Community News
May 22, 2018 By Denise Barnard
Banting House – home to the discovery that changed the world

After reading Breakthrough, the story of 11-year-old Elizabeth Hughes, who received insulin injections shortly after Dr. Banting and Dr. Best’s discovery, Samantha Redden told her mom, Grace Curtis, she wanted to go to “this special place where insulin was discovered.” Grace’s research led her to Banting House National Historic Site of Canada, and she started planning their five-and-a-half hour trip from Ohio to London, Ont. When they got there, a surprise was waiting for Samantha: a personalized brick that says, “Samantha Redden T1D 4-1997 UR Strong.”

Samantha was so touched by her parents’ gift that she burst into tears. “Seeing that brick made me feel so special. It communicated to me that my parents know what I'm dealing with on a day-to-day basis. They know it takes a lot of hard work and they know that it's not easy.”

In 1997 at the age of nine, Samantha began losing weight, going to the bathroom and being thirsty all the time. She doesn’t recall feeling that bad, but Grace knew something was wrong: her research pointed to type 1 diabetes, which was confirmed by the doctor. “I'm grateful my mom caught on so early before I ended up very sick,” says Samantha, who is now 30.

There was no history of type 1 diabetes in her family, and the only thing Samantha knew about the disease came from the character Stacey in the movie, The Baby-Sitters Club, who lived with type 1 diabetes and had to eat a chocolate bar while on a hike. Her parents jumped in with both feet, learning all they could about the disease and finding support by connecting with other families.

A few years ago, Samantha started celebrating World Diabetes Day (November 14) and the discovery of insulin. Two years ago, she and two friends who also live with type 1 diabetes got blue circle tattoos on their wrists. “Type 1 diabetes is a big part of who I am. I often tell myself things could be worse but I also have bad days and defeating moments.,” she says, adding, “I spend a lot of my time reaching out to others living with T1D to let them know it's OK to be frustrated and feel defeated, and that they're not alone. [My] brick is a reminder to me that I'm not alone either.”

Samantha Redden (pictured above) lives in Ohio with her family.

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