Born in 1961, Neal was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on April 13, 1967. His diabetes has affected his vision, his feet, and kidneys. In 1997, he had a kidney transplant. He received the kidney from his brother. Three years later, he received a pancreas transplant from a cadaver donor.
For most of Neal’s adult life, he thought about starting a foundation. It was just a thought until The Day. Neal owns a restaurant franchise and, one day while working and taking orders at the drive-thru a lady gave her order and pulled forward to the window. Neal opened the drive-thru window and gave her the total. The customers asked, “Are you Neal?”
He answered, “Yes.” He closed the window and began counting the change due her. In his mind he wondered why she wanted to know his name.
He concluded it must be one of two reasons. She had a cause and was looking for support or, as a restaurant, we had made a mistake on an earlier order. Neal gave the woman her change and she asked, “Are you a diabetic?”
Curious, Neal thought, “Wow, who is this lady? Very few people know that about me.”
He replied he was diabetic and questioned the woman about why she was asking.
She replied, “I wish my daughter would have gotten to know you.”
Neal thought that was an honor. The woman then proceeded to tell him that her daughter had become a diabetic, but was unable to cope with it and she took her own life.
Neal told the woman how sorry he was and the woman thanked him. He has never seen that woman again, but that was “The Day” Neal put his idea into motion. With the help of his wife Lora, and three children, Life Change Connection was created in 2012 to empower people affected by diabetes.
If you read this, you in some way are affected by diabetes. Be one who “Changed a life.”