A Century of Diabetes Breakthroughs

Lilly Partners with Diabetes Ireland to celebrate a century of diabetes breakthroughs and highlight the ongoing need for progress


Eli Lilly and Company has today launched a campaign in partnership with Diabetes Ireland to highlight the huge progress that has been made in diabetes care since the discovery of insulin 100 years ago.  


The campaign shares real stories of people living with diabetes that illustrate what it’s like to live with diabetes now, recognising the breakthroughs of the past alongside the ongoing challenges of today and the future. The campaign also highlights that there is still more to do to ensure equal access to education and technology advances for everyone. 


There are almost 250,000 people in Ireland living with diabetes. Progress in treatment, support options and technology has made diabetes much easier to manage, however it is still a relentless condition to live with. The HSE recommendation is that people with diabetes are seen by a clinician 2 to 3 times a year, meaning that for the vast majority of the time they are responsible for managing their condition by themselves. 


“The breakthroughs of the last century have revolutionised diabetes care, changing and saving lives. Technology has made a huge difference, and other changes such as online peer support and improved access to education have significantly reduced the burden of diabetes,” said Shannon Rush, Diabetes Business Unit Leader for Lilly UK, Ireland and Northern Europe. “Today, we know that progress has not been felt equally across all parts of the diabetes community, and not everyone has the same access to education and new technology. At Lilly, we are committed to improving the lives of all people living with diabetes. We hope our campaign ignites discussion about how we can work to help address inequalities that exist.” 


Kieran O’Leary, CEO of Diabetes Ireland added, “We are proud to be working with Lilly to share an authentic account of the realities of living with diabetes. Despite progress made over the past century, there is still much to be done to ensure that everyone with diabetes has access to the care and support they need. Highlighting the day-to-day personal burden of managing diabetes is an important step in prompting discussion on the need for change.” 


The campaign has been developed and funded by Eli Lilly and Company working in partnership with a steering group of representatives from Diabetes Ireland, Diabetes UK, JDRF UK and Diabeteslitto (the Finnish Diabetes Association). You can view the campaign films and materials at lilly.ie/century. 



The progress made in the past century has had significant impact on the quality of life for people living with diabetes. Click the link below to read some personal stories from people with diabetes.

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