Montreal hosts Flagpole 100 Challenge for 100th Anniversary of Insulin Injection

Photo taken by Carly Rabie and Lydia Atkinson on April 4, 2022.

As part of the “Let’s Make History Again” campaign launched by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), five Canadians affected by Type 1 diabetes spent 100 hours each atop a flagpole, as a part of the Flagpole 100 Challenge in 4 major cities across the country. One of these Canadians was Leanne Souquet, who spent 100 hours on a flagpole in downtown Montreal from Monday, April 4th to Friday, April 8th.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which one’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Those diagnosed require manual insulin delivery in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first successful injection of insulin, an exciting moment in Canadian medical history. Before Canadians discovered the benefits of insulin to treat diabetes, people with the disease would become severely ill or even die, depending on the severity and type of diabetes they had. The JDRF organization is raising funds to accelerate the current efforts to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes and help improve the quality of life for those diagnosed. 

JDRF recognized that there would already be significant awareness about this anniversary, so having people on top of different flagpoles across Canada only increased its attention. The challenge took place at two flagpoles in Toronto, one in Calgary, one in Vancouver, and another in Montreal. This campaign, with the goal of raising $15 million, has been the largest fundraising campaign in JDRF history and is a part of JDRF’s larger goal in the $100M Campaign to Accelerate.

Leanne Souquet has been affected by Type 1 diabetes. In conversation, she shared that because both she and her daughter have it, she wanted to be a role model for her daughter and prove that people with Type 1 diabetes can still accomplish big things and live normal lives. While this challenge was nerve-wracking and out of her comfort zone, she explained that it was worth it to raise money and awareness for the cause. 

This campaign brings hope to the futures of those living with Type 1 diabetes that a cure can be found. Souquet described this campaign as a “rallying cry” for Canadians to get involved. Aidan Solway (U0), a McGill student with Type 1 diabetes, shared that “a cure for diabetes would be life-changing for everyone struggling with the disease and would relieve an added burden that nobody should have to manage.”

The McGill community can go to this website to donate and learn more about how to get involved.

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