ST. CHARLES – When her oldest son, David, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011, former St. Charles resident Elizabeth Lappin-Sacco’s life was suddenly thrown into “the unknown,” working with blood glucose testing strips and messy fingertips.
“This was all new territory for us,” Lappin-Sacco said. “We had never had a family member or friend with diabetes, so we didn’t know what to expect and now our son had to test his blood six to 10 times a day.”
She soon realized it was hard to find a clean, sterile and economical way for him to remove the excess blood from his finger after doing his blood glucose testing. After researching for two years and learning there was no product on the market to meet the needs of what she was looking for, she invented Diabetic Dabs.
“My 9-year-old son wasn’t using the Kleenex I was providing for him to wipe his finger,” Lappin-Sacco said. “Instead, he was wiping the blood on his case or worse yet on his clothes or licking his finger.”
Diabetic Dabs are pads of 50 highly absorbent, nontoxic sheets made out of paper towel-grade material. The pads are about 2 by 2 square inches with an adhesive back that adheres right onto the testing kit. They are always available and ready to wipe the blood away with a simple tear.
Lappin-Sacco said the most important reason for the invention was to provide a sterile place to wipe the blood, but also to eliminate the waste from using a large paper towel or Kleenex.
Before being a stay-at-home mom, Lappin-Sacco was a financial adviser. She said that when she started the business, she didn’t know what she was doing. She did a lot of research, read a lot of books, connected with a lot of people and asked a lot of questions.
“It took a lot of determination and passion to make it happen,” she said.
She started her company with the hope of making a positive impact in the lives of those living with diabetes. Now as a member of the diabetes community, she is passionate about helping others who are living with diabetes, which made her decide to donate a portion of all proceeds from Diabetic Dabs to diabetes research.
“Becoming a member of this community has brought me a new sense of purpose in life that I would have never had if David had never been diagnosed,” Lappin-Sacco said. “I have such respect, compassion and admiration for those who live with this disease 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. I hope the money we can give to diabetes research will help the fight.”
The product is sold on the company's website, www.diabeticdabs.com, and it also can be found on Amazon.com and eBay, and on a few other health care supplier websites listed on Diabetic Dabs' site. A box of 200 sheets runs about $8.49 with shipping included.
“We are also excited to be selling product on shelves at some Ingles pharmacies in some Southern states – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee,” Lappin-Sacco said. “Our goal is to get this in as many hands as possible with people living with diabetes.”
Lappin-Sacco now lives in Middleton, Mass., with her family.
Asked what advice she would give a mom whose child was recently diagnosed with diabetes, Lappin-Sacco said, “Completely embrace your emotions.”
“It’s OK to be scared, but have a positive attitude,” she added. “This is a manageable disease and with time your child will be OK. Educate yourself, ask a lot of questions, and use the resources and support of the diabetes community. It’s a wonderful group to be involved in.”