Diabetes Dad

The 2011 Lisa Awards

Honoring those who exemplify the power of one.

Tom picBy Tom Karlya

May 2011 — Well it's time once again for my Lisa Awards. Each May/June, in honor of my friend Lisa Carlinsky, I bestow my Lisa Awards — kudos to people who understand the power of one person; people who, in their own way are changing the world, just like Lisa did.


My friend Lisa passed away in 2009 at the young age of 36; she battled cancer longer than any doctor thought she would. Through her life I learned a hugely powerful phrase that will live inside me forever, along with Lisa's memory: The power of one person.

To remind people again of Lisa's story:

Lisa and Mark shared their writings with a hundred or so friends and family members, all of whom were inspired with each word. And then something happened.

People who were not part of the inner circle started reading the blog posts, and those people became inspired. The hundred readers became five hundred. In no time the number of readers rose to 1,000, then 1,500, and soon 3,500 people were following Lisa's story. Both Lisa and Mark were so inspiring in the face of incredible tragedy that they inspired others to do the same. And then something else happened.

A TV station found out about Lisa's story and they ran the story on the evening news. Now millions heard her story and were inspired by the magic she possessed — the determination to live life and taste every last drop. Sadly, Lisa's valiant battle was lost, but not before millions heard about it.

This column, which will be up all throughout June, Lisa's birthday month, pays tribute to those who understand Lisa's philosophy of the power of one person. These people don't do it — whatever it is — for only themselves, they do it because they think it will make a difference in the lives of those with diabetes. Lisa's words live in these special people.

And this year, in honor of Mother's Day, they're all moms.

My first award this year goes to Moira McCarthy Stanford, who through one simple writing on a blog had Senator Scott Brown from Massachusetts not only apologizing, but agreeing to a one-on-one meeting to discuss diabetes and how its impact on Moira's family may be important enough to hear about. Moira is a woman who calls it the way she sees it, and is a direct from the hip kinda gal. Her power of one had thousands of people voicing that an injustice was done. More will follow.

My second award this year goes to someone who oversees not only my writings, but every written and spoken word at dLife. Her name is Paula Ford-Martin. Paula is a brilliant writer and has written quite a few books about diabetes, but her real strength is her integrity. In the very cynical world of media, dLife content is overseen by one of the best heart and minds in the business. With her power of one, she continues to strive to hold on to that fine line of what's important and what's for sale. Patients with diabetes win out because of her due diligence.

bonnieMy third award this year goes to one of the most tireless women I have ever met. Not just for how much she wants to find a cure for diabetes, but her generosity is only outdone by her warm spirit and desire to help anyone in need. Her name is Bonnie Inserra. Bonnie is as beautiful as she is smart, and she not only chairs major events for the Diabetes Research Institute in New York and links researchers together as she did with Hackensack Hospital and the University of Miami, she will also take the time when a friend is in need and open every resource she has to make a difference. Helping, one life at a time. Never have I met anyone who captured the spirit of these Lisa Awards than Bonnie Inserra, who works day and night to help people, and does it without fanfare.

jenMy fourth Lisa Award goes to Jen Nicholson. The Nicholson's son, Trent, lost his battle in the fight against diabetes. Although this crushing blow that could never know the meaning of the words mended heart, which would send almost anyone else in hiding forever, this incredible registered nurse continues to serve people and not only in her community but elsewhere. Recently I had the honor to speak with her while she was waiting for her husband Bob to come home from work to say hello online. Where was she? She was giving her time in Haiti helping those still in need of medical care. Her life is an inspiration and her power of one is contagious.

My fifth and final Lisa Award this year goes to Amy Tenderich. There are bloggers, writers, online journalists, and so many of them are so good at what they do. In a category of one, showing the power of one, is Amy's Diabetes Mine. Amy's blog is so much more than writing what she merely feels; she reports what is going on when something is new and usually faster than any health writer out there. She gets her facts correct, and on the rare occasion there is a mistake, she comes right out and says this is what was reported and it should have been reported in this manner, correction done. Diabetes Mine is the NY Times equivalent in the online community and her voice is needed to continually report from her point of view as a person with diabetes in a way everyone can understand. She is the standard of excellence to which the bar is raised, and she does it day in and day out.

So these are my Lisa Award choices this year. Five incredible women, who with the power of one, change the world they touch every day. Happy Mother's Day.

I'm a Diabetes Dad.

Read more of Tom Karlya's Diabetes Dad columns here.

Like Tom's Facebook page.


dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: June 12, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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