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When Karen Floyd decided to leave a legacy donation to Diabetes Canada, she was primarily thinking about children and seniors living with diabetes.

Karen was barely more than a child herself when she was diagnosed with diabetes in 1973. Just 17 years old and still in high school, she was devastated when she was told she would have to carefully watch what she ate, count carbohydrates and inject herself with insulin. She says, “I was a teenager who wanted to have fun. This news felt like someone had taken a brick and bopped me on the head.”

Her one consolation was that she was not alone. Her 16-year-old sister was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at around the same time; their mother had received the same news just a few years earlier. About three years after Karen was first diagnosed with type 1, she was reassessed as having type 2 diabetes and switched from insulin injections to oral medications. Later, two more of her sisters were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

“Diabetes has been all around me all my life.” Karen says. She remembers having small green booklets with food exchanges that told the family what they could and could not eat. “And we had to weigh all our food, which drove me crazy.” Fortunately, there have been many advances in diabetes management since then.

Although Karen doesn’t have children, it bothers her to see young people having to cope with diabetes. “Their whole lives change when they are diagnosed with it,” she says. Through her legacy donation, she wants to support research that may one day prevent or cure diabetes.

Remembering her mother

Now 67 years old and living in Ottawa, Karen says her diabetes is fairly well managed with two oral diabetes medications. Still, as she gets older, she increasingly worries that her diabetes may worsen as her mother’s did in her later years. “Mom’s blood sugars started going up in her 60s and 70s, and she eventually had to start taking insulin. But then her blood sugars would drop too low [a potentially dangerous condition known as hypoglycemia],” Karen says. She remembers numerous episodes when her mother’s head would suddenly drop to her chest and Karen would have to try to force her to drink apple juice to quickly raise her blood sugar.

Seeing her mother and other older people struggling to manage their diabetes is the other reason Karen chose to name Diabetes Canada in her will. She says,

I am hoping research will find ways to make the lives of people with diabetes easier.

She adds, “Diabetes Canada will be able to use this money in so many different ways to help treat or prevent diabetes. It is a gift that will go on and on and on.”

Did you know?

Legacy giving is a way to leave a generous and lasting gift and support a cause you care about. Make Diabetes Canada an important part of your life story just as Karen Floyd has. Visit Leave a Legacy for Diabetes Canada now to learn more.


Author: Elizabeth Soutar

Category Tags: Impact Stories;

Region: National

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