

The only thing better would be to find myself out of work because a CURE is discovered.  I hope for that day to arrive soon.


Barbara Harris


American Diabetes Association MN

1 comment

  1. Peggy March 25, 2011 at 10:22 am Reply

    I can so relate to your story, Barbara! I, too, have family members affected by this devastating disease! Thank you for working with the ADA and fighting for a cure!

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