Diabetes Dad

The 2013 Lisa Awards

Heroes who exemplify The Power of One

Tom picBy Tom Karlya

May 2013 — 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. To 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.

If you haven't heard Lisa's story, here it is!

She was diagnosed with cancer, Lisa and Mark (her husband, who is as close to me as any brother) shared their writings with a hundred or so friends and family members, all of whom were inspired by each word. People learned, shared, and were in awe of their strength and dedication.

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. Soon 3,500 people were following Lisa's story at every turn, both the good and the bad. Both Lisa and Mark were so brave 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 and they ran the story of her incredible efforts to teach others on the evening news. 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.

The war would go on with Lisa and Mark's teaching. Her "power of one" changes lives to this day.

This column, surrounding Lisa's birthday month, pays tribute to those who understand Lisa's philosophy of the power of one person. Because I am more versed with the happenings inside the diabetes community, my Lisa Awards are given to those people who live Lisa's determination to make a difference with the "power of one" in the diabetes community. 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 — they know and understand the power of one.

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Last Modified Date: November 19, 2013

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