Editor's Note: Vince Ei is a San Jose State Journalism student who wrote this piece for Patch as part of a class assignment.
The iced tea arrives and Art Cohen unloads two packets of Splenda into the glass as he delivers a lesson on the time-line of technological advances in diabetes treatment. It’s a subject he knows only too well; he’s been a Type 1 diabetic since age 13.
Though diabetic, it was only coincidence that brought together Cohen and an 18-minute film about the disease that’s showing at his BlueLight Cinemas on Saturday.
The event—the Silicon Valley premier of DxOne (translates to "diagnosis: Type 1 diabetes"), a film about a teenage boy diagnosed with Type 1 and how he and his family cope with it—is hosted by the nonprofit Carb DM that works to bring awareness to the disease.
Diabetics once had to inject pig insulin, but now there is insulin they can inhale. Even something as simple as the diminishing size of the needles improved. Cohen imagines getting a continuous reading of glucose levels throughout the day with cutting-edge watches that do not require you to prick your finger.
“Awareness of diabetes becoming more prevalent in our society is important. The more people that are aware of the problem will encourage more companies to find solutions to help current people afflicted with the disease as well as ultimately find a cure,” said Cohen, CEO of Bluelight Cinemas.
Treating diabetes has come a long way, but it still doesn’t get the spotlight like other diseases.
Tamar Sofer-Geri, founder of Carb DM, which helps Type 1 diabetics connect through events and monthly meetings, was inspired to delve into diabetes advocacy by her 12-year-old daughter Tia who has Type 1.
“There's a lot of people living with diabetes and we need to take care of them now, and we need to improve their quality of life and we need to improve their acceptance of the disease and how they're coping with the disease, and how they manage with the disease because with good management and good tools, diabetes is a manageable chronic illness, or condition, which should not affect life expectancy and should not have long-term complications,” Sofer-Geri says.
“But without good management, without good tools, without having on-going education, it can be fatal. And you can suffer from long-term complications such as blindness and kidney failure and amputations, and it doesn't have to be like that. People have the tools and the information and the support, then they can live with it for a healthy and long life.”
When Sofer-Geri contacted Cohen about the premiere, she had no idea that Cohen was a Type 1 diabetic. While the film already brought these two together, there’s hope Saturday’s Q&A session with writer, director and Type 1 diabetic Dan Masucci and his son Nick, will do the same.
The film is almost sold out in Cupertino, but is also showing in San Francisco with the Q&A on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the Delancey Street theater. Tickets are $25 at both locations and can be purchased at http://carbdm.org/dxone/. All proceeds go to Carb DM.