OUR FOUNDER’S STORY
The year was 1970. A gallon of gas cost 36 cents, the very first Earth Day was celebrated and the smooth iconic sound of the Beatles song, “Let it Be” lingered on the radio waves. It also happened to be the year that the TCOYD story truly begins and the year one man’s mission began to take shape.
Steve Edelman was 15 years old. He lost 20 pounds in just a few weeks, developed an unquenchable thirst and a desperate need to sleep. What he didn’t know at the time was that his pancreas had stopped producing insulin. The weeks progressed, his symptoms did not relent, and he eventually went to the doctor just in time to sidestep a diabetic coma. He emerged from the ICU a few weeks later with the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Steve was given strict instructions from his doctor to take one shot of insulin per day in the morning, follow a strict diet, test his urine for glucose four times a day, and keep stringent records.
As the years continued to pass, Steve developed an intense passion for the sciences and decided to go to medical school. He completed his undergraduate premedical studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and during that time became increasingly interested in endocrinology. By watching and learning from his mentors, Steve slowly started to get on track with his own diabetes complications. He began to realize that one shot of insulin a day was totally inadequate and subsequently he slowly started to improve his own regimen to allow for better control.
Steve entered his first year of medical school in 1978 at the University California, Davis. He distinctly remembers sitting in a lecture hall teaming with eager medical students and listening to his professor cite statistics from a textbook about the high death rate in people with diabetes. At that moment the feeling in the room suddenly changed, a tension rose and bloomed, and Steve knew that everyone in his class was desperately trying not to look at him. His professor went on to state that 50% of people with diabetes die from diabetic kidney disease within 20 years after their initial diagnosis. Later that afternoon in his physiology laboratory, he had to dissect the cadaver of a 25-year-old male who had died of diabetic kidney disease; Steve was 23 at the time with eight years of diabetes behind him. At that moment his life’s purpose began to sharpen and he knew that he would forever be linked to a mission of improving his health, the health of others with diabetes, and the medical system behind it all.
After his medical residency at UCLA and his fellowship at the Joslin Diabetes Clinic in Boston, the now Doctor Edelman, started giving lectures to the patients with diabetes at the Joslin Clinic. He noticed that individuals with diabetes all expressed a similar intense need for knowledge about their disease and how to effectively manage it. Steve eventually moved to San Diego and began teaching at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine. He soon realized that his passion was to help people with diabetes in a first-hand fashion, to speak directly to them, and give them the most cutting-edge information and knowledge that would help them live long and healthy lives with diabetes. Thus, Taking Control Of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) was born.
In 1995 Dr. Edelman founded TCOYD, a San Diego based not-for-profit organization with a mission to educate, inspire, and motivate people with diabetes.
From the time of his diagnosis in 1970 until today, he has never allowed diabetes to define his life. Instead, he spends his life’s work defining a new way to teach individuals how to live a healthy and happy life with diabetes.