Alabamian with diabetes built her own artificial pancreas, gives away plan for free
Dana Lewis is a good name to remember the next time you hear somebody say Alabama's mostly good for football and barbecue.
Lewis, a University of Alabama graduate who grew up in Huntsville, used social media, computer skills and mail-order parts to invent an artificial pancreas for people with diabetes. Along with co-inventor and husband Scott Leibrand, she's now giving her discovery away.
The device is a success - hundreds of people are using it, including Lewis - and it is bringing the young inventors increasing attention. Just this spring, Fast Company put the 28-year-old Lewis on its 2017 list of America's 100 "most creative people in business."
Diabetes is caused when the pancreas fails to make the insulin that helps the body turn glucose from sugar and carbohydrates into energy. Without insulin, sugar builds up in the blood stream. With too much insulin, it can fall to dangerously low levels. For diabetics, staying in the safe center is a constant challenge.
"You really do make hundreds of decisions a day about things that impact your blood sugar," Lewis said last week from her current home in Seattle. "It's a lot. And it really does impact everybody who cares for a person with diabetes - spouses, siblings, parents, grandparents. Oftentimes, a person with diabetes is surrounded by a half-a-dozen people who help care for them and love them."
Lewis was an example of that. She moved to Seattle for a job after graduating from Alabama. The daughter of a Huntsville engineer, she attended Grissom High School before going to Tuscaloosa.
At the university, Lewis minored in an Continue reading