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Patient Success Stories | UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence

Our Wall of Honor, located in the UMass Memorial DCOE clinic, recognizes patients who are successfully managing their diabetes. They're nominated by their care team. The following success stories are intended to provide hope and motivation for all people living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes! 

  • June 25, 2024 Christine Croteau Type 1 Diabetes Art

    Christine Croteau

    Christine Croteau has never let type 1 diabetes control her.  She always finds new ways to challenge herself through mind, body and soul.  She credits her support system, including her UMass Memorial diabetes care team, for her continued success.  Since being diagnosed at age 31, Christine has completed a marathon, a backpacking trek through the back country of Newfoundland, and she communicates through artwork.  VIDEO AND PHOTOS

  • May 23, 2024 Danielle Blanchard

    Danielle Blanchard

    Danielle was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 16 months old in 1983.  She moved to Central MA at age 25 and started receiving her diabetes care at Worcester's UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence.  With an A1c consistently around 6%, Danielle’s T1D is currently in the best control it’s been in many years.  She credits her care team, the latest technology, and surrounding herself with a diabetes community. 

  • April 10, 2024 Tim Weeden Diabetes Triathalon

    Tim Weeden

    Tim was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1985 at 8 years old.  He has maintained an A1c between 5.8 - 7% for more than 35 years.  His interest in the science of disease progression led to a career as a research scientist.  Tim also participates in full ironman races, and does not let diabetes get in the way.   

  • February 19, 2024 Dan Falcone

    Dan Falcone

    After 10 years of taking oral medication for his type 2 diabetes, Dan's weight and A1c were both on the rise.  He was prescribed insulin by his primary care physician in Ohio, where he resides, but did not feel he was receiving the support necessary to improve his health. Dan's diabetes control greatly improved after he reconnected with his high school friend, Dr. David Harlan. at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence.  

  • October 09, 2023 Emilie Cloutier, Diabetes care at UMass Memorial

    Emilie Armenti, RN, CDCES

    Emilie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was only 13 months old, so she’s never known life without it. Nearly 30 years later she became a pediatric nurse and diabetes educator at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence in addition to being a patient in the adult diabetes clinic.    

  • June 22, 2023 Jim Cormier

    Jim Cormier

    Jim Cormier was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at two months old in 1967. His new insulin pump & CGM, combined with diabetes education, has led to his first ever A1c below 7%. In this success story he shares what motivated him to finally take control of his diabetes. He has a wonderful relationship with his endocrinologist & nurse practitioner and finds value in the team care model at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence.

  • January 27, 2023 Jason Winters Type 1 Diabetes

    Jason Winters

    Jason Winters has been living with type 1 diabetes since he was 21 years old.  After 10 years of uncontrolled blood sugars, his primary care physician referred him to the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence.  He arrived with a dangerously high A1c of 12.3% and today it's below 7%.  His journey wasn't easy, but working with his care team and using the latest technology, Jason's diabetes is finally under control and his health is improving.

  • December 29, 2022 Michael O'Rourke

    Michael O'Rourke

    Michael was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in his 20’s but for more than 40 years has admittedly done nothing to proactively manage it until enrolling in the Care Coach Program at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence. During his first year working with a diabetes coach, his A1c dropped from 8.5% to 6.4%. He credits his new continuous glucose monitor & weekly coaching calls with keeping him on track. 

  • September 12, 2022 Jane Bennett

    Jane Bennett

    Jane Bennett was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes exactly one week from her 31st birthday.  She had been trying to get pregnant and was told to stop until she could get her A1c from 15% to below 7%.  That was all the motivation she needed.  Dr. Richard Haas recommended she begin using an insulin pump to help control her blood glucose.  Within six months, her A1c fell to 7% and she was able to get pregnant right away!  “I love Dr. Haas,” she said.  “He calmed me down and assured me I can have a baby and live a normal life with diabetes.  He called me every week during my pregnancy.”   

  • August 15, 2022 Teresa Harackiewicz

    Teresa Harackiewicz

    Teresa was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2006. On November 10, 2017 she met with Dr. Malkani and her A1c was 7.5%, which was the highest it had been since her T2D diagnosis. Thanks to a new healthy lifestyle, she lost 25 pounds and dropped 3 dress sizes, feels much better and lowered her A1c!  

  • July 19, 2022 Anne Moore Type 1 Diabetes

    Anne Moore

    Anne Moore celebrated her 50th diaversary in April of 2022. She’s thankful for “revolutionary improvements in type 1 diabetes therapy” during her five decades living with the disease. Diagnosed in April 1972 at the age of 33, Anne feels the most frustrating part about of T1D is its unpredictability.  Over the years she's learned that greater discipline leads to better health outcomes.

  • May 18, 2022 Bob Christian

    Bob Christian

    Bob Christian never lets his Type 1 diabetes slow him down.  He’s an avid kite surfer, who flies large kites to pull him along the water on a board and across fields of snow while wearing skies. His transition to life with diabetes was easier than most because his daughter was diagnosed at 13 years old and had been successfully managing her T1D for more than five years.  Meet Bob and learn how he manages his blood sugars while performing stunts on the water and snow. 

  • April 22, 2022 Nan Hilton

    Nan Hilton

    Nan Hilton was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at 23 years old.  After years of medications and insulin, she made lifestyle modifications resulting in a 90 pound weight loss and she no longer takes any diabetes medications.  During a difficult pregnancy, Nan developed severe diabetic retinopathy that required invasive surgery and painful injections.  After giving birth she committed to make necessary changes.  She started her journey wearing size 16 pants and XL shirts.  Today she’s down to women’s 4/6 pants and small shirts but prefers to wear junior clothing because they fit her better.  Learn how she did it

  • April 04, 2022 Peg Olsen 60 Years Type 1 Diabetic Journey

    Peg Olsen

    Peg Olsen celebrated her 60th anniversary with Type 1 diabetes during the summer of 2021. She was diagnosed at 9 years old and remembers her mother having to boil her urine on the stove multiple times a day to test her blood sugar. For more than 40 years she chose to manage diabetes with needle injections and tested her blood sugar manually. Finally she agreed to try an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor in 2002. Learn more about Peg and her 60 year journey living with T1D.

  • March 02, 2022 Taylor Connor Type 1 Diabetes

    Taylor Connor

    Taylor Connor’s journey with Type 1 diabetes has been a long and difficult road.  Her A1c reached 15% in 2011 and remained elevated until 2016.  That’s when she made a personal commitment to her health and started 2022 with an all-time low A1c of 6.4%.  Taylor’s inspiring story proves it’s never too late to take control of diabetes.  Using an insulin pump for the first time and adopting a healthy eating lifestyle has changed her life.  In addition to improved health, it also resulted in her attending nursing school and today she’s a UMass Memorial Health Nurse and plans to become a Diabetes Educator.  MEET TAYLOR

  • February 01, 2022 Andy Nelson Diabetes Success Story

    Andrew Nelson

    Andrew Nelson is living his second chance.  He was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes following one of many surgeries as the result of pancreatitis and other health issues.  He was referred to the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence taking multiple daily insulin injections and other oral medications. Today he is no longer taking any medications, including insulin!  He credits his care team with helping him become educated about diabetes management which allowed him to make the necessary modifications to improve his health.  

  • January 03, 2022 Deborah O'Keefe

    Deborah O'Keefe

    Deborah O’Keefe has been living with type 1 diabetes for more than 60 years.  Diagnosed at five years old, her A1c remained above 11% for many years.  Thanks to her care team and willingness to embrace technology, her A1c dropped below 7% for the first time.  

  • December 06, 2021 Charles Morse

    Charles Morse

    Charles was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2015 at the age of 30.  He was referred to the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence in early 2021 because of severe insulin resistance.  At the time he was injecting 425 units of insulin each day, but his blood sugars were still above 400 mg/dL, his A1c was 11.0% and his blood pressure was also very high despite taking several medications.  In less than a year his diabetes care team helped him to lower his A1c to 7%.  

  • October 11, 2021 Lisa Marie Hull Diabetes

    Lisa Marie Hull

    Lisa was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Halloween night in 1985 at the age of four.  She still remembers being in that hospital room.  Today, the mother of two young boys, she credits her tight blood sugar control to preparing for pregnancy with the help of a health psychologist and her diabetes care team.  As a Mom, she appreciates more than ever, how much her parents did for her as she was growing up.  Lisa is a prime example of someone living their best life with diabetes.  View Lisa's photo essay and learn more about her successful diabetes management.  

  • September 03, 2021 kitty carruthers diabetes success story

    Kitty Carruthers

    U.S. Olympian and four time National Figure Skating Champion, Kitty Carruthers doesn’t allow diabetes to stand in the way of her life. With determination to succeed perfected in international competitions, Kitty is also determined to succeed in staying healthy. Dr. David Harlan has been helping her for many years and together they've managed to keep her blood sugars within a healthy range. 

  • August 09, 2021 Jenna T1D Success UMass Memorial


    Jenna was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at six and a half years old in 2018.  She doesn’t remember much about life before diabetes, but her parents certainly do.  One year later, Jenna is doing very well.  Watch her mother discuss their experiences over the past year, what they've learned and advice to other families.

  • July 01, 2021 Bruno Graizzaro

    Bruno Graizzaro

    Bruno Graizzaro was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2006 at age of 50.  His weight had crept to almost 300 pounds.  Thanks to several lifestyle modifications he lost more than 65 pounds and maintained it for nearly four years, including throughout the pandemic. Today he remains off insulin and off any diabetes medications and continues to have great blood glucose control.  READ MORE  

  • June 01, 2021 David Peterson Peterman Worcester Bravehearts

    Dave Peterson - Worcester Bravehearts General Manager

    Better known as "Peterman" to Central MA baseball fans, Dave is the General Manager of the Worcester Bravehearts.  He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2008 at the age of 29. He's credits starting on an insulin pump and CGM with effectively lowering his A1C, while keeping up with the daily grind
    of running a baseball team!  VIDEO

  • May 01, 2021 Type 1 Diabetes Success Story


    Joey was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at five years old in August of 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. At first he was inconsolable but he made incredible progress during his first year. He recognizes high and low blood sugars and knows how to treat them. In these videos Joey's mother describes their road from diagnosis, including working closely with his care team and school nurse.  FULL STORY & VIDEOS

  • April 15, 2021 Joanne Tyndall T1D

    Joanne Tyndall

    Joanne was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1964 at 16 years old.  She appreciates the many improvements in diabetes management since she was a teenager.  Joanne has embraced technology and worked with diabetes educators and her care team at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence and her A1c has remained at about 6.5% over the past two and a half years!

  • April 01, 2021 Nelson Type 2 Diabetes UMass Memorial


    At 15-year-old Nelson was hospitalized for three days with elevated blood sugars and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  He was prescribed a combination of daily insulin injections and the oral medication Metformin.  Three months later, after receiving diabetes education and making lifestyle changes, his blood sugars stabilized to where Nelson no longer requires insulin shots!  His Metformin dosage was lowered as well and he feels much better.  FULL STORY  

  • March 01, 2021 Diane Drapos Type 1 Diabetes

    Diane Drapos

    Diane was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1992 soon after college graduation.  In 2021 she was diagnosed with a second autoimmune disease and introduced to Dr. David Harlan at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence.  Her blood sugar control is currently the best it's been in over 20 years and she couldn't be more appreciative. 

  • February 01, 2021 Gretchen Type 1 Diabetes


    Gretchen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 8 years old while living in Puerto Rico. The following year her family had moved to Massachusetts and she had her first appointment at the UMass Memorial Pediatric Diabetes Center. As she exited her honeymoon phase, her A1c rose above 14%. During a visit to our clinic, she was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and spent a week in the hospital. While hospitalized, Gretchen and her mother received the diabetes education they never learned when she was diagnosed. FULL STORY

  • January 01, 2021 Emilee Herringshaw Type 1 Diabetes

    Emilee Herringshaw

    Emilee was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at two years old. Today, she’s an MD/MBA student at UMass Chan Medical School planning a career in the dermatology field. She appreciates the comprehensive team approach to diabetes care offered at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence. She manages it well and credits her endocrinologist, diabetes educator and behavioral health psychologist, calling them the best providers she's ever had.  FULL STORY & VIDEOS

  • December 01, 2020 Mark Andrews Baltimore Ravens

    Mark Andrews

    NFL tight end Mark Andrews was 9 years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. "I adapted a mindset that this disease is a part of who I am, but it’s not going to define me and it’s never going to stop me in achieving my dreams.  Type 1 diabetes is incredibly difficult, but I refuse to let it affect my job or my life in any way.”  FULL  STORY

  • November 01, 2020 Paul Cimino Diabetes

    Paul Cimino

    Paul was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in his mid-20s. Over the past 30 years, he’s been unable to consistently control his blood sugars despite seeing multiple practitioners offering varying approaches to control. Six months after meeting Dr. Michael Thompson for the first time at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence, Paul's A1c dropped from above 14% to below 6%. Learn about the changes they've made and how it's changed Paul's life.  FULL STORY

  • October 01, 2020 Julie Kozlowski Type 1 Diabetes

    Julie Kozlowski

    Julie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 3. A year later she experienced a seizure from low blood sugar which resulted in temporary paralysis. She thinks about that every day and it makes her understand the power of diabetes. It's a constant motivator to do her best to manage it. Julie is very grateful to “her team” consisting of Dr. Harlan, Dr. Thompson, and her diabetes educator at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence.  PHOTO ESSAY


  • September 01, 2020 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, who correctly diagnosed her with type 1 diabetes! 

  • August 01, 2020 Alyce Sneddon

    Alyce Sneddon

    Alyce decided to take control of her diabetes after years of neglecting it.  Her complications from uncontrolled blood sugars includes diabetic neuropathy in her legs with very little feeling below the knees.  She recently developed kidney problems and after her uncle passed away from kidney disease as the result of diabetes complications, she decided to take action.   

  • July 01, 2020 Brian Prehna

    Brian Prehna

    Brian was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 33 years old. He lived a healthy lifestyle and participated in CrossFit competitions, but quickly learned T1D is not preventable. After nearly five years with A1c test results above 9%, Brian watched the PBS documentary Blood Sugar Rising: America’s Hidden Diabetes Epidemic. He took action, and with the help of his UMass DCOE care team, lowered his A1c to 6.5%.   

  • May 01, 2020 Lauren Dayotas: Diabetes Success Story | UMass Memorial

    Lauren Dayotas

    Lauren's A1c ranged between 8.2 to 10% for the past ten years, and almost overnight, her blood glucose control became “almost perfect” according to Dr. David Harlan. Learn the new technology that she credits for her sudden success.  

  • April 06, 2020 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 lost 55 pounds and his A1c fell from over 13% to below 6%.  He no longer needs to take insulin. Committing to a lifestyle change has literally added years to his life.  READ MORE

  • March 01, 2020 Tyler Howard

    Tyler Howard

    Tyler doesn't remember life without type 1 diabetes. The 19-year-old high school graduate was diagnosed just after turning five years old. He credits his parents with providing a support system to help him navigate day to day life with T1D. His message to other young people is a positive one.   

  • January 02, 2020 Brandon Denson type 1 diabetes

    Brandon Denson

    Brandon was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a high school senior and went on to play college and professional football. He also competed on the TV show American Ninja Warrior. Brandon enjoys speaking to young people living with T1D to let them know that diabetes will not stop them from fulfilling their dream. He appreciates the diabetes care he receives from Dr. Nina Rosano at Worcester's UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence.  FULL STORY    

  • November 01, 2019 Diabetes Patient Success Story

    John Gianette

    John lost nearly 25 pounds in just over a month. His primary care physician referred him to the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence, where he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. His blood sugar was above 500 with an A1c near 13%. John and his care team developed a plan to get those number into a healthy range. His second A1c was down to 5.4% with an average blood glucose of 94!  FULL STORY

  • September 01, 2019 Cameron


    Cameron was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 22 months old.  Like many 7 year-olds he enjoys playing sports. He and his family do a wonderful job keeping his blood sugars in a healthy range.  Cameron's story includes going to diabetes camp, throwing out the first pitch at JDRF night at the Paw Sox and the school project which rewarded him a fun experience.  FULL STORY

  • June 15, 2019 Sophie


    Sophie admits that living with diabetes can be challenging.  She experienced “diabetes burnout” around the age of 13.  Today the recent high school graduate is the volunteer co-chair of the American Diabetes Association’s Youth Leadership Program and she interacts with and mentors other young people from throughout New England living with type 1 diabetes. 

  • June 01, 2019 nicole johnson miss america diabetes

    Nicole Johnson - Miss America 1999

    Nicole Johnson won the Miss America title in 1999.  She became the first Miss America with Type 1 diabetes and the first contestant to publicize the use of an insulin pump. Today Nicole is a nationally recognized diabetes advocate and one of the biggest supporters of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence. In January 2021 she was named VP of science and healthcare for the American Diabetes Association.  

  • May 01, 2019 Type 1 Diabetes Bags

    Paying it Forward: T1D Warrior Bags

    Braden and Colby were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in successive years.  They're now united not only by T1D, but also by how their kindness inspired each other to "Pay it Forward." 

  • April 01, 2019 Ed Adamson

    Ed Adamson

    Ed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1967 at the age of five. Uncontrolled blood sugar during his youth led to kidney failure and eventually a transplant at age 35.  Diabetes education, embracing technology, and a healthier lifestyle lowered his A1c below 7%. 

  • February 06, 2019 Rick Becker

    Rick Becker

    Rick Becker was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 31 with an A1c of 12%. Today, 19 years after diagnosis, his A1c remains between 6-7%. Rick's story speaks to the importance of respecting your diabetes and its many potential complications. It also shows us that despite challenges, one can still do the things they enjoy.  His strength and perseverance is contagious.
  • February 01, 2019 Sean Busby

    Sean Busby - Riding on Insulin

    Sean Busby is a professional snowboarder living with type 1 diabetes, who travels to remote corners of the world on snowboarding expeditions. While training for the Olympics, he endured a complicated diagnosis of T1D. He has since founded Riding On Insulin – a nonprofit organization that hosts action sports programs for kids, teenagers, and adults living with T1D. Each winter, they hold an all-day camp for young people living T1D and their siblings at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton, MA.  

  • November 05, 2018 T.J.


    TJ was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in August 2017 at the age of 4.  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 said, “I take shots because my pancreas broke.  I’m still regular.”  

  • September 01, 2018 Gian-Carlo


    Gian-Carlo was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) during the summer of 2015 after completing 6th grade. He enjoys soccer, snowboarding, and skateboarding.  Over time and with plenty of experimentation, Gian-Carlo and his mother have worked with the UMass diabetes care team to get his blood sugars under control.  FULL STORY

  • 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

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