Wall of Honor, UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence

Many UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence patients have inspiring perspectives and incredible achievements of their own to share.  Each month, we honor a patient who is successfully managing their diabetes.  Candidates for pediatric and adult "Patient Honorees" are nominated by their care team.  In the Diabetes Center of Excellence waiting area, you will find displayed photographs and testimonials from those selected for recognition.  We hope they inspire and encourage others living with diabetes.  

  • November 05, 2018 T.J.


    TJ was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in August 2017 at the age of 4.  He began full day Kindergarten this year, and his numbers are doing very well.  Since diagnosis, he has become more social due to all the interactions with his care team and caregivers.  They get to see his silly, funny, and larger than life personality. When asked about his diabetes, TJ explains, “I take shots because my pancreas broke.  I’m still regular.”  FULL STORY  

  • November 01, 2018 Sandy Grone

    Sandy Grone

    Sandy Grone was originally diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in her early 70’s by her primary care physician in Florida.  She was scared and overwhelmed by all the new information being thrown at her.  After moving to Central MA with her daughter’s family 6 years later, started seeing Dr. Nina Rosano at the UMass DCOE, and Dr. Rosano correctly diagnosed her with type 1 diabetes! 

  • October 01, 2018 Dan Falcone

    Dan Falcone

    Dan struggled with the fear and sadness that cames with his type 2 diabetes diagnosis.  After 10 years of taking oral medication, his weight and A1c were both heading in the wrong direction…up.   He was put on insulin by his primary care physician in Ohio, where he resides, but did not feel that he was receiving the support necessary to get healthy.  Dan's diabetes control greatly improved after he reconnected with his high school friend, David Harlan, MD

  • September 01, 2018 Frank Caputo

    Frank Caputo

    Frank was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after arriving to the Emergency Room with a blood glucose over 800, and very close to a diabetic coma.  Within six months, he has lost 55 pounds and his A1c fell from over 13% to below 6%.  Frank is no longer taking insulin.  Committing to a lifestyle change has literally added years to his life.  READ MORE

  • August 17, 2018 David Peterson

    David Peterson

    Better known as "Peterman" to Central MA Baseball fans, David is the General Manager of the three time Champion Worcester Bravehearts.  He used humor and his great personality to tell his story about being diagnised with type 1, and living with diabetes.  WATCH VIDEO

  • August 01, 2018 Bruno Graizzaro

    Bruno Graizzaro

    Bruno Graizzaro was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2006 at the age of 50.  His weight had crept to almost 300 pounds.  With several lifestyle modifications over the past 18 months, he has lost more than 50 pounds, has come off insulin and off of other diabetes medications, and now has great blood glucose control.  READ MORE  

  • July 01, 2018 July Wall of Honor Success Story

    Karen Wright

    Karen Wright was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003.  Several medications either did not help or made her ill from side effects.  With an A1c over 13%, Karen felt weak and tired and was underweight. After moving back to the Worcester area in 2012, she began receiving care at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence.  Her A1c is currently at 7.2% and she credits her care team with “going above and beyond".  READ MORE

  • June 29, 2018 Hailey Lowe

    Hailey Lowe

    Hailey Lowe was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of six.  She is now an active high school student living everyday with her new normal.  Hailey describes in her own words, the events leading up to her diagnosis, as well as the three days she spent at the UMass Pediatric Diabetes Care Center, receiving a slew of tests and the news that would forever change her life.  READ MORE

  • June 01, 2018 Teresa Harackiewicz

    Teresa Harackiewicz

    Teresa was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2006.  On November 10, 2017 she met with Dr. Malkani in the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence clinic, and her A1c was at 7.5%, which was the highest it had been since her T2D diagnosis.  During the past 6 months, thanks to a new healthy lifestyle, she has already lost 25 pounds and dropped 3 dress sizes!  READ MORE

  • May 21, 2018 Sophia

    Sophia Binici

    Sophia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 12 ½ years old.  She recently celebrated 10 years of making the most out of life with diabetes.  In high school she proved that T1D has no limits when she became the first girl in her school’s history to play and score points for the otherwise all-boys varsity football team.  Last year, Sophia graduated from Elon University and is currently working at UMASS Medical School as a Clinical Research Assistant. She hopes to one day become a pediatric endocrinologist or diabetes educator so that she can help children through the challenges of growing up with diabetes. 

  • May 01, 2018 Donald Blette

    Donald Blette

    Donald was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1967 at the age of 26.  At age 56, he transitioned from shots to an insulin pump, which he says was life changing. “We are very proud of Donald,” says Dr. Nina Rosano.  “His perseverance pays off.  His type 1 diabetes is approaching 51 years with an A1c range between 6.3 - 7.1 and minimal complications.  I hope his positive story and his personal example will move other patients to stay closely connected with their medical team.”  READ MORE

  • April 01, 2018 Barbara Barton

    Barbara Barton

    Barbara was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1992 following surgery for gallstone pancreatitis.  She had been treated by a number of doctors over the years for her diabetes, however her A1c spiraled out of control.   She moved her care to the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence in 2011 with an A1c of 10%.  Today her A1c is down to 6.7%!  READ MORE 

  • March 01, 2018 Sandra Gruca

    Sandra Gruca

    Sandy has been living with type 1 diabetes for 34 years.  After many years, she finally agreed to use an insulin pump, for which she credits the healthy birth of her three children.  Years later, she agreed to wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor, which she calls “a game changer”.  Sandy’s determination to control her diabetes was fueled ten years ago, when her middle child was diagnosed with T1D at the age of four.  She credits her UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence care team who “truly understand how difficult diabetes management can be and respect those of us living with it everyday.”  READ MORE

  • January 01, 2018 Julie Kozlowski

    Julie Kozlowski

    Julie Kozlowski was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 3. A year later she experienced a low sugar seizure which resulted in temporary paralysis. After that experience Julie began struggling to manage her diabetes.  Julie is very grateful to “her team” consisting of Dr. Harlan, Dr. Thompson, and her diabetes educator.  READ MORE


  • October 01, 2017 Nicole Johnson

    Nicole Johnson

    Nicole Johnson won the Miss America title in 1999.  She became the first Miss America with diabetes and the first contestant to publicize the use of an insulin pump.  Today Nicole is a nationally recognized diabetes advocate, National Director of JDRF Mission, and one of the biggest supporters of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence.  READ MORE

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