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Diagnosed as a young teen in 1958, Mary Ann refers to diabetes as an “uninvited, unwelcome, very demanding, 24/7 visitor that wants its own way at any cost.” She could have become a victim, she says, “or I could learn to live with it and become a master negotiator to keep it in check. So that’s what I did.”

Graduating high school as a top student, Mary Ann applied to every school of nursing in Montreal. None accepted her. Her endocrinologist couldn’t figure out why. He visited the director of nursing education at St. Mary’s Hospital in Montreal who confirmed that diabetes was the barrier to Mary Ann’s quest to become a nurse. The endocrinologist gently reminded the nursing director that he educates student nurses about diabetes, teaching them that those with the disease can live normal lives. He asked the director if he should stop doing so. Shortly thereafter, Mary Ann received a letter of acceptance and began her studies. She would complete her education at McGill University and become a registered nurse and health educator.

“Throughout my life I have been blessed with people who have supported me and advocated on my behalf.”