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Diabetes Transplant Summit experience - Part 1

I'm still just glowing from my experiences yesterday here in Bethesda.  It was a day full of new and exciting opportunities.  Beyond that, it felt like I was an important part of a group of people with a common desire to show the world how islet cell transplantation can change lives.

The day began at 7am.  Andi Stancik, the executive director of the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation picked up Dr. Hering and me at our hotel and transported us to her office which is in the same building as the Fox TV station.  We arrived early and were able to use the time planning what to say and just getting to know each other.  It was very special for me to be able to spend time with Dr. Hering.  Besides being dynamic, he is so personable that I was able to feel comfortable with him.  What an opportunity to be involved with a project such as this with someone that I admire so much.  Its an extraordinary experience that I enjoyed in the moment and will enjoy thinking back on.

During this time, I was also introduced to Dr. Walter Bortz.  Dr. Bortz has written several books and led a very interesting life.  He recently ran the Boston Marathon at age 80.  He was the moderator of the Transplant Summit and kept us all under control and entertained.

The TV interview went well.  Here is the link to our segment on  Fox at 5.   I was pretty nervous, but managed to get through it.  We were provided with possible questions which helped a lot.  Dr. Hering talked about the science of islet cell transplants and I told of my experience.  I have never been in a television studio before and that was interesting.  Its not what it looks like on TV.  The cameras make things look like the various sections are all linked together.  Actually they are separate islands.  The lighting was interesting too.  It really held things together.  The newscasters were very friendly and accommodating and I felt as much at ease as possible.  I watched them again this morning and they seemed somehow different and more professionally distant than they were in person.

 

When we returned to the hotel, Dr. Hering invited me to join him for breakfast.  I, of course, brought up the pig islet cells and he sounded very pleased with how the study was progressing.  He said that two transplants would be occurring today (in monkeys, not humans yet).  He is hoping to get enough transplants performed to get FDA approval to try with humans possibly sometime next year.

I have to temporarily end here and get to the airport.  I hope to get some pictures and a detailed description of the Transplant Summit soon.  We are heading to Tampa this evening with some friends.  I can't wait to see the palm trees and smell some salt air.  What a week!

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