Rebecca Babcock: IBD Warrior

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais NinDueing

December 1-7 is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week,

and as an IBD Warrior, it is an important to take a pause and look at REAL life with a silent, incurable illness. There is no question that is hard, but it is also what WE choose to make of it. As I often say, each of us can do hard things.


Having a chronic illnesses can understandably leave you living in fear of the next flair up… like becomes an insane game of “illness athematic”: trying to time the onslaught of debilitating symptoms with work or personal commitments (as if we have an ounce of control over any of it!), lying in wait of medication’s terrible side effects, or perhaps planning around the anticipation of potentially embarrassing social encounters. Aka: life can get very small… if you let it.

Last weekend I experienced a beautiful reminder that I can live a full life even during the hard times when I don’t feel well, or I am not sure I am up to it, I don’t look my best or can’t give it 100%. I went to a baby shower for a very best friend and then a “Friendsgiving” celebration, and while I could not partake in either of the beautiful and likely delicious cakes, I was reminded that showing up is most of the battle.


The bottom line is my disease doesn’t define me and it doesn’t need to define you. It certainly takes courage and more than a fair amount of humility and honesty to show up to life, maybe not at my best, but on life’s terms. It is a lot better than not showing up at all.



How to Turn Your LYFE on in 2018

The holiday season is the best time of the year, filled with family, food, and laughter! As much as everyone loves gingerbread cookies, pumpkin bread, and all of the holiday drinks, too much of a good thing can take a toll on our health goals. Here are some recommendations on how to start the new year off strong, and stick to your goals!

  1. Make sure your health and fitness goals are attainable! Setting goals that are challenging, but reachable, is key. An example of this could be, going for a 30-minute walk or run everyday, cutting refined sugar out the diet, consuming less meat (especially red).  For Type 1’s, having a lower A1C, eating less carbohydrates, or food logging daily could be great goals!
  2. Don’t forget about your mental health.  This time of year drives motivation to get healthy and “fit”, but often, we forget to take care of our mental health. The holidays can be a stressful time, and it is important to recharge mental so you can start 2018 fresh! Yoga, meditation, reading, journaling–  anything that brings you joy and releases stress should be a priority, just as much as a hard workout!
  3. Find a friend! Whether it is a workout buddy, an “Instagram friend”, or just a close friend who you share your goals with– it is important to have someone to share the journey with, and keep you accountable!

Remember to give yourself some credit! Celebrate the victories along the way, big or small.  

Real Talk with Dave: You Don’t Know What It’s Like To Feel So Low


            Each day, we are each given a choice as Diabetics. A choice to take the best care of our health or the choice to be laid back and not as careful. Diabetes is hard work and sometimes, we go through a burnout phase where we may be care free of our Diabetes and not put as much focus on it as usual. However, each day, whether we work hard at our T1D or not, we each face lows, highs, sick moments, and feelings that are indescribable. The main focus I’d like to discuss is primarily on lows.

Lows are the absolute worst feeling a Diabetic can get. Low in terms of blood sugar, energy, focus, strength, and mental capacity. Lows take so much out of us. They make us feel like we’re dying in a sense, and yes that sounds a bit dramatic, but that is the honest description that a Diabetic will say it feels like, just ask any person with Type 1 Diabetes. I often say that lows “hurt” and that could mean a variety of things. My body, my muscles, my bones, my mind, or even my emotions. Lows have a way of playing with the person who it decides to attack.

As a Diabetic of 9 years, I have learned several different ways to cope with and manage lows in all sorts of settings, as each low is unique and different, yet all have some similar symptoms. Throughout the years, I have tried to explain to people who don’t have Diabetes what it’s really like to have a low blood sugar. Though many people just don’t understand, some do try and empathize with me and see how horrible they can be. As much of a description I may give, I always mention though that a non-Diabetic will truly never know what it feels like to have a low, as much as I try and describe it. The pain, the fear, and the shock it has on the person is something I wish nobody had to face.

Some lows are better than others. Low blood sugars in the 60mg/dL-70mg/dL range are not so bad, but anything below 50mg/dL, that’s where things can get scary. Severe lows contain symptoms such as shakiness, sweating, fast heart beat, fear, panic, nausea, lethargy, etc., just to name a few, but, as mentioned, each low is different and each Diabetic can feel their own unique symptoms. I think most of us know the cause of a low blood sugar, but for those who don’t know, intense exercise, too much insulin, and not enough consumption of carbohydrates/sugars are the main ways low blood sugars come to be.

The reason I am writing about lows are to mainly spread awareness on this issue. I can remember countless times in which I simply avoided doing certain activities or sat in fear during a certain situation (such as classes, work, travel, etc.) as I was constantly worrying about going low. High blood sugars are different in the sense in which you may feel very sick still, but you have a larger and somewhat safer timeframe to treat the blood sugar before it gets too serious. Yes, I have had Diabetes for 9 years, but I almost feel as though I will never fully get over my constant fear of lows. Lots of people have shared over time that they are very afraid to go to bed each night as they are worried they’ll go low and not be able to wake up from that low and that is exactly why I am writing on this specific topic, to share what us Diabetics truly go through on a daily basis.

Diabetics are fearless and I think it’s safe to say that we put up with so much and have gone through so much over the years of being Diabetic. We face so many scary and life altering challenges every moment of every day, most of which goes unnoticed, that is why we must continue to spread awareness, seek support from as many people as possible, and create a safe environment in which if emergencies do arise, we will at least feel as though we are in good hands.

Diabetes is tough, but we are strong. Diabetes is scary, but we are brave. Diabetes is a big deal, but we are so much bigger than this disease.

Live well,



LYFESTORY: Lauren Plunkett, Type 1 Diabetic RDN, CDE, & Fitness Instructor

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE), fitness instructor, public speaker, and proudly live my life as a healthy person with Type 1 Diabetes for more than 24 years. Like many of you, my story began with the realization that I needed to change my eating habits and exercise routine. I also needed to wholeheartedly embrace the fact that I have type 1 diabetes, but most of all I simply wanted to live better.


I could define myself in many ways based on my experiences, but most of all I am determined, strong-willed, and not a quitter. So, I raised the bar on myself and found a way. Now, my role is to pay it forward and share my knowledge.


My professional goal is to support people with T1D of all ages with nutrition education specific to their individual needs with regular exercise. Nothing makes me more excited than to work with athletes with T1D! I am very driven to provide education that I would have found valuable when I was a teenager. My philosophy is evidence-based through sports nutrition research but also from many years of personal trial and error while becoming more physically fit.  


One thing I have learned is that people with T1D are all at different stages of glucose management. Some may be thriving with what seems like effortless blood glucose control, while others struggle with the basics. Keeping track of test strips, dosages, and technology, can be so overwhelming! I believe in meeting a person where they are in the learning process because it’s so easy to cave under the pressure of perfect nutrition and an impressive A1c.


T1D management is a partnership within all the other aspects of what makes us who we are. Hemoglobin A1c does not define us. We are individuals first. Individuals with unique nutritional needs, interests, and fitness goals.


When I present education I often say that I did not become a nutrition expert the very moment I was diagnosed with T1D. It takes a massive amount of effort and will-power to master diabetes and I had my own struggles for years before finding my method of success. And that’s when lifelong health maintenance begins. This is one reason why I see myself in every person I meet with T1D and I am such a fan of anyone putting in the work.  

Social Media :www.lpnutritionconsulting.com

Instagram: @vegetitian

The Second Annual Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award


The second Annual Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit and Award was a huge success! We just returned from a cold but sunny Copenhagen, Denmark, where 12 of the most innovative thinkers in diabetes management competed in a challenge in front of top Novo, Lyfebulb and other life sciences professionals, engaged with each other and point people at Novo Nordisk, and participated in work-shops and one-on-ones to both learn and teach.

The concept we created three years ago – patient entrepreneurship – has taken off, and what we saw last week was a true reflection of the idea that people living with disease or in close proximity of someone with the disease, can identify and solve for problems that may not be apparent to those with no connection beyond business and science. Diabetes is the first disease we have embarked on, for personal reasons, since I was diagnosed with T1D in 1989 and have been pursuing better solutions for myself and others since.

Our jury this year was strong, including top venture capitalists Shomit Gose (Managing Director ONSET Ventures) and Dr Magnus Persson (Chairman at Galecto BioTech and board professional), as well as leaders in diabetes treatment, Dr John Nolan (Special Advisor to the President at EASD) and Dr Shaukat Sadikot (President at the International Diabetes Foundation) and finally a patient representative, beautiful and smart, Vanessa Pirolo, T1D (board member ADJ Brazil).

In my opinion, it was very difficult to judge the finalists since they ranged widely across consumer products, coding, and medical devices, across genders, age and experience levels, and I found them to fall into three categories:

1: Investable opportunities for pure VCs

2: Partnering opportunities for healthcare companies

3: Community-platforms for awareness and advocacy

The winners, Amin Zayani of MedAngel – making sure the insulin we inject is functional, Linh Le (represented by Malcolm Nason) of Bonbouton – detecting foot ulcers before they occur, and Jen Horonjeff of Savvy Coop – connecting patients with companies to solve problems, represent the three categories and we applaud them for their inspiring presentations!

As a company focused on improving the quality of life for people with chronic disease, we see all the finalists as partners in our fight, and hope to work closely with them going forward.

In addition to the top three we have to mention the fabulous and gorgeous OneDrop (led by the ultimate diabadass, Jeff Dachis, digital marketing guru), our NYC friends Matt Loper, Wellth – using behavioral economics to improve outcomes, David Weingard, Fit4D – scaling CDEs and driving toward better glucose management, and close by in Connecticut, Charlie O’Connell, FitScript – making exercise safe for everyone with diabetes. More distant, but equally strong in their passion include French entrepreneur, Laurent Nicolas and DiabNext – simple solutions to monitor glucose and dose insulin through your phone, the highly energetic Australian, Josh Wulf, Magicraft – coding for children with diabetes, Canadian Aaron Horowitz and his Jerry the Bear, Sproutel – making a diabetes diagnosis become a super power for children, Fierce Liz Sacco with her inspiring story about developing a clever solution to clean up the blood post-monitoring with DiabeticDabs, and finally Slovenian Luca Zaponcic, CarbEasy and his smart scale to simplify carb-counting.

We cannot wait to see them all take next steps, raise more funds and further their projects toward success in the market place, since that means that patients all over the world will live a little better with their diabetes!

To investors reading this note – please let us know if you want more information about any of these companies – they are in fund-raising mode and we want them to succeed and you to make money while doing good for people with diabetes.

Finally, thank you Novo Nordisk, our fabulous partner who took a chance on us last year, and has shown such spirit and common Mission in our pursuit toward reducing the burden of diabetes everyday.


Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNNAward Finalist: David Weingard, CEO & Founder at Fit4D

As we get closer to the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award, we sat down with last years finalist, CEO and founder of Fit4D, David Weingard to get a little insight on last years summit, and why Patient Entrepreneurs matter.

Bruna Petrillo: Tell us a little bit about Fit4D.

David Weingard: I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 36 years old, working at Microsoft and training for an upcoming race. I was overwhelmed and confused about the diagnosis, as I had no family history and was physically fit. My doctor taught me how to use insulin, saw me for another session, and that was it.  After that, I was on my own and needed help.  Then I found Cecilia, a certified diabetes educator (CDE), who compassionately gave me steps to follow to help me become productive again in my personal and professional life. I figured out how to race Ironman triathlons with diabetes and realized that I could accomplish anything if I had the right knowledge, support, and mentality. One day, I was on my way to a race in Idaho, and I thought to myself, this experience I’ve had — if we could scale that personal coaching using tech, we could do something amazing. What if I could bring everyone a Cecilia? That’s where the idea for Fit4D came about.

I realized that I could accomplish anything if I had the right knowledge, support, and mentality.

Our mission is to improve the lives of people with diabetes.  Fit4D uses technology to scale the human touch of a Certified Diabetes Educator with a patient. We provide personalized diabetes coaching services through our network of Certified Diabetes Educators, and we’re able to scale our coaching to reach large populations of diabetes patients by leveraging everyday technology. This ultimately leads to improved health outcomes.

Unfortunately, many patients don’t have access to CDEs and remain overwhelmed by the 24/7 chronic disease.  Fit4D works with payers and pharmaceutical companies to provide patients with personalized one-on-one support from an expert CDE.

BP: You were a finalist for the 2016 LBNN Award, what was your biggest takeaway from the Summit?

DW: I loved learning from other patient entrepreneurs. We have so much in common, but still have unique perspectives and different aspects of the disease that we’re focused on improving. It was great to meet the Novo Nordisk development and product teams and feel their passion for helping people w diabetes.

BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?

DW: People who work in the healthcare space are starting to realize the importance of bringing care to patients by understanding their experiences and personalizing support to each individual. Who would know better about the patient experience than patients themselves! Patient Entrepreneurs bring that personal perspective to the table in order to make realistic, empathetic, and most-needed changes. Because we relate to patients’ frustrations by experiencing those same frustrations ourselves, we can identify problems and stay motivated to find solutions that are practical and useful. It’s also inspiring for people with chronic diseases to see what patient entrepreneurs can accomplish and how it’s possible to take control of your health and your life to become successful.

Patient Entrepreneurs bring that personal perspective to the table in order to make realistic, empathetic, and most-needed changes.

BP: What has been your greatest achievement since the LBNN Award?

DW: Fit4D launched with Humana which is opening the door for us to further scale patient volume and patient engagement  with expert support from certified diabetes educators. Our goal is to give everyone in the world that essential support from an expert clinician…we’re on our way to achieving it!

BP: What advice would you give to those applying for the 2017 LBNN Award?

This is an award for patient entrepreneurs, so don’t forget to share your patient story and explain how your business uniquely empowers people with diabetes.

Make sure that your solution has market potential – pay attention to the market/buyers you are trying to reach, so that your idea can become a reality in the marketplace.

Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNNAward Finalist: Shantanu Gaur, CSO & Co-Founder of Allurion

We were excited to hear the announcement that Allurion has raised $27M in financing! Allurion’s co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Shantanu Gaur was a finalist in the 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award and is a member of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle. We caught up with him to discuss the funding, what this means for the future of Allurion, and his advice for Patient Entrepreneurs who are looking to apply to the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award. Read on!

Bruna Petrillo: For those who are not familiar with your company, tell us a little bit about Allurion.
Shantanu Gaur: Allurion Technologies is dedicated to helping people realize their full potential with innovative, scientifically-validated products. The company’s flagship product, the Elipse Balloon, is a swallowable weight loss device that resides in the stomach, inducing satiety and promoting weight loss. In clinical trials, the Elipse Balloon has led to an average of 33lbs of weight loss over 4 months with no serious adverse events. The Elipse Balloon is the world’s first and only procedure-less gastric balloon: no surgery, endoscopy, or anesthesia is required. The device is available in 10 countries and over 40 leading weight loss centers around the world. Allurion was founded in 2009 by myself and Samuel Levy while we were in our second year at Harvard Medical School. The company is based in Natick, Massachusetts and currently has 35 employees.

BP: You were a participant of the 2016 LBNN Award, what was your biggest takeaway from the Summit?
SG: There is a consumer revolution happening in healthcare systems all around the world. Patients are becoming discerning, empowered consumers and are demanding products that are not only safe and effective but also frictionless and affordable. The Summit highlighted that patients are not just demanding new products: they are taking the initiative to develop and commercialize new products themselves.

BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?
SG: The future of healthcare is in the consumer experience. Compelling products are not enough; consumers are depending on compelling experiences. Who best to design the next generation of medical products and experiences than patients themselves?

Who best to design the next generation of medical products and experiences than patients themselves?

BP: Allurion recently announced that it has raised $27M in funding. Can you tell us more about this? What are your future plans for Allurion?
SG: This round of funding was led by our long-time partners at Romulus Capital with participation from IDO Investments, an innovation firm based in Oman and Cogepa Investments, based in France. This funding will be used to expand our commercial presence internationally, scale manufacturing to meet increasing demand, and pursue a clinical trial for U.S. FDA approval. Obesity is a global epidemic, Allurion is a company with a global focus, and we are proud to have assembled a group of investors with a worldwide presence.

This round is more than just a financing milestone. It is a convening of individuals who believe in our vision for the future of weight loss, and in healthcare more broadly. It is the beginning of a new chapter at Allurion composed of growth, scale, and impact. With 2 billion people around the world and two-thirds of the United States either overweight or obese, it represents the start of our journey toward making a dent in the largest unmet medical need in the world and empowering the healthcare consumer of the future

We are not merely participating in this future. We are actively shaping it.

BP: What advice would you give to those applying for the 2017 LBNN Award?
SG: Applying for the LBNN Award offers a time to reflect on how well your business is serving the consumer. No matter what you end up writing in your application ask yourself very transparently, “Am I doing everything I can to serve our patients?”

Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNN Award Finalist: Matt Loper, CEO of Wellth

Matt Loper, CEO of Wellth, is a Patient Entrepreneur and one of ten finalists of the 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award. Read on as he discusses his biggest take-away from the Summit, and his hopes for the future of Wellth.

Bruna Petrillo: For those who are not familiar with your company, tell us a little bit about Wellth.

Matt Loper: We help motivate patients to adhere to their medications and care plans.  About half of the patients with chronic diseases don’t take their medications as prescribed.  There are many reasons why patients don’t take their medications, but the most important is a concept from Behavioral Economics called present bias.  Present bias causes us to be primarily motivated by immediate and tangible benefit, whereas the benefits from taking your pills every day often take years to come to fruition.  We help motivate patients by giving them a little financial incentive every day to take their pills and reinforce the behavior until it becomes a habit that sticks.

BP: You were a participant of the 2016 LBNN Award, what was your biggest take-away from the Summit?

ML: My biggest takeaway was the inspiration of being surrounded by other Patient Entrepreneurs that are so passionate, motivated, and intelligent, devoting their lives to trying to solve big problems in healthcare.   It was a phenomenal group of people and a really great experience.

My biggest takeaway was the inspiration of being surrounded by other Patient Entrepreneurs that are so passionate, motivated, and intelligent…

BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?

ML: Patient Entrepreneurs are extremely important since they have lived through the challenges of being a patient or caring for a patient directly.  The way Entrepreneurs create value in the world is by understanding a problem better than anyone else and working tirelessly to fix it.  Patient Entrepreneurs are uniquely positioned to have the understanding and passion required for success.

BP: What has been your greatest achievement since the LBNN Award?

ML: We have repeatably produced great results across a diverse set of patient populations ranging from poor and elderly Type 2 Diabetics to post-discharge heart attack patients.  Across five different populations, we are seeing similar results in each and have been able to get 84% of patients to be at least 80% adherent.  Seeing these great results in real world patient populations is very fulfilling.

BP: What are your hopes for the future of Wellth?

ML: We hope to scale up and help as many chronic disease patients as possible achieve longer, happier and healthier lives by helping them with care plan adherence.

BP: What advice would you give to those applying for the 2017 LBNN Award?

ML: Clearly, articulate your personal story and how your product solves a big problem.

Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNN Award Finalist: Anna Sjӧberg, CEO and Founder of AnnaPS

This week we caught up with Patient Entrepreneur and 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award finalist, Anna Sjӧberg! (Check out our interview with Anna where she discusses her company, AnnaPS here!) Anna and I got to talking about the award, and the amazing partnerships she has had since! Read on!

Bruna Petrillo: Hi Anna! For those who are not familiar with your company, tell us a little bit about AnnaPS.

Anna Sjӧberg: AnnaPS is a brand that makes clothing with integrated pockets to make it easy to carry all of your diabetes devices. The clothes are made by diabetics for diabetics and have unique functions to carry an insulin pump in the pockets in a safe, discrete and good looking way. The clothes also have specially designed pockets for insulin pen, hand units for Omnipod, CGM (Dexcom), Freestyle Libre, blood sugar meters, etc.

BP:  You were a participant of the 2016 LBNN Award, what was your biggest take-away from the Summit?

AS: The power to meet other diabetes entrepreneurs, learn from the LyfeBulb team, and to get in touch with Novo Nordisk staff and organization.


BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?

AS: I think we have a driving a force to really make a difference for other patients in the same situation. We can really understand the needs that need to be solved and can test and evaluate in real life.

I think we have a driving force to really make a difference for other patients in the same situation.

BP: What has been your greatest achievement since the LBNN Award?

AS: I think it is our launch on Amazon.com, and our invitation to sell our products on the Lyfebulb Market Place alongside other interesting brand making cool diabetes stuff. And of course I am very proud to have been invited to participate at Fitscript’s Women and Diabetes event in New Haven this year.

BP: What advice would you give to those applying for the 2017 LBNN Award?

AS: Go for it! It was like a dream come through. It was one of the best experiences ever, when I got to represent AnnaPS.

Go for it!

Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNN Award Finalist: John Sjölund, CEO and Co-Founder at Timesulin

In continuing our “Where Are They Now” series where we follow up with the finalists of the 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award, we spoke with John Sjölund, CEO and Co-Founder of Timesulin. Since the award, the biggest news for John is that his business was acquired by Bigfoot Biomedical and he will be joining the team to lead their initiatives to bring a connected insulin pen, with automated dose titration to market. Read on to learn more about the partnership, his opinion on Patient Entrepreneurs, and his piece of advice for those thinking of applying for the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award.

Bruna Petrillo: Hi John! For those who are not familiar with your company, tell us a little bit about Timesulin.

John Sjölund: We created Timesulin based on my own experiences of living with Type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. Living an active life and traveling, I was constantly struggling to remember if I had taken my insulin, via an insulin pen, or not.

Frustrated at not having any product that could solve my issue ever come to market, together with a friend, we 3D printed our first product. As I started showing it to more people, more wanted one. We had a business on our hands accidentally. The product is not used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

Timesulin is a replacement cap for the most commonly used insulin pens used today. It has a simple timer in it that tells you when you took your last insulin injection  -helping you to avoid a missed dose OR dangerous double dose.

BP: 3D printing- that’s great! You were a participant of the 2016 LBNN Award, could you tell us what your biggest take-away from the Summit was?

JS: I was amazed at the size of Novo Nordisk – both in terms of the physical size of their production facilities as well as a number of incredible talents engineers they had that participated in the summit. There are a lot of people with diabetes and we know that most of them desperately need help to allow them to live safer, more balanced lives.

Additionally, it was a fantastic opportunity to network with Karin of Lyfebulb and the other participants. The entire group is so passionate, so smart – I was amazed.

BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?

JS: Unfortunately, it is very hard for people that are not living with a chronic disease, to understand the huge burden we have all day long to take care of it. It is never ending and relentless.

Being a patient, I believe, provides a unique window into the cognitive challenges of living with the disease and what tools, no matter how simple, can be created to reduce the burden.

BP: Since the LBNN Award, Timesulin has been acquired by Bigfoot Biomedical. Can you tell us a bit about this acquisition?

JS: We are absolutely thrilled to be joining together with the team at Bigfoot to continue to drive towards making diabetes simpler, safer and promoting better life balance. I have never encountered a team that has such a strong personal commitment or vision to dramatically change diabetes for the better.

Bigfoot will be incorporating the Dose Capture technology we have developed into their platform. What this means is we will have a comprehensive solution to dramatically make diabetes easier – through machine learning, automation and smart design, no matter how you decide to take your insulin.

we will have a comprehensive solution to dramatically make diabetes easier…

BP: How do see you the future of this partnership and Timesulin?

JS: As the future of diabetes. Connected products that allow for automated decision support and auto-titration is the final step, I believe, before smart insulins and ultimately a cure.

Patients who want to use closed loop systems (sometimes called artificial pancreas) should be able to leverage the best technology irrespective if they want to use an insulin pump OR an insulin pen. We will allow for this.

BP: What advice would you give to those applying for the 2017 LBNN Award?

JS: Spend time on your application since this is circulated widely before you have the opportunity to present in person.

Learn more about the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit & Award and apply HERE.


Where Are They Now? 2016 LBNN Award Winner: Brianna Wolin

As we look forward to the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit & Award, we are also taking some time to reflect back on last year. In our series, ‘Where Are They Now,’ we chat with the finalists of last years award to hear about the importance of the award in the future of diabetes management, and what they have been up to since then.

To kick off the series, we spoke with the winner of the inaugural 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award, Brianna Wolin, CEO and co-founder of Find Your Ditto.

Bruna Petrillo: Hi Brianna! For those who are not familiar with your company, tell us a little bit about Find Your Ditto.

Brianna Wolin: Find Your Ditto is a mobile platform that connects people living with the same chronic illness locally for on-demand, in-person peer support. Individuals living with chronic illness(es) are 2-3x more likely to live with depression comorbidly than the general public; however, in-person peer support has demonstrated strength in combatting the concern. Find Your Ditto serves to mobilize peer support communities for chronic illness patients, ultimately seeking to influence poor self-efficacy and reduce the associated unnecessary healthcare spend annually.

BP: What is the importance of Patient Entrepreneurs?

BW: As I tell people frequently when speaking about my work on Find Your Ditto, Patient Entrepreneurs have a unique, crucial advantage in understanding their target market. We are both designers and users of solutions, situating ourselves at an often un-accessed crossroads where we can make more impressive impact on our own patient communities.

…Patient Entrepreneurs have a unique, crucial advantage in understanding their target market

BP: You were a participant of the 2016 LBNN Award, what was your favorite part, and biggest take-away from the summit?

BW: The summit was an incredible experience. As a near life-long diabetes patient watching the evolution of concerns in the diabetes community— most recently focused on #insulinforall— I was an average insulin consumer believing I was paying the big Novo Nordisk entities huge dollar numbers annually to stay alive without feeling that there was recent innovation in care nor particular concern from the big corporations for their patients. The summit provided me the opportunity to meet the real people behind the life-sustaining drugs I take every day. I learned deeply about their concerns regarding the slow pace of innovation due to the true corporate structure hold-ups and how they do, in fact, feel personally upset with the current state of the diabetes community’s relationship with the pharmaceutical industry. It’s easy to forget the faces and spirits behind our concerns as a community and the summit gave me new perspective about the desire for innovation within pharma.

BP: How did you feel when you found out you were the winner of the award?

BW: As most of the online community has seen, my jaw literally dropped when my name was announced {be sure you see that video clip!} I was surrounded by a cohort of true diabetes innovators and am forever grateful to be considered in their company and to call them close friends in this important field of patient entrepreneurship.

BP: What has been your biggest accomplishment since the LBNN Award?

BW: The Find Your Ditto team has been busy since the LBNN Award! Most notably, we’ve really adjusted our business model and secured healthcare system partners for paid pilots this year. Additionally, I was honored to be in the WiSTEM women-owned business accelerator within the #1 technology incubator in the US, 1871 Chicago.

BP: Tell us how you see the future of Find Your Ditto.

BW: As entrepreneurs, we’re always talking about our visions. My cofounder, Parisa, and I always speak about five years down the line— we imagine a world where no person living with chronic illness ever has to feel alone. We talk about the day where Find Your Ditto is a resource given to all patients from the moment of diagnosis through their chronic illness journey.

BP: What advice would you give to others who are applying for the 2017 LBNN Award?

BW: This year’s award promises to be everything last year’s was and more— complete with VC conversations and even a monetary prize! But, make no mistake— one of the biggest values in this award is being in the company of other diabetes innovators. As a mentor of ours, Ryan Gourley of TechArb, always says:

“just throw your hat in the ring.”

If you are thinking about applying but fear that you’re “not ready” or “not quite the fit”— put an application in! Use every opportunity available to you to get your idea out there. And contact me if you have any questions via LinkedIn or brianna@findyourditto.com.

Lyfebulb Announces the Ten Finalists of the Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award


We are so proud to announce the ten finalists that will travel to Copenhagen, Denmark, to compete for the 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award!!!

We received a ton of great applications from amazing patient entrepreneurs, but were tasked to narrow them down to ten.  We thank everyone that applied and admire the efforts of all patient entrepreneurs out there.

We formally made the announcement of the ten finalists this morning, and love the entrepreneurship, innovation, strength, and dedication they have shown throughout their careers to improve their lives, or the lives of loved ones, living with diabetes.


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