At the age of nine, Johnny Maiorino was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes, a disease that is life-changing. Most children spend time thinking about which game to play next; Johnny’s childhood involved praying for life without self-administered insulin and multiple blood tests each day. After 25 years of insulin injections, it was no longer helping. The disease was damaging his kidneys, affecting his nervous system, and caused temporary loss of eyesight that had to be corrected with surgery.
Johnny’s doctor told him he would only get worse, and recommended a pancreas transplant. Johnny’s dream of not having to take insulin injections was answered in June 2003 when he received the transplant. His life changed, but the road to recovery was very long and difficult. Determined to help others struggling with Type 1 Diabetes, Johnny is fundraising to support the work of Dr. Steven Paraskevas, who is researching islet transplantation. This involves transplanting insulin-producing islet cells from a healthy individual’s pancreas into the pancreas of someone with diabetes. This alternative to a pancreas transplant is much less invasive and carries less risk of complications. It is Johnny’s dream to see this procedure become standard for people living with Type 1 Diabetes.
Johnny raised nearly $30,000 for islet transplantation.