The example of positivity and support that Tina Trotter and her family have made of themselves in Winnipeg’s diabetes community over the years has been noticed by many. That’s why it was a natural choice when she and the members of her immediate family were recognized by the Canadian Diabetes Association (Manitoba & Nunavut) with the Kerry Pearlman Inspiration Award* in May 2010.
Diabetes directly impacts three generations of Tina’s family: her mother Helen, sister Carmen, brother in-law Maurice and nephew Jonathan. And Tina herself was diagnosed 23 years ago with type 1 diabetes. Together they demonstrate that diabetes is indeed a family affair, and can be managed with teamwork, heart and optimism. All members of the family live active lives, maintain positive attitudes and manage their diabetes with grace.
“This is a lifelong disease that requires daily attention,” says Tina. “In my case, and for most diabetics with type 1 diabetes, there are many finger pokes - many times sitting and deciding, calculating how much insulin to take before each meal, deciding what to eat at each meal and so forth.” She notes that in some cases there is flexibility - carbs and treats can be enjoyed - and stresses the importance of the discovery and advancement of insulin.
“We’ve come a long way with respect to our insulin,” says Tina, “but I would like to see me and my immediate family members have the ability to eat and exercise in a more carefree way.”
* Kerry Pearlman lived with type 1 diabetes, and underwent a kidney transplant, faced cancer, endured several amputations on his feet and experienced significant loss of vision. Nevertheless, he always put on a brave face and never complained. As a senior Crown Attorney he accomplished many things in his career with the Manitoba Department of Justice. He was a lecturer at the Manitoba Law Society and a much sought-after mentor for students and young lawyers. Recognized for his extensive volunteer work in the community, Kerry served on several boards and acted as legal advisor and mentor to many. For more than six years, he demonstrated a strong commitment to the Canadian Diabetes Association; serving on the Division Board of Directors and as the Chair of the Advocacy Committee. His dedication to ensuring diabetes was a top issue for health care providers and politicians never waivered. Kerry’s greatest strength was in the positive energy he created and his ability to influence and inspire those around him. He was a true leader as he continued his work for others while enduring his own medical challenges. The legacy he left is one of bravery, inner strength and inspiration. Kerry lost his battle with diabetes due to complications at age 47.