February 7, 2020

Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind: Liz Sacco

Managing a chronic illness is challenging, whether it is your own or a loved one’s. Starting and running a business also poses unique challenges. If you struggle with a chronic illness, have started a business, or want to start a business, this blog series can help guide you. “Inside the Patient Entrepreneur’s Mind” offers key insights into chronic disease and mission-driven entrepreneurship by some of the most innovative patient entrepreneurs in the world. 

Liz Sacco is the President & Founder of Diabetic Dabs. 

As a patient entrepreneur, can you describe your personal connection to Type 1 Diabetes and how this experience drove you to innovate the space?

I am a member of the diabetes community through my son David who was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 9.  After his diagnosis, I noticed there was a missing component in his testing routine.  A simple, efficient, and safe way to remove the excess blood left on his finger after testing his sugar levels.  It was an unmet need that inspired me to develop a solution.

What makes Dabs unique and how does it meet an unmet need of the T1D community?

What makes Dabs unique is that it is the only product that I am aware of that is specifically designed for post-testing cleanup. Dabs® were developed with convenience and cleanliness in mind. The booklets come with an adhesive backing to attach to any testing kit so they are always there when needed. Simply tear off one sheet with each test and safely remove the excess blood. Throw away the small sheet with the testing strip and easily replace the booklet when the 50 sheets run out.

Are there any other unmet needs of the T1D community that you think take priority in working to address? How are patient entrepreneurs well-suited to meet these needs?

Patient entrepreneurs are ideal for creating products & solutions because they live it day in and day out. Whether they live with the disease or care for someone with diabetes, they see the challenges.  There are always going to be unmet needs as technologies change and advance. However, I like to focus on the innovations people have developed and continue to develop to make living with a chronic disease more manageable.

Where do you draw your inspiration and motivation from to keep forging ahead as an entrepreneur in the healthcare industry? Is there a particular healthcare innovation that inspires you?

I draw my inspiration from my son and all of those that live with a chronic disease, in my case diabetes.  Being a member of the diabetes community has allowed me to see the resolve and strength in these individuals.  The stories and innovation within the community draws inspiration.  A great example is your Entrepreneur Circle. Here is just one platform that demonstrates a group of individuals that are making a profound difference. I feel honored to be part of it!

Lastly, what do you do for fun to manage the stress of running a business as both a person connected to T1D and an entrepreneur? Do you have any similar advice on work-life-disease management balance to others out there thinking of starting a business to meet an unmet need of a chronic disease patient community?

Personally, physical activity makes a big difference in my life. I love to run. It creates energy, helps me feel balanced and clears my mind (And the fresh air doesn’t hurt!). I find it to be both physically and mentally beneficial. It is important for everyone to find some type of outlet that brings them clarity and peace. Although this will vary for everyone it will be instrumental in finding balance. One piece of advice that I believe is universal is mindset. Having a positive outlook and being able to see the silver lining in life’s challenges will put you on the right track for success.