World Diabetes Day: How one diabetic went from life on a schedule to having more control

Jennifer Marie Kubicek was hundreds of miles from home on a family vacation when her insulin pump stopped working.

She was panicked and knew that as a Type 1 diabetic, she needed regular doses of insulin or she could end up in the hospital.  What would have ended her trip a decade ago was quickly rectified after she called healthcare provider Medtronic, and within 24 hours, UPS delivered a replacement pump from its healthcare logistics campus in Louisville. 

“I was able to go back to a method I was familiar with, and didn’t have to go to a doctor, however, many states away from my home,” she said. “ I didn’t get sick because I was able to get back on my method.”

Kubicek, is just one of what the American Diabetes Association estimates is nearly 30 million people in the United States living with diabetes, a disease that prevents the body from producing enough insulin to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. It’s one of the fastest-growing public health crisis in the United States, with estimates that worldwide, one in 10 adults will develop diabetes by 2040, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

The numbers are staggering, and medical companies have searched for reliable options to get products to patients quickly.

At UPS’ healthcare facility in Louisville, diabetes devices are shipped to up to 300 new patients a day, according to  Pete Vowels, the UPS pharmacist-in-charge.

“Most people do not realize UPS has an on-site dispensary where medical equipment is packed, labeled, and shipped on-demand for our healthcare clients,” Vowels said in a statement.

Insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, and testing supplies are packaged and ship through ground transportation or the nearby Louisville International Airport.

Jennifer Marie Kubicek was diagnosed with diabetes in 1990, just before her ninth birthday. She said for years, her family's lives revolved around her meal times and the insulin shots that she had to have.

That changed in college, when she started using an insulin pump, which administered her dosage without having to inject herself.

For those living with diabetes, care has improved dramatically, as have the options for getting replacement equipment when things go wrong, she said. November marks National Diabetes Awareness Month, and awareness and understanding are what people struggling with the disease desperately need, according to Kubicek.

“There are a lot of jokes about eating a lot of sugar, and there isn’t enough understanding about who is affected,” she said. “People of all walks of life, shapes and sizes are affected by [diabetes].”


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