Dr. L.K. Shankhdhar; Director and Chief Diabetologist, L.K.Diabetes Centre,Lucknow, India
It was during my stay at Republic Square at Paris, while I was attending 18th Congress of International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in 2003 that I happened to go through an anecdote published in a health magazine, provided in the kit of the congress, titled "Equilebre." This anecdote is very inspiring and needs profuse readership. 13 years old Eve, a Jewish teenager from Parguay, fell in love with Victor, a 16 year old neighbour and a family friend. After 6 year, when Eve was 19 years old, the wedding bells rang. In 1939 Nazis from Germany attacked the country and occupied it, threatening existence of Jewish community. With 20 Marks and a few clothes, the couple escaped through the next available ship, which deported them at Shanghai.
Victor soon found a job in a reputed woolen mill while Eve became an English teacher in a neighboring school and the couple started their life from scratch in a new country. But the destiny had something else for them.....Noticing intense thirst and weight loss in Eve, Victor consulted a Chinese Physician who diagnosed her to suffer from Type 1 Diabetes. By this time Insulin was easily available in Shanghai, so Eve soon recovered her lost health and went back to job. When Japanese invaded Shanghai and cut off its connections with rest of the world, severe scarcity of Insulin ensued and Insulin became costlier than gold. The occupying forces took away forcibly, all important medicines, including Insulin, from the drug shops for their personal usage and the shop keepers closed down the shutters. Seeing Eve's health, deteriorating day by day, Victor requested several Chinese doctors to try making Insulin, but they refused.
So he put his head into the books and read the original account, narrating the way Banting extracted Insulin from Dogs' Pancreas. Next he had to search a place, which could serve as Laboratory. This need was fulfilled by his Chinese friend Wong, who was a food Inspector and used to test food prepared by small vendors. One fine morning Victor hunted a kabaus (a kind of Buffalo), separated pancreas from it and made a determined effort to make Insulin, as per procedure, described by Banting. Some how he prepared an extract of Insulin but could not dare to inject it into his wife. He first injected a shot in a rabbit and when the rabbit fell unconscious, Victor became sure of its efficacy. Next he injected that Insulin in Eve who soon picked up health and returned to her work. This inspired Victor to undertake social work and help other patients of Diabetes, who were in crisis due to non-availability of Insulin. Soon he discovered that some 200 Insulin dependant Diabetics were there in the city, so he formed a club of relatives, came out early in the morning to hunt the animals and prepared Insulin in his way through out the day to provide adequate quantity to these patients. This he continued till the end of the world war and because of his humane effort, no patient died due to lack of Insulin. This anecdote reaffirms truthfulness of a common saying-"where there is will, there is a way."