A Horse We Can Bet On
“It seems that if you want something done around here, you gotta do it yourself!”
I don’t know who first uttered that phrase, or from which movie, book, or politician it came. But it is a cliché firmly embedded in our lexicon.
Those have always been words of wisdom for Lee Iacocca.
Iacocca, as you are well aware, made a name for himself rescuing the Chrysler Corporation and reversing its fortunes. He also headed the largest private-public deal in history—the $540 million restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the 1980s.
Today, finding a diabetes cure is the name of Iacocca’s game (see ‘Spare $10 for a Diabetes Cure?’). And since the U.S government and many diabetes organizations with whom Iacocca has worked don’t seem driven enough in finding one, he suggests that maybe, just maybe, we’re gonna have to do it ourselves.
Personal Connection Fuels a Passionate Fight
Now, you may be asking, “Why Lee Iacocca and diabetes?”
No, Iacocca does not have diabetes. However, in May 1983, his wife, Mary K. Iacocca, died as a result of complications associated with type 1.
Like many of us touched by this disease, Iacocca started sending his money to diabetes organizations that told him year after year that a diabetes cure was ‘just around the corner.’
More than 20 years and millions of dollars later, however, Lee Iacocca finally realized that those words were just a lot of bureaucratic smoke and mirrors.
Along Comes Denise Faustman
Then, in November 2003, Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, a little-known Massachusetts researcher, discovered a way of reversing type 1 without the need for anti-rejection drugs.
She accomplished this by injecting spleen cells from healthy donor mice into mice that had naturally developed type 1. The type 1 was reversed in the mice—even in those near death—and not one of them needed an anti-rejection drug (as is the case with islet transplantation).
The mainstream medical community may not have been impressed, but Iacocca was. And he wants you to be impressed, too. In fact, he wants you on his team.
$10 for a Diabetes Cure?
Iacocca is asking all of us to send $10 to get Faustman and her team started on the $11 million clinical trials. He figures there are about two million people with type 1 in this country. If half of them contribute just $10, the $10 million is raised. The other $1 million will come out of Iacocca’s pocket.
Iacocca promises that all of the money will go to translating Faustman’s research in people with type 1. Not to cover administrative expenses. Just for pure research.
I’m sending in my $10. And I’m also sending $10 for every person I have ever met who died from diabetes complications.
I think all of you should, as well. As Iacocca says in this month’s interview, “This looks like a horse we can bet a little bit of money on. Not the farm, but a little bit of money.”
29 Years with Diabetes
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