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Wall of Honor, UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence

Many UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence patients have inspiring perspectives and incredible achievements of their own to share. Each month, we honor a patient who is successfully managing their diabetes. Candidates for pediatric and adult "Patient Honorees" are nominated by their care team. In the Diabetes Center of Excellence waiting area, you'll find displayed photographs and testimonials of those selected for recognition. We hope they inspire and encourage others living with diabetes. 

  • September 16, 2019 kitty carruthers diabetes success story

    Kitty Carruthers

    U.S. Olympian and four time National Figure Skating Champion, Kitty Carruthers doesn’t allow diabetes to stand in the way of her life. With determination to succeed perfected in international competitions, Kitty is also determined to succeed in staying healthy. Dr. David Harlan has been seeing her for many years and together they have kept her blood sugars within a healthy target range.  FULL STORY & VIDEO

  • September 01, 2019 Cameron


    Cameron was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 22 months old.  Like many 7 year-olds he enjoys playing sports. He and his family do a wonderful job keeping his blood sugars in a healthy range.  Cameron's story includes going to diabetes camp, throwing out the first pitch at JDRF night at the Paw Sox and the school project which rewarded him a fun experience.  FULL STORY

  • August 01, 2019 Alyce Sneddon

    Alyce Sneddon

    Alyce decided to take control of her diabetes after years of neglecting it.  Her complications from uncontrolled blood sugars includes diabetic neuropathy in her legs with very little feeling below the knees.  She recently developed kidney problems and after her uncle passed away from kidney disease as the result of diabetes complications, she decided to take action.  LEARN MORE

  • July 01, 2019 Emilie Cloutier, Diabetes care at UMass Memorial

    Emilie Cloutier, RN

    Emilie Cloutier, RN, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was only 13 months old, so she’s never known life without it.  Now, 25 years later, she’s a pediatric nurse at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence in addition to being a patient in the adult diabetes clinic.  FULL STORY

  • June 15, 2019 Sophie


    Sophie admits that living with diabetes can be challenging.  She experienced “diabetes burnout” around the age of 13.  Today the recent high school graduate is the volunteer co-chair of the American Diabetes Association’s Youth Leadership Program and she interacts with and mentors other young people from throughout New England living with type 1 diabetes.  FULL STORY

  • June 01, 2019 nicole johnson miss america diabetes

    Nicole Johnson - Miss America 1999

    Nicole Johnson won the Miss America title in 1999.  She became the first Miss America with type 1 diabetes and the first contestant to publicize the use of an insulin pump.  Today Nicole is a nationally recognized diabetes advocate, National Director of JDRF Mission, and one of the biggest supporters of the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence.  READ MORE

  • May 01, 2019 Paying it Forward: T1D Warrior Bags

    Paying it Forward: T1D Warrior Bags

    Braden and Colby were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in successive years.  They are united not only by T1D, but also by how their kindness inspired each other to "Pay it Forward."  FULL STORY

  • April 01, 2019 Ed Adamson

    Ed Adamson

    Edward Adamson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1967 at the age of 5.  Uncontrolled blood sugars during during his youth led to kidney failure and eventually a transplant at age 35.  Diabetes education from UMass DCOE has him now living a healthy lifestyle and embracing technology, which recently brought his A1c down to 6.9%.  FULL STORY    

  • March 01, 2019 Diabetes Patient Success Story

    John Gianette

    John lost nearly 25 pounds in just over a month.  His primary care physician referred him to the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence, where he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  His blood sugar was above 500 with an A1c near 13%.  John and his care team developed a plan to get those number into a healthy range.  His second A1c was down to 5.4% with an average blood glucose of 94!  FULL STORY

  • February 06, 2019 Rick Becker

    Rick Becker

    Rick Becker was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 31, with an A1c of 12%.  Today, 19 years after diagnosis, his A1c remains between 6-7%!  Rick's story speaks to the importance of respecting your diabetes and its many potential complications. It also shows us that despite challenges, one can still do the things they enjoy.  His strength and perseverance is contagious. FULL STORY
  • February 01, 2019 Sean Busby

    Sean Busby - Riding on Insulin

    Sean Busby is a professional snowboarder living with type 1 diabetes, who travels to remote corners of the world on snowboarding expeditions. While training for the 2010 Olympics, he endured a complicated diagnosis of T1D. He's since founded Riding On Insulin – a nonprofit organization that hosts action sports programs for kids, teenagers, and adults living with T1D. Each winter, they hold an all-day camp for young people living T1D and their siblings at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, MA.  FULL STORY

  • January 01, 2019 Tim Weeden Diabetes Triathalon

    Tim Weeden

    Tim was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 8 years old.  Now 41, he has maintained an A1c between 5.8 – 7% for the past 30 years.  His interest in the science of disease progression led to a career as a research scientist.  He also participates in full ironman races, and does not let his diabetes get in the way.  FULL STORY  

  • December 14, 2018 Gian-Carlo


    Gian-Carlo was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) during the summer of 2015 after completing 6th grade. He enjoys soccer, snowboarding, and skateboarding.  Over time and with plenty of experimentation, Gian-Carlo and his mother have worked with the UMass diabetes care team to get his blood sugars under control.  FULL STORY

  • December 01, 2018 Jane Bennett

    Jane Bennett

    Jane Bennett was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes exactly one week from her 31st birthday.  She was advised by her PCP to see Dr. Richard Haas at the UMass DCOE.  Jane had been trying to get pregnant, and was told to stop, until she could get her A1c from 15% to below 7%.  That was all the motivation she needed.  Dr. Haas strongly recommended that she begin using an insulin pump, to help get her glucose under control.  Within 6 months, her A1c was down to 7…and she was able to get pregnant right away!  “I love Dr. Haas,” she said.  “He calmed me down and assured me I can have a baby and live a normal life with diabetes. He called me every week during my pregnancy.”  READ MORE 

  • November 05, 2018 T.J.


    TJ was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in August 2017 at the age of 4.  He began full day Kindergarten this year, and his numbers are doing very well.  Since diagnosis, he has become more social due to all the interactions with his care team and caregivers.  They get to see his silly, funny, and larger than life personality. When asked about his diabetes, TJ explains, “I take shots because my pancreas broke.  I’m still regular.”  FULL STORY  

  • November 01, 2018 Sandy Grone

    Sandy Grone

    Sandy Grone was originally diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in her early 70’s by her primary care physician in Florida.  She was scared and overwhelmed by all the new information being thrown at her.  After moving to Central MA with her daughter’s family 6 years later, started seeing Dr. Nina Rosano at the UMass DCOE, and Dr. Rosano correctly diagnosed her with type 1 diabetes! 

  • October 01, 2018 Dan Falcone

    Dan Falcone

    Dan struggled with the fear and sadness that came with his type 2 diabetes diagnosis.  After 10 years of taking oral medication, his weight and A1c were both heading in the wrong direction…up.   He was put on insulin by his primary care physician in Ohio, where he resides, but did not feel that he was receiving the support necessary to get healthy.  Dan's diabetes control greatly improved after he reconnected with his high school friend, David Harlan, MD

  • September 01, 2018 Frank Caputo

    Frank Caputo

    Frank was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after arriving to the Emergency Room with a blood glucose over 800, and very close to a diabetic coma.  Within six months, he has lost 55 pounds and his A1c fell from over 13% to below 6%.  Frank is no longer taking insulin.  Committing to a lifestyle change has literally added years to his life.  READ MORE

  • August 17, 2018 David Peterson Worcester Bravehearts

    Dave Peterson - Worcester Bravehearts General Manager

    Better known as "Peterman" to Central MA Baseball fans, Dave is the General Manager of the three time Champion Worcester Bravehearts.  He used humor and his great personality to tell his story about being diagnosed with type 1, and living with diabetes.  WATCH VIDEO

  • August 01, 2018 Bruno Graizzaro

    Bruno Graizzaro

    Bruno Graizzaro was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2006 at the age of 50.  His weight had crept to almost 300 pounds.  With several lifestyle modifications over the past 18 months, he has lost more than 50 pounds, has come off insulin and off of other diabetes medications, and now has great blood glucose control.  READ MORE  

  • July 01, 2018 July Wall of Honor Success Story

    Karen Wright

    Karen Wright was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003.  Several medications either did not help or made her ill from side effects.  With an A1c over 13%, Karen felt weak and tired and was underweight. After moving back to the Worcester area in 2012, she began receiving care at the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence.  Her A1c is currently at 7.2% and she credits her care team with “going above and beyond".  READ MORE

  • June 29, 2018 Hailey Lowe

    Hailey Lowe

    Hailey Lowe was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of six.  She is now an active high school student living everyday with her new normal.  Hailey describes in her own words, the events leading up to her diagnosis, as well as the three days she spent at the UMass Pediatric Diabetes Care Center, receiving a slew of tests and the news that would forever change her life.  READ MORE

  • June 01, 2018 Teresa Harackiewicz

    Teresa Harackiewicz

    Teresa was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2006.  On November 10, 2017 she met with Dr. Malkani in the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence clinic, and her A1c was at 7.5%, which was the highest it had been since her T2D diagnosis.  During the past 6 months, thanks to a new healthy lifestyle, she has already lost 25 pounds and dropped 3 dress sizes!  READ MORE

  • May 21, 2018 Sophia Binici football diabetes

    Sophia Binici

    Sophia was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 12 ½ years old.  She recently celebrated 10 years of making the most out of life with diabetes.  In high school she proved that T1D has no limits when she became the first girl in her school’s history to play and score points for the otherwise all-boys varsity football team.  Last year, Sophia graduated from Elon University and is currently working at UMASS Medical School as a Clinical Research Assistant. She hopes to one day become a pediatric endocrinologist or diabetes educator so that she can help children through the challenges of growing up with diabetes. 

  • May 01, 2018 Donald Blette

    Donald Blette

    Donald was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1967 at the age of 26.  At age 56, he transitioned from shots to an insulin pump, which he says was life changing. “We are very proud of Donald,” says Dr. Nina Rosano.  “His perseverance pays off.  His type 1 diabetes is approaching 51 years with an A1c range between 6.3 - 7.1 and minimal complications.  I hope his positive story and his personal example will move other patients to stay closely connected with their medical team.”  READ MORE

  • April 01, 2018 Barbara Barton

    Barbara Barton

    Barbara was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1992 following surgery for gallstone pancreatitis.  She had been treated by a number of doctors over the years for her diabetes, however her A1c spiraled out of control.   She moved her care to the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence in 2011 with an A1c of 10%.  Today her A1c is down to 6.7%!  READ MORE 

  • March 01, 2018 Sandra Gruca

    Sandra Gruca

    Sandy has been living with type 1 diabetes for 34 years.  After many years, she finally agreed to use an insulin pump, for which she credits the healthy birth of her three children.  Years later, she agreed to wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor, which she calls “a game changer”.  Sandy’s determination to control her diabetes was fueled ten years ago, when her middle child was diagnosed with T1D at the age of four.  She credits her UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence care team who “truly understand how difficult diabetes management can be and respect those of us living with it everyday.”  READ MORE

  • February 01, 2018 Christine Croteau

    Christine Croteau

    Since her diagnosis with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of 31, Christine Croteau has not let the disease control her.  She continues to find new ways to challenge herself through mind, body and soul.  She credits her support system, including the UMass DCOE for her ongoing athletic achievement. Her impressive artwork titled “Flights of Freedom: Diabetic Test Strips Metamorphosis into Butterflies” was recently featured in an art gallery  FULL STORY, VIDEO AND PHOTOS

  • January 01, 2018 Julie Kozlowski

    Julie Kozlowski

    Julie Kozlowski was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 3. A year later she experienced a low sugar seizure which resulted in temporary paralysis. After that experience Julie began struggling to manage her diabetes.  Julie is very grateful to “her team” consisting of Dr. Harlan, Dr. Thompson, and her diabetes educator.  READ MORE


  • September 01, 2017 David Blodgett, PhD

    David Blodgett, PhD

    David is unique among the DCOE patients. He has a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and is a research scientist at the UMass Medical School.  He was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 3.  Today he's a healthy adult who focuses his scientific career on finding the cure for diabetes.  READ MORE

  • August 01, 2017 Jennifer Schneider Diabetes

    Jennifer Schneider, MD, MS

    Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12, Jennifer never allowed the disease to stop her from doing things she loved, including Division 1 collegiate track and cross country and eventually climbing Kilimanjaro.  READ MORE

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