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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! 

  • 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 been using an insulin pump for 10 years and
    effectively lowered his A1C while keeping up with the daily grind
    of running a baseball team!  FULL STORY & 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 has made incredible progress after nearly 10 months. He recognizes high and low blood sugars and knows how to treat them. In these videos Joey's mother describes their road from diagnosis until today, including working closely with his care team and the 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 (T1D) at two years old. Today, she’s an MD/MBA student at UMass 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.  LEARN MORE

  • 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%.  LEARN MORE

  • 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.  FULL STORY 

  • 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.  FULL STORY

  • 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

  • July 01, 2019 Emilie Cloutier, Diabetes care at UMass Memorial

    Emilie Cloutier, RN, BSN, CDCES

    Emilie Cloutier, RN, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was only 13 months old, so she’s never known life without it.  Now, 25 years later, she’s a pediatric nurse at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence in addition to being a patient in the adult diabetes clinic.  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.  FULL STORY

  • 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. READ MORE

  • 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."  FULL STORY

  • April 01, 2019 Ed Adamson

    Ed Adamson

    Edward Adamson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1967 at the age of 5.  Uncontrolled blood sugars during during his youth led to kidney failure and eventually a transplant at age 35.  Diabetes education from UMass DCOE has him now living a healthy lifestyle and embracing technology, which recently brought his A1c down to 6.9%.  FULL STORY    

  • 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. FULL STORY
  • 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 2010 Olympics, he endured a complicated diagnosis of T1D. He's 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 in Princeton, MA.  FULL STORY

  • January 01, 2019 Tim Weeden Diabetes Triathalon

    Tim Weeden

    Tim was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 8 years old.  Now 41, he has maintained an A1c between 5.8 – 7% for the past 30 years.  His interest in the science of disease progression led to a career as a research scientist.  He also participates in full ironman races, and does not let his diabetes get in the way.  FULL STORY  

  • December 03, 2018 Dan Falcone

    Dan Falcone

    Dan struggled with the fear and sadness that came 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. 

  • December 01, 2018 Jane Bennett

    Jane Bennett

    Jane Bennett was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes exactly one week from her 31st birthday.  She was advised by her PCP to see Dr. Richard Haas at the UMass DCOE.  Jane 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. Haas strongly recommended that she begin using an insulin pump, to help get her glucose under control.  Within 6 months, her A1c was down 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.”  READ MORE 

  • 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  

  • 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

  • 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 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!  READ MORE

  • May 21, 2018 Sophia Binici football diabetes

    Sophia Binici

    Sophia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 12½ years old. 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. Sophia graduated from Elon University began working at UMass Medical School as a clinical research assistant. Her goal is to become a pediatric endocrinologist or diabetes educator to help children work through the challenges of growing up with diabetes.  READ MORE

  • May 01, 2018 Donald Blette

    Donald Blette

    Donald was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1967 at age 26. In his mid 50's 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 and after more than 50 years with type 1 diabetes, he's kept his A1c between 6.3 - 7.1 with minimal complications. I hope his positive story and personal example will motivate 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 to many doctors over the years to try to manage her blood sugars, however, her A1c spiraled out of control.  She moved her care to the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence in 2011 with an A1c above 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

  • February 01, 2018 Christine Croteau

    Christine Croteau

    Since her diagnosis with type 1 diabetes at age 31, Christine Croteau has not let the disease control her. She continues to find new ways to challenge herself through mind, body and soul. Christine credits her support system, including the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence care team for her ongoing athletic achievement. Her impressive artwork titled “Flights of Freedom: Diabetic Test Strips Metamorphosis into Butterflies” was recently featured in a Worcester art gallery. FULL STORY, VIDEO AND PHOTOS

  • September 01, 2017 David Blodgett Type 1 Diabetes

    David Blodgett, PhD

    David is unique among UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence patients. He has a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and is a research scientist at UMass Chan Medical School.  He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three . Today David is a healthy adult who focuses his scientific career on finding the cure for diabetes!  READ MORE

  • August 01, 2017 Jennifer Schneider Diabetes

    Jennifer Schneider, MD, MS

    Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12, Jennifer never allowed the disease to stop her from doing things she loved, including Division 1 collegiate track and cross country and eventually climbing Kilimanjaro.  READ MORE