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
Here is my reply:
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
Person Who Is Trying To Not Get Diabetes, And Is Also Trying To Change A Small Corner Of His World.