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Mary Tyler Moore leaves legacy behind: find a cure for type 1 diabetes

Posted at 6:40 PM, Jan 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-26 18:40:41-05

"It definitely changes your world... you're constantly watching what your blood sugar is," said Patrick Marks, who has type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes, a constant challenge for the 1.25 million Americans living with it. Patrick Marks is one of them.

"I work and I'm sitting in meetings, and your sensor is beeping because your blood sugar is low or its high," said Marks. "It's a 24/7 disease."

He was diagnosed at the age of 29, the only one in his family to have this life-long autoimmune disease. The only clues that pointed that direction: his thirst and weight loss.

"Never though tit would happen, I didn't even know what it was," he said, while remembering his routine doctor checkup about 20 years ago.

So turning to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the leading researcher trying to find a cure for type 1 diabetes, seemed like common sense.

"We are actively looking to find a cure for this disease," said Edward Dickey, president of the board at JDRF.

And they weren't alone. Mary Tyler Moore, the legendary actress who died Wednesday, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 33... a similar age to Marks'.

"Having a celebrity that is diagnosed with something that you are, it gives you an association with that person, and it motivates you to find a cure," said Marks.

But it's an illness that can affect all ages, like Edward Dickey's 14-year-old daughter.

"I wake up at midnight every night, at 3 every night, just to make sure she's okay," said Dickey.

But no matter the age, Moore left an imprint on the diabetes community.

"She knew the impact that the disease had in her life and the impact, more importantly, that it had on children growing up with the disease long-term and short-term," said Dickey.