‘Tis the season for shopping.  Shopping is fun.  Very fun.  And the idea of your spending habits benefiting medical research?  Hmmm … what’s that you say?

I had a chance to chat with Allie Beatty, creator of Shop4Cures and a blogger for The Diabetes Blog.Allie Beatty

Kerri:  What is your connection to the diabetes community?

Allie:  I was diagnosed with type I diabetes when I was 7 years old. I spent a majority of my childhood and adolescence (trying very hard) to ignore the disease. As I got older, I realized I needed to find a way to accept it, for the role it played in my life, and the things it has taught me.

Kerri:  What was the catalyst behind your website, Shop4Cures?  Tell me about your site.

Allie:  In 2005, I got the bad news from my diabetes management team every diabetic dreads: you’re pushing the limits and your kidneys aren’t looking so good. Rather than accept the consequences, I began investigating. I looked-under every proverbial rock found an answer I had waited my whole diabetic life to hear. The hope of a potential cure for type 1 diabetes will soon be ready for human trials. This was not a band-aid solution, like I’ve heard so many times before. I consider anything coupled with immunosuppressants to be a band-aid. The price tag to launch human trials was $1.5 million away from the total $11.5 million needed for phase I. So I decided to revamp the business objective of my site (formerly financial service related) to sweep sales commissions from online shopping to fund cure research. Shop4Cures is an affiliate shopping site that donates all sales commissions to nonprofit organizations researching cures for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and stroke. It’s a simple answer to a complicated problem. The problem is the growing cost of healthcare and the rising number of people affected by illnesses. Federal funding for cure research is strained and these dollars must come from another source, other than tax dollars. Why not fund a critical need from an already exorbitantly successful industry? Online shopping to fund medical research. It’s symbiotic economics.

Kerri:  People always note what inspires them.  What inspires you, in a diabetes sense?

Allie:  I’m inspired by people who can take the experiences they had with the disease and make it into an altruistic virus. Spread your sickness for the better. Does that seem twisted? Not to me. I’ve endured many battle-wounds with this disease. If I can take as many hits as I have (believe me, I’m no stranger to diabetic coma, stroke, or ketoacidosis) and still live to tell about it—my job on this planet is not over. In fact, given the opportunity that I have on thediabetesblog, it feels like I have a brand new opportunity to share anything and everything I’ve got. I am thankful for the things my life has afforded me, diabetes included. Don’t get me wrong: I won’t miss it when it’s gone. But for today, I will make the most of it.

Kerri:  In your opinion, what research method is on the best path towards a cure?

Allie:  Hands-down, Dr. Denise Faustman is the greatest hope I’ve seen in over 20 years. She has cured type I diabetes in non-obese mice. The diabetes was NOT imposed through the laboratory. Her clinical results were reproduced in other labs throughout the world. There is undeniable evidence that she has come closer with her research than any research I have seen or read about previously. The human trials will begin Phase 1 in about 18 months. Once it begins, I will be on it like white on rice. Dr. Faustman is my monument of hope for a type 1 cure.

Kerri:  Since your diagnosis, what are the Top Five Best Advances in Diabetes?

  1. The insulin pump
  2. Humalog
  3. Symlin
  4. Humility
  5. Maturity  

Kerri:  How do you feel about the blogging community?

Allie:  It’s like someone handed me a megaphone and said, “Let’s hear it.” Not to mention I’ll probably save myself a ton of money in therapy. Seriously, I love it. I love that people actually carewhat I have to say. Even if nobody reads my blogs– just play along with me. I’ll feel so much better

As for the rest of the blogging community—I love what I read in other blogs. You, Amy Tenderich, Allison Blass, Gina Capone…now I feel like a name dropper (and I hate people like that). In all seriousness, there is something inexplicably welcoming about a site you can go to, read people’s personal thoughts on a topic and think to yourself: THAT’S SO TRUE! Or in some cases, THAT’S COMPLETE HOGWASH! My point is: diabetes is now a topic of world-wide mention and the fact it has isles-and-isles for browsing on the Internet makes me feel all warm and cozyinside. I’m being a wiseass, but I hope you know what I mean. In such a technical place, we can all connect on personal levels with this disease. And I love the blogging community for making this possible.

Kerri:  Finish this sentence:  “Insulin, to me, smells like _________________.”

A household cleaner. I previously thought insulin smelled like Windex. However that statement is now untrue because SC Johnson keep adding new scented formulas. Insulin, to me, smells like old school glass cleaner.

Kerri:    If given the chance to have an aerial view of anything from the vantage point of a hot air balloon, what would you chose to fly over and why?

Allie:  I’d run reconnaissance to find where Osama bin Landen is hiding.

The Season for red and green stuff.
Thanks, Allie!  And what would you, Faithful Reader, choose to fly over in your hot air balloon?