RIP Barbara Bancroft

brian mike and barbara diabetes aade philly 2013

Left to right: Brain, Me and Barbara at AADE 2013 in Philly

The world lost a really great woman today.

Barbara Bancroft was known to many people as jrtpup on TuDiabetes. Barbara has been a wonderful volunteer for TuDiabetes and the Diabetes Hands Foundation (my employer) where she was part of the admin team.  She frequently complimented me on the art and design I have done for the site (including the cartooned version of her below) and has put in countless hours helping shape the content of the TuDiabetes Community.

Yesterday she lost her battle with cancer and passed away with her family around her.  I hope she knows that hundreds of us had her in our thoughts as well.

Barbara treated me like a son, and it wasn’t until I started reading all of the messages from the grieving community members that I have realized that many people also considered their bond with Barbara to be extra special.

Go to TuDiabetes and share your memories, thoughts on Barbara’s influence.
rip barbara bancroft diabetes tudiabetese

The conversation on the TuDiabetes thread I linked to above is really positive, so I’m going to avoid posting the negative thoughts that I’m having there.  But Barbara’s passing does remind me of something that I’ve been thinking of lately and I’ll share it here.  I feel that my bullshit reward for taking care of my diabetes, in the way that Barbara so diligently took care of her diabetes, is that I will get to die the “regular” way.  And that’s not encouraging at all.

Late last year when diabetes advocate Emilio Fernandez died in a car accident I had similar feelings.  While I didn’t know Emilio in the same way that I know and love Barbara, it’s just a startling reminder that life is short and fleeting despite how well you take care of your diabetes. Living with a chronic condition is relentless, and at times like this I feel that we never really win.

Sorry for the bleak post.  Now I’m going to go celebrate the awesomeness of @jrtpup with my TuDiabetes friends.

This is the one with TuD and a fundraiser.

Meet TuD:


I created TuD for The Diabetes Hands Foundation.  He is the visual representation of – which is a social network of people touched by diabetes that just turned 6 years old.

Cartoon TuD photobombs Emily and Lancet The pug

TuD Photobombs Emily and Lancet The Pug

The Diabetes Hands Foundation is an awesome nonprofit organization that (and I’m not being hyperbolic) saved my life.  In 2008 I found myself uninsured with Type 1 diabetes.  A bad mixture.  I ran to Google and typed in a series of queries that eventually led me to TuDiabetes.  The friends that I found in this community didn’t just give me advice.  They didn’t say “if I were in your situation I would…”  The people that I met were able to say “When I was in your exact situation, this is what I did.”

Diabetes can be incredibly isolating.  And when I found TuDiabetes, I realized…thanks to this pesky 6-year-old that’s running around the Diabetes Hands Foundation offices and photobombing all of our photos, I’m not alone.

To celebrate TuD’s 6th birthday we are having a fundraising campaign.  If you’re interested in donating $6 to The Diabetes Hands Foundation (or $60!) you can do so here.  With your help, The Diabetes Hands Foundation can reach more people affected by diabetes all over the world.