Diabetes research fundraisers are stepping up their game this year to celebrate 100 years of insulin
In the summer of 1921, Frederick Banting and Charles Best of the University of Toronto began giving patients with diabetes a “pancreatic extract.”
The substance was insulin, the results were wonderful, and for the next 100 years it would save and enrich the lives of millions of people around the world.
Fourteen-year-old Jakob Tice from North Vancouver, known to his friends as Jake, is one of those people. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of two. Today, he uses insulin on a daily basis to stay alive and to thrive as an active, athletic teenager and senior hockey player.
“It would feel weird like it would be without insulin,” Jake told the North Shore News. “I don’t know what I would do without it.”
However, it is still almost a full-time job for Jake and his family to manage his diabetes. He has an insulin pump on his body and a Dexcom CGM system that monitors his glucose levels and sends updates to his phone. Exercise can lead to sugar lows. During hockey games, Jake has to constantly monitor his body and sometimes take it out when his level is low.
The consequences of neglecting his diabetes management would be dire, says his mother Michelle Tice.
“You can pass out from a lack of sugar and eventually, if you don’t deal with it, you can die,” she says. “We’ll take care of it so it doesn’t happen.”
As people with diabetes celebrate the 100th anniversary of the insulin breakthrough, they also look forward to the potential for yet another breakthrough that not only treats diabetes but defeats it. They are looking for a cure.
“I think it’s sure to happen,” says Jake, adding that a cure would be life changing for him. “It would mean so much. If COVID is not around I can stay with my friends. I wouldn’t have to get off the ice to check my blood during games, and when I’m low I wouldn’t have to sit down. It would mean a lot. I wouldn’t have to worry that much. When I have a headache, I would just say, “Oh, I have a headache” instead of saying, “Oh, am I weak?” Am i going low ‘I wouldn’t have to worry if my blood sugar was low or high in the middle of the night. “
To accelerate this hunt for a cure, Jake has accepted a 100% challenge in conjunction with the annual Sun Life Walk to Cure Diabetes for JDRF. He was the inspiration for the Jumping for Jakob team, which has participated in the annual Walk to Cure Diabetes for 13 years and has raised more than $ 50,000 in total over the years.
This year Jake will add his own challenge to the fundraiser. He’s committed to shooting 100 pucks a day for 16 days using the hockey net setup he has in his garage. Why 16? It’s a nod to two of his idols, hockey players Bobby Clarke and Max Domi.
Both players wore the number 16 in the NHL and both reached great heights in sports despite type 1 diabetes.
“They do everything I do and they have a chance. That means I have a chance to make it to the NHL,” Jake said. “I look up to you. If they did it, I can do it. “
So far, the Jumping for Jakob fundraiser has raised nearly $ 6,000 for this year, undoing its original $ 500 goal. On Friday, May 21, Jumping For Jakob was ranked 10th of all teams across Canada this year to raise funds. The campaign ends on Sunday, June 13th at 10:00 AM Pacific Time.
Jake’s hope now is to move past $ 10,000. Whatever his fundraiser, he said it means a lot to him that people help him and everyone else living with diabetes find a cure.
“It means people are there to support me,” he said. “They take care of me and want me to live without diabetes.”
Visit the Jumping For Jakob page to donate for his team.