MARK WAGNER, of Marlinton, recently received the Lilly Diabetes Journey Award. The award recognizes Wagner, who has successfully managed his Type 1 diabetes for the past 50 years. He is pictured with PMH Public Relations and Special Events Coordinator Susan Wilkins. PMH photo

Susan Wilkins
PMH Public Relations

The Pocahontas Diabetes Support Group met April 16 for a “special program” that resulted in a special award being presented to Mark Wagner, of Marlinton, who has lived with Type 1 diabetes since 1969. Sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, the Lilly Diabetes Journey Awards program recognizes people with Type 1 diabetes who have successfully managed diabetes with insulin for 10, 25, 50 or 75 years. The awards are meant to honor those who have long been successful, but also to inspire others to believe they can do it, too.

Those who receive Lilly Diabetes Journey Awards are a testament to all people with diabetes that learning how to manage their health and adapting to the ever-changing technology of diabetes care can lead to a long and successful diabetes journey. Prior to the invention of insulin in the 1920s, people diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes had no hope of survival. Science has proven over the past four decades that this no longer has to be the case, with the true outcomes being in the patient’s control.

In Mark’s time since being diagnosed, he saw the first blood glucose meters marketed for home use in 1981, the introduction of A1c tests, and until 1982, only beef and pork insulins were available for treatment.

Mark helped co-found the Pocahontas County Diabetes Support Group nearly 20 years ago, and has made it his mission to educate other people with diabetes and anyone else that he might encounter along the way – often at the Pocahontas IGA, where he works. Mark was instrumental in helping Pocahontas Memorial Hospital establish a successful outreach project during National Diabetes Month during which PMH staff share healthy, diabetes-friendly food samples and recipes with shoppers at Pocahontas IGA throughout the day.

Mark serves as a Med-tronic Ambassador and is able to offer support and answer questions for people who are considering pump therapy or need more information related to their pump therapy.

After receiving his award, Mark expressed his extreme appreciation for his wife, Terry.

In Mark’s words, there are very few people who “model their career path after their spouse’s disease.” Terry is a Certified Diabetes Educator at PMH and counsels dozens of patients who are diagnosed with diabetes.

Mark is a true inspiration to those who know him and of his journey with diabetes.

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