It’s Payback Time

Diabetes can seem like a thankless job—all work and no pay. That’s why the Joslin Diabetes Center and the Eli Lilly Company give out awards to people with diabetes who have lived with the condition for long periods of time.

Joslin gives out the 25-Year Certificate of Achievement to people who have been type 1 for 25 continuous years. In addition, it awards a 50-year bronze medal and certificate to those who have lived 50 or more years with type 1. The Joslin Victory Award goes to those who have had type 1 diabetes for 75 years or more.

The Eli Lilly Company, in conjunction with Joslin, also gives out 50-year medals, but limits the awards to those who have exclusively used Lilly insulin. Medal winners are honored at a festive dinner at Joslin’s annual meeting in Boston.

There are no physical qualifications for the awards. However, good documentation as to the date of diagnosis of diabetes and the date of beginning insulin treatment is required. Proof can include original documentation, a photocopy of a current medical record, which states date of diagnosis, a letter from the doctor who made the original diagnosis or a personal diary in which items such as urine and blood tests, diet, insulin, etc., are mentioned from time to time.

Since these may be difficult to obtain for some certificate or medal candidates—particularly those who were diagnosed 50 years ago—Joslin and Lilly also accept letters of recommendation as a source of documentation. If the medal candidate has relatives or friends who can recall the events surrounding the discovery of the diabetes and the starting of insulin, statements from two or three of these individuals are also acceptable.

For more information about the Eli Lilly 50-year medal, call Evelyn Dartis at (317) 277-1802 or email her at

For more information about the Joslin 50-year medal, call Jeanne Scalley at (617) 732-2412 or email her at

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