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Is DSR a “Bait and Switch”?

Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Diabetic Supply Rescue | 11 comments

I met a guy named Wil Dubois at an open house at Cafe Riviera recently. He and I had what I thought was a very pleasant conversation. However, Wil seems to have left that conversation with a negative impression of Diabetic Supply Rescue. He wrote a piece on DiabetesMine.com that was titled:

Test Strip “Charity” a Bait and Switch?

You can read Wil’s column at

http://www.diabetesmine.com/2011/03/test-strip-“charity”-a-bait-and-switch.html

Here is my reply:

Wil,

I appreciate you taking the time to write about my organization. You mostly have the facts right, but maybe I can help change your attitude about DSR.

One thing that is not correct in your article is that DSR is my only source of income. Right now, I have a day job, and I am running DSR on nights and weekends. When I file my first Form 990 soon, it will show that DSR barely broke even in 2010. I do expect to make enough money some day that I will be able to quit my day job and work for DSR full time.

You are absolutely correct that I am “carrying the visceral fat that is the common hallmark of Type-2 diabetes,” and you are kind to say that I am approaching middle age. I am approaching my mid-fifties, and that is definitely middle age. However, when people ask if I am a diabetic, I say, “Not yet.” I am fighting it. A year ago, I had lost some weight, was exercising, and my A1C was 5.7. Typical fasting readings were around 110. But now, with the stress of the business and not taking the time to exercise, my weight is back and my morning readings are pushing 140. I am afraid to go to a doctor to get an A1C because I am avoiding “the diagnosis.”

But I also carry in my gut a passion for this cause and DSR. I did start it just to make money, and I did make a few hundred bucks a month. But, what changed me was that I started meeting all of these people with diabetes and seeing the effects of the disease. It made me take notice of my own health. My grandfather lost both his legs to diabetes and they were getting ready to take his arm when he died. My father lives with diabetes. I had never really taken notice or taken stock of my risk of diabetes. I had even ignored the numbness in my toes. My passion is personal.

There are a lot of problems with the distribution of health care in this country, and I can’t solve every one of them. However, maybe I can help in one small way in one small corner of the health care delivery system. There are some people who throw away test strips or allow them to expire. There are some people who can’t afford to test as often as they should. Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I can’t cure diabetes, but I can help make this one small change.

And why not try to change it not just in my community, but nationwide? As a nation we are trained to recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans. What does it take to get every PWD and those around them be aware of not disposing of supplies that other people can use? How do I raise that awareness?

After consulting with many people, I decided that I needed a strong image. I spent a lot of money to create the “slick” brochures and logo. I was also encouraged that to get credibility for my cause, I need to get a 501(c)3 designation. In the process of doing the research to show the IRS that my business model does indeed fit the guidelines of a charity, I learned that many non-profit organizations sell products. United Blood Services sells the blood that people donate. Goodwill Industries sells the items that are donated. I would love to be able to give away test strip, and someday maybe I can. But, until I get a lot of grants or donations, I have to sell them to keep my doors open.

I often tell people that “I am making this up as I go along.” If I make mistakes that make people feel sleazy about a cause I feel very passionate about, give me suggestions about how to do it better. We are putting the finishing touches on changes to the brochure that Wil described. What can we do to make it better?

Talk to me: jaykoch@DSRNM.com.

Wil, I hope that someday you will consider me a

PWITTNGDAIATTCASCOHW:

Person Who Is Trying To Not Get Diabetes, And Is Also Trying To Change A Small Corner Of His World.

11 Comments

  1. I just want to respond that I’m grateful for what you’re doing! I have a diabetic cat, who obviously doesn’t have health insurance. I need to save money on his supplies wherever I can, and your service saves me so much on his test strips! I refer every diabetic cat owner I come across to you for their test strips, and tell them to donate supplies if they no longer need them. Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks, Denise, for your words of support.

      jay

  2. Comment: Wow! Thank you, Jay. I discovered your website and my heart skipped a beat after searching in vain for reasonably priced test strips both at local stores and on the web for my Contour USB meter. 

    I just recently was diagnosed with type 2 last month and I am only 53. I work in a small machine shop, and don't make the kind of money that most machinists make, but I'm not one to complain as I have steady work and my boss graciously allows me to take off work when needed to care for my almost 90 year old elderly father, who is also a diabetic and on insulin!  His supplies are paid for by his medicare, thank God, and someday when he passes I will gladly donate his supplies to your organization, and will spread the word to other diabetics that I know to send their unneeded supplies to you, too! 

    I have no insurance coverage and was just in the hospital myself in March diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, then only to find out that my A1C was a 10!  I pay monthly payments to Wellspan each month to pay for my over 16,000 dollars in bills, but it works for me, and their care is great.  I placed an order for strips, and will be using your website from now on! 

    Thank you, again, Jay for what you are doing, as it is greatly appreciated! 

    Sincerely, 

    David "Doctor T" Ward

    • Thanks, David. I am glad that we can help.

  3. I am a "newbie"…being diagnosed just a year ago in April. I have health insurance, but they don't cover testing supplies. If it wasn't for you, I'd have to give up something else—like my cell phone—to spend $100 a month on strips. Being "middle aged" and looking at retirement in 10 or 15 years, I am so grateful I can take control of this disease now, and be around as a healthy example for my grandkids. You keep up the good work…..you're a blessing to all of us.

    • Thanks, Robin, for the comment. You are just the type of person we want to help.

  4. I too am trying to avoid the dreaded diagnosis. I do not have health insurance so I am doing what I can with diet and excercise.  I haven't been testing my blood sugar because test strips are so expensive and I have a 17 yo son who is type 1, so his needs come first.   I am really glad to have found your site.  

    • Tanya,

      I did get my diagnosis last summer. I tried to manage it with diet and exercise, but was put on Metformin this last week. It is a disappointment.

      Good luck on your adventure. I hope you can keep it at bay.

      jay

  5. My husband has Type 2 diabetes. He has had one toe amputated, and is facing losing another one, both because of the diabetes. He feels he is lucky he didn't lose his whole foot. We are retired, and on a limited income.  Test strips are very expensive, but your prices make it possible for him to check his blood twice a day.  You are truly a blessing to those of us that are on a limited income. Thanks for what you do, may God bless you.

  6. The following is my reply to Wil Dubois article on Diabetes Mine. Needless to say, I have not received any offers yet!
    "I have just one question to everyone here who finds fault with what Jay is doing. Which one of you will supply my husband with his much-needed test strips for the same low price that Jay sells them for? Don’t trip over yourselves responding!"

  7. You can take my comment to the bank because it is the absolute 100% truth. Without insurance the prescription insulin and prescription pills that I take very day, at MAXIMUM dosages costs a LOT of money. The insulin alone is $148 a month. That may not sound like much money but I had to give up my only source of income to move in with and take care of my 89 y/o Mother who has cancer and is in a wheel chair and my 91 y/o Father who can't hear, has serious vision problems, is in a wheelchair also and needs a knee replacement (they won't do it because of his health – afraid he'd not make it through the surgery). Being able to buy test strips through DSR is a true blessing from God. I'm not overweight at all and even with all the meds I take my 30-day-average blood sugar reading is right now 180. My body just simply does not work the way it should as far as diabetis is concerned. I try to remember to thank GOD for DSR whenever I stab my finger to do a test.

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