When Liz Sacco’s nine-year-old son David was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011, she immediately looked for ways to manage the day-to-day routine of living with the disease. Liz created Diabetic Dabs™ to provide a clean, convenient product for blood glucose testing. Diabetic Dabs are disposable, highly absorbent sheets designed to fit into any blood glucose testing kit. We caught up with Liz to learn more about how her child’s diabetes inspired her to make a positive impact on the diabetes community.
What is your connection to type 1 diabetes?
My connection to diabetes is personal. My oldest son David was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of nine. As a family we were completely blindsided, because there is no history of diabetes in our family. It was very unfamiliar and overwhelming, yet instantly I became passionate about teaching my son the importance of using adversity to make you better not bitter.
What inspired you to create this product?
It truly is a story of “necessity is the mother of invention.” Being a typical nine-year-old boy who tested and still tests his blood minimally seven times a day, David would wipe the excess blood from his finger on his clothes or the inside of his case. I tried to put tissues in his case, which he inevitably would discard after one use. For such a simple problem, I was unable to come up with a simple solution. As a mother, I was not comfortable with David wiping his finger on these unclean surfaces. My inspiration came from being a mother of a child living with diabetes and instilling a healthy habit into his testing routine. My thought was, if I could bring value to my son, by developing a product to solve this problem, I could bring value to all those who live with diabetes.
Were you an entrepreneur before your son’s diagnosis, or did your desire to help other living with diabetes inspire you to create a business?
Prior to having children, I was a financial advisor, and once I had children, I became a stay at home mom. I had no entrepreneurial background, but it is amazing how some of your most difficult challenges allow you the greatest opportunity. Becoming a member of the diabetes community allowed me to try my best in making a positive difference in life, and more specifically something that is meaningful to me. I was inspired when I saw what the day-to-day life looked like for those living with this disease. Diabetes is a twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year disease, and it does not take a break. To watch children and adults live with such resolve is remarkable. The business was a result of my inspiration. The business enabled me to contribute to the diabetes community by donating a portion of the proceeds to diabetes research and hopefully provide a valuable product to their testing routine.
What advice would you give families with a newly diagnosed child?
First, there is no one to blame. Type 1 diabetes is not a result of something that a parent or child did wrong. Second, it is okay to be scared and overwhelmed, so do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions. The diabetes community has such great people who are there for help and support. You certainly are not alone in this, reach out and ask for what you need. Lastly, it is manageable and you can live life to the fullest. Be cognitive to stay positive, do not fall victim to the disease, but rather stand up to it!
How can parents get involved in diabetes advocacy?
There are so many ways that parents can get involved in diabetes advocacy. Organizations such as the American Diabetes Association and JDRF offer advocacy groups and volunteering opportunities. The diabetes online community (DOC) consists of websites like Glu and bloggers who offer helpful tips and tremendous support. There is so much available to parents, it really is a matter of what path they choose.
What do you hope your children learn from your leadership and support of the diabetes community?
I hope they learn the importance of giving back and trying to make a positive difference in this world. To count their blessings and not take their health for granted. To show them the importance of helping and supporting others in need. Lastly, staying positive is a must, and I hope they will not to be afraid to go after what they want in life!