People to Know 2013: Merle Gleeson
Back in 1997 in the North Shore Chicago suburbs, Merle Gleeson was passionate about starting a support group for adults with type 1 diabetes. Frustrated by the lack of information available during short doctor visits, she decided to provide educational meetings as part of her mission. She saw a need to bring adults together to talk about their struggles of living with this chronic disease, so she created the Type 1 Diabetes Lounge.
As a Joslin 50-Year Medalist and an avid cyclist and exercise enthusiast, Merle has an abiding passion to help people with type 1 diabetes live healthy and happy lives. Endocrinologists and diabetes educators throughout Chicagoland refer their patients to the Type 1 Diabetes Lounge, and many members travel from afar to attend monthly meetings. These invaluable gatherings provide opportunities for support and education.
Merle also hosts fund-raisers for diabetes research and has organized special educational seminars with researchers and an array of medical reps exhibiting the latest in diabetes technology. It's her goal to keep members up to date on what's going on in the diabetes community.
As her friend and one of the earliest members of the Type 1 Diabetes Lounge, I'm proud to serve as a board member of this unique not-for-profit group. The education and support I have gained over the years have helped me deal with my own 63-year struggle with type 1 diabetes. My life has been made easier knowing Merle and many of the other members of the T1DL community.
Steve Levinson is treasurer of the Type 1 Diabetes Lounge Board and a dear friend of Merle Gleeson. He has lived with type 1 diabetes for 63 years.