Hey Friends, Happy extended Memorial Day holiday weekend!
Our team is enjoying some Memorial Day traditions, including the Indy 500 race this past weekend that included two drivers with type 1 diabetes: Charlie Kimball and Conor Daly — making their racing with diabetes accomplishments known in this event dubbed “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” as they speed along the 2.5-mile track upwards of 100 miles per hour!
Meanwhile, while this holiday is dedicated to remembering those who gave their lives to serve our country, we couldn’t help but stretch the sentiment a bit to include a Canadian member of our D-Community who certainly “gave his all” in years of military service — and who also initiated the discovery of insulin in the 1920s.
Yep, we’re talking about Dr. Frederick Banting, who fought for the Canadian Army during WWI, received the Military Cross for his extraordinary heroic wartime efforts, and then later went on to help discover the insulin that keeps all of us with diabetes alive.
We bet you didn’t know that during WWII, Banting helped invent the G-suit to stop pilots from blacking out when they were turning or diving at high altitudes, and he also worked on developing a vaccine for mustard gas burns — even testing the gas and antidotes on himself because he didn’t feel it was humane or ethical to test an unproven vaccine on soldiers. His own self-experiments caused him to injure his leg and walk with a limp for the rest of his life. And some of his top-secret military research is what led in part to his death in the 1941, as he was flying to London to demonstrate the revolutionary flight suit he’d helped design when his plane crashed. Though he and the pilot didn’t immediately die on impact, Dr. Banting died from injuries the next morning after rescue failed to reach him in time. He’s buried at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto, with full military honors.
So even though Dr. Banting was from Canada, his contributions impacted every soldier worldwide during his own time of service and beyond, and we think it’s appropriate to give him a special nod today (in advance of Canada’s own Memorial Day equivalent that’s celebrated on July 1).
Do you know someone with diabetes who served in the military who deserves a special nod as well? Let us know in the comments, please.
With that, we hope everyone has a good Memorial Day 2019!