Whether you work at Tandem, or use our products, we consider you part of the Tandem Family. This series explores the roots of our Tandem Family Tree and introduces you to our family members outside of the company. Meet Tandem Family Tree member Dr. Roy Collins, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was in middle school. He actually grew up watching his grandfather, who had type 2, use fingersticks to check his blood sugar each morning.
Dr. Collins admits that after being diagnosed, he wasn’t looking forward to practicing this same routine. But his roots — and his resolve — were strong. And he has access to technology that his grandfather didn’t.
Today, he is a resident physician training at Stanford Health Care. His involvement in the T1D community makes us proud to share his story and know that he’s part of our family tree.
How do you think you’ve made an impact on the lives of others?
For the first half of my life with diabetes, I mostly kept to myself. I wasn't particularly interested in seeking others with my same diagnosis, nor did I feel as though I had anything to share. The second half of my life living with diabetes, as I've participated more and more in this greater, global community, has been a much more enriching experience.
What major events have you spoken at or attended in the past?
I recently spoke at a JDRF event for people who were newly diagnosed with diabetes. The event was part of an effort to reach new T1D's at a time when community is so important. It was planned in concert with mailed care packages full of resources a newly diagnosed T1D might need.
How would you describe your experiences as a person of color with type 1 diabetes?
As an athlete with diabetes, all my role models in the type 1 community — Adam Morrison, Gary Hall Jr., Jay Cutler — were all white. So, there was a great dichotomy in having a completely different lived experience, with the exception of this one incredibly binding thing that dominates so many areas of each of our lives.
I have really enjoyed all the different ways in which diabetes has connected me to folks from different backgrounds than mine. I'm really enjoying hopping on Zoom calls with young adults who have diabetes all over this country. I feel great now representing the demographics that I felt were not present when I was first diagnosed.
What sort of action would you like to see from others in the community who use Tandem products and are part of our Family Tree?
I've seen a lot of energy on social media around the price of insulin and access to CGMs. In 2021, I want T1D's to become involved in advocacy. The T1D community is fervent, active, and we're stronger in numbers.
What is the most common question you get about your t:slim X2™ insulin pump?
After nearly a decade of being asked why I have a beeper, no one asks me questions anymore now that I'm actually a doctor.
How would you describe your experience with your t:slim X2 pump?
The connection of the t:slim X2 pump to the Dexcom CGM and the resulting Control-IQ® technology is an absolute game changer. Finally, there's technology that intervenes even faster than I can.
If you met someone newly diagnosed, what would be your advice to them?
The online T1D community is mind-blowingly engaged. Come in with an open mind and get ready to make a bunch of new friends.
Our thanks to Dr. Collins for sharing his insights. We appreciate all that you do for the T1D community.
We encourage you to follow his website and social media channels.
From time to time, we may pass along suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem insulin pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. Please note, however, individual symptoms, situations, circumstances, and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified healthcare provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.