How One Research Information Volunteer is changing the Greater Bay Area’s Understanding of T1D.
Kimberly Chisholm’s passion is contagious. Her eyes light up when she talks about science, especially when it comes to research focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D). She gushes as she speaks about how starstruck she was when she met Dr. Seung Kim, a professor of developmental biology at Stanford University School of Medicine who has discovered the metabolic pathway that controls proliferation of beta cells. Kimberly says that compared to all of her brushes with fame throughout the years, including a serenade by Joan Baez and a kiss on the cheek from Bono, “not one of these encounters with celebrity compares to the moment I met Seung Kim.” That’s because Kimberly is truly excited about scientific breakthroughs, and even more passionate about finding a cure for T1D.
Kimberly’s son Will was diagnosed with T1D in 2009. Within months, Kimberly came to JDRF looking for ways to help make a difference. She now serves on the JDRF Bay Area Executive Board as VP of Research and VP of Major Gifts, and plays a critical in helping our volunteers, staff, and donors understand the latest in T1D research as a research information volunteer (RIV). Her goal is to improve communication between the scientific community, the larger JDRF organization and the people who live with T1D every day. Mavie Mendelson, associate executive director of JDRF Bay Area says, “She is able to capture the important facts, break them down and turn them into tangible bits. She has the amazing ability to put perplexing science into everyday language.” This talent of hers gets people to listen and understand how the research will make a real difference in the lives of those affected by T1D.
As a best-selling author whose work has also been published in a variety of magazines, Kimberly decided to launch a blog on www.jdrfbayarea.org to help increase awareness of T1D and to report on scientific research advancements. Inspired by a conversation with her son, she titled the blog, Lessons Earned: Science, Struggles and Type-1 Diabetes. She writes three columns a week, including “Memoir Monday” in which she describes her day to day life facing T1D. By publicly opening up about her struggles with T1D in such a personal way, she has touched many, many people who now feel less alone. Her blog has attracted so many followers, with numerous readers who chime in with their own comments, that it is slated to be syndicated on other chapter websites in the coming year.
When asked what a cure for T1D would mean to her, Kimberly says, “Not having to think about whether Will is too high or too low at bedtime and whether he’s ‘covered’ everything he’s eaten that evening and how much exercise he’s done during the day and whether or not his pump site is working correctly and if he might be having a growth spurt and whether or not he’s had fast or slow carbohydrates lately. Not having to think about those things would mean that I wouldn’t have to worry about coming into his room in the early hours to find that my kid can’t wake up.” Kimberly lives in Menlo Park, CA with her husband and three children.