Learn more about our partner, Beyond Type 1, and how they are disrupting diabetes. Answers to questions are by Sarah Lucas, CEO and co-founder of Beyond Type 1.
Q: When and why was Beyond Type 1 founded? A: In early 2015 my partners and I (VC superstar Juliet de Baubigny, Celebrity Chef Sam Talbot and Actor/Musician Nick Jonas) came together with the idea of disrupting T1D. We all have a connection and were frustrated by the lack of awareness, resources that were sterile and geared primarily toward parents of young children, and the gap in focus on living well today. Much has been invested over the last several decades in research for a cure – and while great strides have been made – people have not had the community, support and real life hacks for living and thriving today. We are here to educate the global population about this disease, ensure those living with it have every resource they need to thrive and invest in the path to a cure. We are here to disrupt diabetes.
Q: What is one thing that you wish everyone knew about Type 1 diabetes?
A: Type 1 diabetes is a challenging, invisible disease. It is an auto-immune disease, not a lifestyle disease, that impacts both children and adults (you can be diagnosed at any age) that carries with it daily risks and potentially devastating complications. T1D is 315 decisions a day, life-long dependency on insulin, increased risk of other auto-immune conditions and mental health issues. There is currently no cure. The one thing we want everyone to know about T1D is everything.
Q: What are some of the ways that friends and family of people with T1D can be supportive and helpful?
A: This answer may be different for each person, but when I think about the best ways to support my own daughter and our Type 1 friends – it is by helping to educate others about this disease. The added mental burden and stigma for people living with T1D is a constant struggle. Having to laugh off diabetes jokes, smile when people say things like “Should you be eating that?” or “So you just take your shots and it’s no big deal.” Type 1 is a marathon, it’s for life, and I try to imagine people supporting and cheering for my daughter along her route and knocking out the hecklers standing on the sidelines. Education is the key because once people truly understand, there can be nothing but love and support offered.
Q: Beyond Type 1 is doing important work around T1D advocacy, education, and so much more. How do you balance the serious work you’re doing with the spirit of fun that’s so apparent in your website, videos, and social media?
A: “Authenticity” is a word we are guided by each day-it was one of Nick’s main goals when we started. We aim to tell authentic stories (whether that’s about what to do with all that medical equipment when having sex or suggesting comebacks grade school kids can use when people hassle them about their T1D), to use social media for good, and to provide meaningful ways for the community to engage with Beyond Type 1 and with each other. All the Founders have a creative background, our team is completely eccentric, creative and out-of-the-box thinkers. When that is the basis for a company, it is just spirited by nature. The other piece of this is that Type 1s are just funny people. The amount of things they have to put up with in their lives (like running out the door and catching their pump tubing on the door knob and ripping out their life-saving medical device) means a sense of humor is a basic survival skill.
Q: How do you see RapidSOS technology helping Beyond Type 1’s mission?
A: Living with Type 1 means always being prepared for any scenario and RapidSOS provides an important safety net for those living with Type 1 and their families. We always have to prepare for the worst case situations and then hope they don’t come to fruition. By connecting families, providing improved access to medical information and emergency care, RapidSOS is helping to ease the burden of anxiety that is a constant for those impacted by this disease.