Tom Karlya - Diabetes Dad


Diabetes Dad

Tom picTom Karlya has been active in diabetes causes since his daughter, Kaitlyn, was diagnosed in 1992 at the age of two.  His son Rob was also diagnosed in March of 2009 at the age of thirteen. Tom has lectured internationally and chaired many panels about being a Diabetes Dad, his pen name used virtually everywhere. Over the years he has been featured or quoted in numerous publications such as Newsday, USA Today, Diabetes Health, Parent Guide Weekly, and The Los Angeles Times, to name a few.

As a diabetes advocate, Tom has been introduced to the New York State Capitol, testified in Washington, D.C., appeared at diabetes-related events at the United Nations, and has served as a panelist or keynote speaker at numerous diabetes events internationally.

He has written and/or produced public service announcements for diabetes causes featuring celebrities such as Ray Romano, Sugar Ray Leonard, Doris Roberts, Nicole Johnson (Miss America 1999), Sandra Oh, Patti LaBelle, Peter Boyle, Brett Michaels, and Jim Turner. Tom was awarded the prestigious Jeff Hitchcock Distinguish Service Award from The Children with Diabetes in 2008, Man of the Year by The LI Advertising Club, and Diabetes Advocate of the Year by the American Association of Diabetes Educators. As Producer of dLifeTV he was nominated for an Emmy Award, awarded 13 Telly (former Cable Ace) Awards, 4 nominations and a win for The Best in Medical Media; The FREDDIE Award. He also received numerous commendations, including congratulations from the president of the United States for his work in the Katrina efforts where he was instrumental in organizing relief efforts to over 10,000 people with diabetes. He was the recipient of The George Estabrook Award from his Alma Mater of Hofstra University for his work in diabetes and television.

As an actor, for 12 years, he starred in the New York City Production of Tony 'N Tina's Wedding, working with the original NY Company and also at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., in Summer of the 17th Doll. His film, lbs., was seen at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival. Tom has also appeared in Unsolved Mysteries, Spin City, The Cosby Show, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, America's Most Wanted, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and other shows as well as numerous commercials.

Tom is presently the Vice President of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation in Florida. He resides on Long Island and may be contacted at You can also like his Diabetes Dad Facebook page to keep up with his advocacy efforts.

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dLife's Daily Living columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: March 15, 2016

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

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by Brenda Bell
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...
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