This post was originally produced for Forbes.
This one is personal. I apologize now, but understand that I simply can’t be entirely objective about type 1 diabetes or T1D. My wife has had diabetes for over fifty years and my son has had it for nearly two decades.
Improved treatments have largely spared my son the sorts of debilitating consequences my wife has experienced, but hasn’t spared him from multiple daily injections, finger pricks, and the cumbersome tethers of insulin pumps and glucose monitors.
Derek Rapp, the CEO of JDRF, says that the organization dedicated to finding a cure for T1D is making progress.
Like me, he says, “JDRF was created—and is still led—by people with a personal connection to type 1 diabetes.”
Rapp adds, “It’s an exciting time for type 1 diabetes research, JDRF is on the verge of life changing breakthroughs that will fundamentally improve the way people live with type 1 diabetes. This progress isn’t by accident and, in fact, it directly reflects the vision, focus and investments of JDRF over the last decade.”
“Our work has led to new treatments for diabetic eye disease, the creation of first-generation artificial pancreas systems, and the first human clinical trial of encapsulated cell-replacement therapies that have the potential to replace insulin treatment,” he continues.
“Every dollar we direct toward our mission comes from our supporters and donors, who enable us to make real progress and propel us toward our goal of a world without type 1 diabetes,” he concludes.
On Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 11:00 Eastern, Rapp will join me for a live discussion about the JDRF’s progress toward finding a cure for T1D. Tune in here then to watch the interview live. Post questions in the comments below or tweet questions before the interview to @devindthorpe.
More about JDRF:
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested nearly $2 billion in research funding since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers in more than 100 locations throughout the United States and our six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D.
Derek Rapp is President and Chief Executive Officer of JDRF. Prior to his appointment in 2014, Derek served as Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors for JDRF International and was formally JDRF Research Chair. He has been involved in the research funding and oversight activities of JDRF since 2005.
From early 2001 until February 2011, Derek was Chief Executive Officer of Divergence, Inc., a science-based company finding solutions in the prevention and control of pest infections. He led the successful sale of the company in February 2011. As CEO of Divergence, Derek’s main responsibilities included developing and implementing the company’s strategy, ensuring suitable financing of the company, implementing relationships with licensees and collaborators, and overseeing operations.
Derek has also been an active volunteer with numerous leadership roles in different organizations, including JDRF International.
Derek holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University with concentrations in Economics and German and a Master in Business Administration from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Derek is married to Emily Rapp, and they have three children (Helen – 23, Turner – 21, who was diagnosed with T1D in 2004, and William – 18).