Two icons of the diabetes community

Yesterday January 25, 2017 we lost two of the most important people in the diabetes community that I know of.  One, Mary Tyler Moore, you probably heard of.  I was writing about my feeling regarding Mary Tyler Moore and her amazing accomplishments both as anj animal rights and diabetes advocate when I received news that a second, and in my case more important, person passed in our diabetes community.  Since you have heard much about Mary Tyler Moore, I will save that one for later but I have to tell you about the second one.

 Rose Schonberger (Shosh to her friends)

Shosh was 83 at her passing.  A true light for all who knew her.  She was born in 1933 in France.  She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 3.  She was a Jewish resident of France when the Nazi’s invaded and she lived in both Nazi occupied France and Vichy, France.  Regardless of the political authority during WWII, being a person of Jewish decent was difficult.  There are various estimates for the number of people of Jewish descent who were either murdered or sent to death camps from 1940 until the liberation of France.  Some estimates place the number at 350,000 while others suggest it was around 300,000.   Regardless, it is estimated that about 12,000 children age 2 to 15 were murdered by the Vichy or Nazi authorities.   This does not include the number of children murdered as the result of the practice of eugenics by the Vichy government, which was practiced without regard to racial status.

Shosh escaped the Nazi occupation because her parents obtained false identity papers and they began attending a Christian church.  Doing this saved her from the war, but obtaining insulin was a different thing all together.  Shosh told me that her family relied on packages from the Red Cross, handouts from other people with type 1, the money the family could scrape together to purchase insulin and after liberation of the part of France where she lived insulin obtained at the American embassy and from the generosity of the American military.  Shosh often told me that her family was always appreciative of the insulin provided to her from Eli Lilly as dispensed by the American Red Cross in liberated France.  Shosh came to the US with her mother after the war and later married.  She has three children that she spoke of often and with great love.

A Great Friend

I got to know Shosh at TUDiabetes where we shared many good laughs.  Her story is one of survival and her spirt was amazing.  Shosh was always embracing new things in diabetes care.  She wished for a CGM, if only Medicare would pay for it, and she treated her diabetes up until the final days of her life.  Last year I was at Eli Lilly and visited the 70 year memorial.  It honors people who have lived 70 years or more using insulin.  I found her name and sent her this picture.   She was thrilled to think someone would visit the memorial and in particular remember her place on it.

She was an icon of TUDiabetes for many years.  Her fun banter and measured observations often made me feel her hope, not just for the present but also the future.  Shosh was my friend, sometimes my mentor and always my supporter.  I am so sad that we will no longer share our diabetes journey together.

In July 2013 Shosh wrote this on TUDiabetes under the topic TUDiabetes University.

 

“Here you can learn anything & everything. We ask & answer questions-get help & help each other- laugh a lot- discuss our problems & solve them.
have lots of fun just babbling on & off———hahaha

the chat room is just great- I love it —it’s the ” united nations of diabetes”

healthy wishes to all”

shoshana

 

Healthy wishes to you forever, my dear friend

-30-

rick

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