Orlando, Florida - Carol and Mark A. Atkinson, PhD, of Insulin for Life USA, are the recipients of the American Diabetes Association’s® (ADA’s) Humanitarian Award. This one-time award honors their outstanding leadership and humanitarian efforts to support the diabetes community for the Diabetes Emergency Relief Coalition in 2017. The Atkinsons were recognized with the award today at the ADA’s 78th Scientific Sessions, June 22-26, 2018, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.
Led by Director Carol Atkinson, Insulin for Life USA was instrumental in coordinating and providing diabetes supplies to emergency relief centers in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean to assist those impacted by the three sequential, and devastating hurricanes in 2017—Harvey, Irma and Maria. Insulin for Life USA served as the cornerstone of the Diabetes Emergency Response Coalition, the ADA’s landmark partnership of eight leading diabetes care and research organizations that came together to provide urgent aid, information and resources to residents in the affected areas. Through Insulin for Life USA’s efforts, more than 4,600 pounds of diabetes supplies were provided to the millions impacted by the sequential Atlantic hurricanes.
“Mark and I have been esteemed colleagues for more than 30 years, and when we first spoke about the horrible flooding that was occurring in Houston in the first 24 hours after Hurricane Harvey’s landfall and the devastating impact it would have on people with diabetes given my experience with Hurricane Katrina in South Louisiana, I didn’t even have to ask him if he would join with the ADA to provide support, Mark actually finished my sentence! He and his wife Carol jumped into action immediately, and the first truckload of diabetes supplies left their warehouse within three days,” said the ADA’s Chief Scientific, Medical & Mission Officer William T. Cefalu, MD. “Of course, the response coalition encountered interesting challenges after each hurricane—whether it was the semi-truck stuck on the closed I-10 outside of Houston or the hand-delivered shipment of supplies to physicians in Puerto Rico via private plane—through it all Carol and Mark were resourceful, committed and determined to do everything they could to help people with diabetes. Thank you, Carol and Mark. You are an inspiration, and I am proud to have you as partners and dear colleagues in the ADA’s continued efforts to support everyone living with and affected by diabetes, especially when disasters occur.”
Insulin for Life USA, a non-profit organization based in Gainesville, Florida, provides diabetes medications and supplies to individuals with diabetes around the world who lack access due to a variety of reasons, most often due to severe financial limitations. Insulin for Life USA also seeks to aid those living with diabetes domestically by distributing supplies including life-saving insulin, glucose meters and strips, syringes and glucagon kits to professional agencies within the United States in times of natural disaster. Insulin for Life USA also collects unexpired, unopened diabetes supplies and certifies them for redistribution to those in need. Dr. Atkinson and Carol Atkinson serve as the President of the Board of Directors and Director of Insulin for Life USA, respectively. For more information about Insulin for Life USA’s efforts, visit ifl-usa.org.