Making a Difference

Supporting the Diabetes Community

For Linda Laustsen, a member of the Diabetes & Cardiovascular business unit, personal connections to those impacted by diabetes give special meaning to her work .

Linda Lausten

More than 30 million people have diabetes in the U.S., so it’s safe to say that the condition has touched the lives of many people you know. It’s true for me, as some of my co-workers, friends and family have diabetes. My mother had diabetes, and when I saw how she was affected by the condition, it made my work at Sanofi even more meaningful and has inspired me for the past 15 years.

It’s because of my mom and my friends that I am deeply involved with DiabetesConnect, one of Sanofi’s nine employee resource groups (ERGs). ] DiabetesConnect provides a forum for employees who have been diagnosed with diabetes, care for someone with diabetes, or want to learn more about the condition. Team members network with one another and gain access to experts in the field – physicians, nurses, nutritionists, and more – whose insights can enhance their management or care of the condition. One thing I’ve learned from DiabetesConnect: Diabetes never takes a day off.

This November, American Diabetes Month, Sanofi will also offer events to raise awareness among its employees. My colleagues will have an opportunity to hear from Nicole Johnson, PhD, National Director of Mission at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). You might remember her as the winner of the 1999 Miss America pageant who shared her personal story about living with type 1 diabetes during the pageant. Nicole will speak to employees about her experience with diabetes and all that JDRF is doing to support the community. We’ll also offer HbA1C (blood sugar) testing and education onsite to help employees understand their risks and how to manage a well-balanced lifestyle.

I am most proud of our efforts outside of Sanofi, however, and am honored to have been part of a team that helped donate millions of dollars worth of insulin products over the years to youth summer camps across the country, impacting thousands of campers. Diabetes camps provide unique and exciting experiences where youth can learn to independently manage their diabetes among friends and dedicated professionals.

One of our recipients is Camp Nejeda, a camp in New Jersey for children with type 1 diabetes and their families. In addition to providing insulin products and financial support, Sanofi sends teams of volunteers throughout the summer to help greet new campers, open the camp, and close it at the end of the season. We’ve even helped with special projects, such as building a GaGa pit and a teepee.

The relationships I have built over the years within the diabetes community have provided me with great satisfaction. I am very lucky and proud to work at a company that not only supports community involvement, but encourages it as well.