How Your $1 Donation Can Help Someone in Need

WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN SERVING MEALS IN THE NAVAJO NATION

WCK’s team in Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation – known as Dinétah to the Diné people – has been creating more than 1,500 meal kit boxes every week with enough ingredients to feed a family of four for a full week. The WCK team delivers the boxes across Navajo Nation to elders who are isolating for safety as well as families with members who have tested positive for COVID-19 and at testing sites. With COVID hitting the Diné community very hard, WCK wants to ensure anyone in need of food can be taken care of while staying home to help stop the spread of the virus. 

Your $1+ donation today at dollardonations.org helps WCK feed those in need. 

At Dollar Donations we don’t get paid for our work. 100% of your donation goes directly to World Central Kitchen.

Dollar Donations is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Learn more at dollardonations.org

How Your Dollars Are Helping Feed Americans

AS OF JULY 8TH WORLD CENTRAL KITCHEN HAS SERVED OVER 19 MILLION FRESH MEALS TO AMERICANS DURING THE PANDEMIC

Traditional safety nets like school feeding programs, city services, and food banks are struggling to meet basic needs. Seniors, who are isolated for their safety, are unable to access meal services. Meanwhile, the country’s hospital workers are more stretched than ever before.

Your $1+ donation today at dollardonations.org helps WCK feed those in need. 

At Dollar Donations we don’t get paid for our work. 100% of your donation goes directly to World Central Kitchen to feed the growing number of Americans who are food insecure due to the pandemic.

Dollar Donations is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Learn more at dollardonations.org

Dollar Donations Fundraising to Benefit World Central Kitchen

Dollar Donations is proud to announce our fundraising partnership with World Central Kitchen (WCK). Through their work WCK has been serving over 250,000 meals each day to the Americans who have been left food insecure during the COVID-19 crisis.

Donate $1+ today to help World Central Kitchen provide meals for families in need.

Under the leadership of its founder, José Andrés, WCK is helping food-insecure Americans by serving fresh meals and providing work for restaurant staff during the nationwide shutdown.

“Like many Americans, when I saw the images of the long lines of hungry people in front of food banks across the country, it struck me deeply. I wanted to see what I could do,” shared Dollar Donations founder, Jacob Stein. “I saw the work World Central Kitchen is doing and knew that I had to help them with their mission.”

To learn more about World Central Kitchen, please visit their website

Dollar Donations Fundraising to Benefit UNICEF

Today Dollar Donations began fundraising to benefit the work UNICEF is doing across our country and around the world to support and protect children and their caregivers during the pandemic. 

Donate $1+ today to help UNICEF Support and Protect Children Affected by COVID-19

UNICEF is teaching children and families how to stay safe, providing hygiene and medical kits to schools and health clinics, cleaning and disinfecting school buildings, and doing all they can to help our most vulnerable during this challenging time.

“It was important for me to partner with UNICEF during the COVID-19 pandemic because I know this is having a really negative impact on kids,” shared Dollar Donations founder, Jacob Stein. “Lots of children in our country and throughout the world are already suffering due to inadequate health care, unclean water, and food instability. I want to do my part to try to help, and that means supporting the work UNICEF is doing right now to help our most vulnerable stay safe during this critical time and for the future.”

UNICEF USA receives Charity Navigator’s highest ratings for accountability and transparency. To learn more about UNICEF’s work to protect children during the coronavirus, please visit their website.

Dollar Donations a NFTE World Series of Innovation Global Finalist!

NFTE’s World Series of Innovation is a global, online competition that invites young people (ages 13-24) to submit innovative ideas that address some of the biggest challenges facing humanity today and help advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Tens of thousands of young people, representing 63 countries and 48 states across the U.S. registered to compete in the World Series of Innovation in fall 2019. Entries were due December 2019 with the first round of judging commencing in January 2020. The top ten teams (or individuals) in each category completed their submissions for the final round of competition in February 2020, then the final round judging panels selected one winner and two runners up in March 2020.

Young innovators from across the globe enter the competition every fall and compete for cash prizes. Young people can compete solo or invite friends to join them and compete in small teams. Some teams are independent, some are affiliated with schools or youth development organizations, and some undertake a challenge as a guided classroom project. I entered Dollar Donations into the competition as a solo entry.

A BIG congratulations to the well-deserving winner Trisha Prabhu! A current Harvard University student, she developed her impressive anti-cyber-bullying app named ReThink in 2016 and has been growing it since then. She has been featured on Shark Tank and WebMD. I am honored and thrilled to be in such impressive company.

Why Your $1 Donation Is So Important Toward Saving Lives

Skyrocketing Charges for Insulin Should Be a Crime

With a simple $1 donation today to Dollar Donations, you can join others like you who want to help bring big change.

Your $1 donation benefits JDRF to support the work they do every day to improve the lives of those living with type one diabetes through the development of technology to better manage the disease, lobbying to try to drive down insulin and insurance costs, and funding research to find a cure for type one diabetes.

This article was originally published on Dr. Mercola’s website on 11/22/19. An edited version is published below.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks and destroys your pancreatic cells that produce insulin, which is why it’s also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes. Tragically, as prices of insulin have skyrocketed, many Type 1 diabetics are now risking their lives by rationing their insulin use.1

Skyrocketing Costs Force Type 1 Diabetics to Risk Their Lives

In a recent article,2 The Washington Post tells the story of Alec Raeshawn Smith, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2015, just shy of his 24th birthday. Two years later, his health insurance coverage under his mother’s policy expired, leaving him with two expensive options: Get his own insurance, which would cost about $450 per month with a $7,000 deductible, or pay for his diabetic supplies out of pocket. The Washington Post continues:

“What Alec soon learned was just how much his insulin would end up costing… The price of insulin — once modest — has skyrocketed in recent years, making the lifesaving medication a significant, even burdensome, expense, especially for the uninsured and underinsured. 

The costs are so heavy that they have driven some patients to ration their supplies of the drug in a dangerous gamble with life-threatening consequences. At the time Alec discussed skipping insurance coverage, he told his mother, ‘It can’t be that bad.’ Within a month of going off her policy, he would be dead …

As Nicole [Alec’s mother] cleaned out his cluttered blue car, littered with old prescription receipts, she started to cobble together just how much his insulin and blood sugar testing supplies cost without insurance or discounts. The total, by her count, was nearly $1,300 per month … 

That $1,300 was almost $200 more than Alec’s biweekly paycheck. Nicole now believes that Alec was rationing his insulin because of the cost … ‘We realized that he had been taking less insulin and less often than he should, trying to make it stretch until he got his next paycheck.’ He was found dead three days before payday.”

Price Gouging Insulin Should Be a Crime

As noted in the featured article,3 the three researchers (Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip4) who in 1921 discovered insulin — thereby transforming diabetic treatment and offering hope for a more or less normal life for Type 1 diabetics, who were previously doomed to die young — sold their patent to the University of Toronto for $1 each. 

According to historian Michael Bliss,5 these researchers were trying to provide a great humanitarian gift to the world. In the hands of drug companies, however, insulin has become a guaranteed profit center totally isolated from the inventors’ benevolent intentions for the use of their discovery. 

The price of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013,6,7 and has doubled again since.8 At present, the three dominant makers of insulin, Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk — which control 96% of the insulin market9 — all sell their insulin for approximately the same prices, and have raised them in lockstep, raising suspicions of price fixing.10

Drug makers also continue fine-tuning their formulas to prevent low blood sugar episodes, and while that’s good, it also ensures the drug patents don’t expire, preventing generics from being introduced.11

Price Hikes Threaten Insulin-Dependent Americans’ Lives

The Washington Post13 cites IBM Watson Health data showing Sanofi’s Lantus brand went from $35 per vial when introduced in 2001 to about $270 today, and Novolog, by Novo Nordisk, which started out at $40 per vial when released in 2001, now sells for around $289. 

According to a 2016 JAMA study,14,15 the nondiscounted price for Lantus in the U.S. in 2015 was as high as $372.75, and the discounted price $186.38. Meanwhile, that same drug sold for $67 in Canada, $60.90 in Germany and $46.60 in France. 

Even more telling is a 2018 study16 showing the estimated cost of manufacturing a 12-month supply of analog insulin is between $78 and $133 per patient, and $48 to $71 per patient per year for biosimilars. Why are patients having to pay as much as $24,000 a year for insulin that costs less than $133 to manufacture?

…the surprisingly similar price hikes by all three makers of insulin have raised suspicions that the companies are in collusion. 

Biohackers Make Their Own Insulin 

Aside from rationing, extended fasting, insulin sharing, using expired insulin, setting up GoFundMe campaigns or illegally importing insulin from other countries, some Type 1 diabetics are taking insulin production into their own hands. 

In a recent Elemental Medium article,35 Dana Smith talks about the Open Insulin Project, “a biohacker collective that is trying to produce the lifesaving drug and provide it to people with diabetes for free, or close to it.” She writes:

“The group was founded in 2015 by Anthony Di Franco, a computer scientist with Type 1 diabetes, and a longtime member of the California hacker scene … He and his collaborators think one solution to the pricing crisis lies in enabling patients and hospitals to create insulin themselves. 

The group works out of Counter Culture Labs in the trendy Temescal neighborhood of Oakland … ‘If we can make this stuff in our janky lab on a $10,000 a year budget, there’s no way it should cost this much,’ says Thornton Thompson, a molecular biologist who is part of Open Insulin. 

The Open Insulin Project

To produce insulin, the group uses yeast rather than E. coli. A French biochemist named Yann Huon de Kermadec joined the Open Insulin Project about a year-and-a-half ago. He took charge of the manufacturing process and obtained the appropriate insulin gene, which is then inserted into the DNA of the yeast, thereby producing a small amount of insulin protein.

They’ve not yet been able to extract high-enough amounts to move on to the purification stage, so at present they’re still working on increasing the yield. “If they succeed, they will go through the final steps of purifying and testing the protein. Once they’re confident that what they’ve produced really is pure insulin, Di Franco will serve as the group’s first guinea pig,” Smith writes.

According to Open Insulin, 10 liters of yeast culture are enough to make insulin for 10,000 individuals, with a startup cost as low as $1 per person. Indeed, as noted earlier, insulin manufacturing is pretty darn inexpensive — at most around $133 per person per year for an analog, and as low as $48 per person per year for a biosimilar. 

Once a well-working insulin has been developed, the group hopes to make the recipe open-source, allowing hospitals and other patient groups make it for themselves. 

[Please make a $1 (or more) donation today to help make ours a world where no one has to live with type one diabetes… or die from it.]

Sources and References from the Original Article:

1, 11 Click2Houston.com March 13, 2019

2, 3, 10, 12, 13, 23, 24, 25, 26 Washington Post January 7, 2019

4, 31, 35 Elemental Medium May 30, 2019

5 Washington Post October 31, 2016

6, 14 JAMA 2016;316(8):858-871

7 JAMA 2016;316(8):858-871 (Full Study PDF)

8, 21 Congressional Caucus on Diabetes November 1, 2018

9, 16 BMJ Global Health 2018; 3(5)

15 JAMA 2016;316(8):858-871 (Full Study PDF) page 859

The Insulin Patent Was Sold for $1 to Save Millions…Can You Donate $1 to Help Find a Cure?

In recognition of World Diabetes Day – November 14, which was Dr. Frederick Banting’s birthday – I am sharing this article about the life-saving invention of insulin. This article was originally published on 7/1/19 on the American Diabetes Association website. You may read it on their website or below.

The History of a Wonderful Thing We Call Insulin

Since the dawn of time, we have searched for ways to make life easier for us. The modern age has given us some amazing technological advances—what we would do without the internet, our iPhones or high-speed travel?

For many people, surviving life without these things sounds rough. However, if you have diabetes, no doubt you’re also a big fan of one particular 20th-century discovery: insulin.

Before insulin was discovered in 1921, people with diabetes didn’t live for long; there wasn’t much doctors could do for them. The most effective treatment was to put patients with diabetes on very strict diets with minimal carbohydrate intake. This could buy patients a few extra years but couldn’t save them. Harsh diets (some prescribed as little as 450 calories a day!) sometimes even caused patients to die of starvation.

So how did this wonderful breakthrough blossom? Let’s travel back a little more than 100 years ago.…

In 1889, two German researchers, Oskar Minkowski and Joseph von Mering, found that when the pancreas gland was removed from dogs, the animals developed symptoms of diabetes and died soon afterward. This led to the idea that the pancreas was the site where “pancreatic substances” (insulin) were produced.

Later experimenters narrowed this search to the islets of Langerhans (a fancy name for clusters of specialized cells in the pancreas). In 1910, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Shafer suggested only one chemical was missing from the pancreas in people with diabetes. He decided to call this chemical insulin, which comes for the Latin word insula, meaning “island.”

Dr. Frederick Banting

So what happened next? Something truly miraculous. In 1921, a young surgeon named Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best figured out how to remove insulin from a dog’s pancreas. Skeptical colleagues said the stuff looked like “thick brown muck,” but little did they know this would lead to life and hope for millions of people with diabetes.

With this murky concoction, Banting and Best kept another dog with severe diabetes alive for 70 days—the dog died only when there was no more extract. With this success, the researchers, along with the help of colleagues J.B. Collip and John Macleod, went a step further. A more refined and pure form of insulin was developed, this time from the pancreases of cattle.

In January 1922, Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old boy dying from diabetes in a Toronto hospital, became the first person to receive an injection of insulin. Within 24 hours, Leonard’s dangerously high blood glucose levels dropped to near-normal levels.

The news about insulin spread around the world like wildfire. In 1923, Banting and Macleod received the Nobel Prize in Medicine, which they shared with Best and Collip. Thank you, diabetes researchers!

Soon after, the medical firm Eli Lilly started large-scale production of insulin. It wasn’t long before there was enough insulin to supply the entire North American continent. In the decades to follow, manufacturers developed a variety of slower-acting insulins, the first introduced by Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, Inc., in 1936.

Insulin from cattle and pigs was used for many years to treat diabetes and saved millions of lives, but it wasn’t perfect, as it caused allergic reactions in many patients. The first genetically engineered, synthetic “human” insulin was produced in 1978 using E. coli bacteria to produce the insulin. Eli Lilly went on in 1982 to sell the first commercially available biosynthetic human insulin under the brand name Humulin.

Insulin now comes in many forms, from regular human insulin identical to what the body produces on its own, to ultra-rapid and ultra-long acting insulins. Thanks to decades of research, people with diabetes can choose from a variety of formulas and ways to take their insulin based on their personal needs and lifestyles. From Humalog to Novolog and insulin pens to pumps, insulin has come a long way. It may not be a cure for diabetes, but it’s literally a life saver.

So, what’s next for insulin? Scientists aren’t sure (though they’re working hard on it!), but one thing is certain: insulin is a medical marvel in the world of diabetes.

Please donate $1 today to benefit JDRF and the work they do to help improve and save the lives of those living with type one diabetes – including funding crucial research to find a cure.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month – Can You Spare $1 to Help Find a Cure?

Me with my sister in 2014 – two years before T1D changed our lives.

Here’s why I started Dollar Donations:

My sister has type one diabetes (T1D) after her immune system attacked her pancreas. She relies on insulin to survive. T1D is a terrible disease with no cure. I witness her daily struggle to manage it. Most people think those with T1D just can’t eat sugar. I wish! Following a healthy diet is the easiest part. What isn’t easy is how horribly sick she feels when her sugar plummets to 45 or skyrockets to 300, the multiple daily injections of insulin, wearing cumbersome life-saving devices on her body, alarms going off in class and in the middle of the night, the relentless 24/7 attention T1D requires, and the fear of getting sick and how that will impact her T1D. Worst of all is that some days she can do everything right, and it still won’t be enough. Her sugar will go dangerously high or low.

Sadly, she’s not alone. I started the nonprofit Dollar Donations so lots of people can make small (or large!) donations to drive big change. I’m raising money to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to help find a cure for T1D. Your contribution will make a big impact, whether you donate $1, $5 or $500. Every little bit helps.

Dollar Donations gives 100% of the money raised to JDRF. JDRF is a nonprofit accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.

Thank you so much for your support… Together we can make big change!
Visit www.dollardonations.org to learn more or to donate today.

Your Dollars at Work: New Drug Shows Promise Delaying T1D by 2+ Years

This article originally ran on the JDRF website 6/9/19. You may read it there or below. Note: “T1D” stands for type one diabetes.

First Human Study to Significantly Delay Type 1 Diabetes Onset

This is big. No, wait, this is ENORMOUSLY HUGE. Published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, an immunotherapy demonstrated a significant delay in the time to onset of type 1 diabetes (T1D) in high-risk relatives of people with the disease. A significant delay meaning 2+ years! This is the first ever study in humans to show a delay in the onset of T1D.

“This is an exciting and important advance that shows we can change the course of type 1 diabetes,” said Aaron J. Kowalski, Ph.D., JDRF President and CEO. “Our goal of cures for and prevention of type 1 diabetes is making real strides forward.”

The drug is called teplizumab, and it is an anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody. CD3 is a blood marker that helps to activate the immune cells—called T cells—which are thought to be responsible for T1D. JDRF funded one of the first clinical trials of this drug in new onset disease, results of which were integral to the teplizumab prevention trial discussed here.

Here are the details:

  • TrialNet did a phase 2 randomized trial and recruited 76 subjects who had not been diagnosed with the disease, but who exhibited at least 2+ autoantibodies and abnormal blood sugar (called dysglycemia). Antibodies against one’s own proteins are a marker for T1D
  • Median (average) time to T1D: 48.4 months for the teplizumab-treated subjects vs. 24.4 months for placebo-treated subjects—that means it delayed T1D for two years!
  • Moreover, 57% of teplizumab-treated subjects remained T1D-free at the conclusion of the study, compared with 28% of the placebo group—meaning that teplizumab-treated subjects were half as likely to develop T1D compared to the placebo group

TrialNet is the largest clinical trial network for T1D, funded by the National Institutes of Health, JDRF and the American Diabetes Association.

Carla Greenbaum, M.D., TrialNet Chair and Diabetes Program Director, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason in Seattle, WA, said it best: “This is an incredible advancement that gets us one step closer to our ultimate goal: a future without T1D.”

We hope so.

The antibody will now go through a phase 3 clinical trial for newly onset disease, headed by Provention Bio, a company with an investment from the JDRF T1D Fund for development of an enterovirus vaccine.

You can see why your donation to Dollar Donations to benefit the work done by JDRF is so important. Please log on to DollarDonations.org today to donate as little as $1 to the cause. Give as little or as much as you can. Become a Dollar Donations change maker and help us find a cure for T1D!