Insulin producing islet cells

Patient Stories

They are different ages, reside in different zip codes, and have lived for a varying number of years with type 1 diabetes. They are the DRI's islet transplant recipients whose lives have been dramatically changed after receiving this life-saving procedure. Many have been living without the need for insulin therapy for years, or even a decade or more. DRI scientists are improving the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes through continued research. And additional DRI clinical trials will continue to benefit many more patients while advancing progress toward to our ultimate goal of a biological cure.
View their stories: 

Richard GurwitzRichard Gurwitz, diagnosed at age 4

Richard Gurwitz’s parents were one of the original five families who started the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation back in the 1970s. Amazingly in 2001, Richard was able to benefit from the islet transplantation research they worked so hard to fund: “I wouldn’t be around today if I hadn’t received that transplant,” he says.


Watch DRI tv for the latest updates on research progress to cure diabetes.Wendy Peacock, diagnosed at age 17
Wendy Peacock is the first patient in the DRI's BioHub clinical trial: "I'm still processing all of it; it's surreal to think that I can go to sleep at night and not worry that my blood sugar's going to drop. It's like a weight that's been lifted." 



DRI islet transplant patient Karla Edge 10 year follow upKarla Edge, diagnosed at age 6
"It feels like a whole new way of life. It feels fantastic! It gives me chills just thinking about it - how my life was before compared to how, it's like freedom...there's no longer that worry for my or my family...I hope that by the research they're doing at the DRI, that it enables other people to live the life I'm living now."



DRI islet transplant patient Chris Schuh 10 year follow up Chris Schuh, diagnosed at age 30
"The fact that it has worked so long is an incredible delight. To not worry about testing every time you walk out the door or having to test 10 times a day...I watched my only daughter get married, my husband and I are both retired and enjoying life...I'm happy to be alive! The cure is coming. It will happen in your not dismay"



DRI Transplant Patient Jill Eastman at the Don Strock Diabetes Golf ClassicJill Eastman, diagnosed at 18 months
"I wanted to live a normal life...I've lived these years with freedom and sense of peace in my body...I know today what it's like to feel good and to want to get out of bed every day." 




DRI islet transplant recipient Victoria BalistreriVictoria Balistreri, diagnosed at age 8
"I've gone through everything with the pump, the syringe, I've pretty much seen it all in my lifetime...I don't take any shots, I don't have any pump...So I cannot tell you how amazing that is."



Randi Fibus Caster, DRI islet transplant patientRandi Fibus Caster, diagnosed at age 5
"My A1c is normal - 5.8 - my average blood sugar over the year is 91, so I'm pretty close to being in perfect health. I received my second transplant in 2009, so I've been insulin-free since then."


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