Meet Elliot Brown – 67 years with T1D

Elliot Brown

Dear Friends,

I can only hope that what follows will provide encouragement to all those living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) to do their best to manage their diabetes.

On August 15, 1947, I was diagnosed with T1D. I had lost 25 pounds in two weeks, while working at a factory to earn tuition for my second year at the University of Minnesota. The two weeks of intense training as an in-patient at St. Joseph Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, was excellent preparation for this life-long journey.

The actuarial tables when I was diagnosed gave a life span of 50 years for type 1 patients, and at age 18, that was not good news. I was working my way through school while learning about boiling syringes and adjusting to testing urine in a test tube with benedict solution to see if the color was orange, green, or blue. Orange meant high sugar over 400, green meant little, or blue meant none. Holding the test tube over the gas stove with tongs was tricky. Later came tablets to drop in test tubes with drops of urine, and then test tape. Then, in the late 60’s, came the meter which was able to measure glucose levels with blood and gave a more accurate result. Today, I have the Dexcom CGM, which indicates real time actual numbers and alerts me with the graphs, warnings, and vibrations… simply put, we now have the tools to manage a full and complete active life in any field of endeavor.

My motto is “be normal” and throughout my 67 years of living well with T1D I have felt no different from any of my contemporaries. I have tried to maintain as close to normal blood sugars as is safe, and at age 86, try to get to the gym at least four days a week to have a vigorous workout. I am a part of the Joslin 50-Year Medalist Study to provide them with my body to study the effects of T1D of over 67 years on my brain, eyes, and organs. Hopefully they will discover something that will help others live better.

Thank you for reading my story. Because of donors, like you, Breakthrough T1D has funded research that has helped keep me healthy and made managing T1D easier and safer. But we still need a cure! Participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes will bring us closer to that goal. I look forward to seeing you on August 2nd.

Elliot Brown

To join Elliot in the Walk to Cure Diabetes visit: