Donald Anderson being presented with the insulin half-century award by Brightshores diabetic clinic staff.
Pictured from left to right: Brightshores Registered Dietician Carla Campbell, Brightshores Registered Dietician Hannah Cassidy, Donald Anderson, Griff (Donald’s guide dog) and Dr. G. Becks.

Donald Anderson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes over 50 years ago at the age of eight. At that time, diagnosis and treatment looked much different than it does today.

Donald remembers the initial symptoms that presented at a young age preceding his diagnosis. Mood swings and frequent urination led to blood work, which pointed to the pancreatic condition.

Next was the treatment plan. Donald recalls watching his mother boil the glass and metal syringes used to administer his insulin. He also remembers practicing insulin dosing on his teddy bear, pinching the fabric in the abdominal region like he would later do to himself. The task of monitoring his blood sugar was very different at this time. On a daily basis he relied on urine strips used to indicate glucose levels. Every four months his dad would take him to the hospital for a thorough blood test.

Over the next many decades Donald’s management of his diabetes changed with the progression of his disease and the development of technology. After losing his eyesight 30 years ago, he now uses monitoring tools developed for the partially sighted to manage his diabetes. A far upgrade from the urine test strips he started with.

Donald moved to the Grey Bruce area over 25 years ago, which is when he began working with local healthcare to manage his diabetes. This eventually brought him to the clinic at Brightshores. Currently Donald has access to specially trained diabetes educators, which include nurses, dieticians and doctors, through the Brightshores Diabetic Clinic. Resources he’s very grateful to have- especially so close to home.

This past August, Donald was presented with the Half Century Award by members of the Brightshores diabetes team. The award recognizes Donald’s achievement of being on Insulin for 50+ years. Though Donald has had his challenges with the disease, this is an incredible milestone.