Lilly Diabetes Launch ‘Leonard Award’ to Celebrate the Centenary of the Discovery of Insulin

Last update: 30/11/-0001

2021 marks the centennial anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Sir Frederick G. Banting, Charles Best, and John Macleod at the University of Toronto. This development revolutionised diabetes treatment and saved countless lives over the past 100 years.


On 11 January 1922, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson became the first person living with diabetes to be injected with insulin. However, he soon developed an acute allergic reaction to the treatment. Over the following 12 days, James Bertram Collip worked tirelessly to purify the insulin and a second dose was administered to Thompson on January 23rd. The test results showed that this lifesaving second dose had made his blood and urinary sugars drop and settle within optimal range. Leonard lived for another 13 years. Insulin had saved his life.

Inspired by the life of Leonard Thompson, Lilly Diabetes has launched the Leonard Award to ‘recognize diverse champions around the world dedicated to advancing diabetes management through innovative thinking and novel approaches.’

Through the Leonard Award, Lilly will donate $100,000 to Life for a Child in recognition of five Award winners in the following categories:

  • Teens/ young adults (18-25 years old)
  • Advocates/ advocacy professionals
  • Endocrinologists/ primary care providers
  • Diabetes educators/ nurses
  • Researchers

To be considered for the award, nominees will be required to submit an original project, innovation, or effort – beyond drug or device therapy – that addresses either an important need or challenge in the management of diabetes or aims to support the community. Entry into the award is free for all.

The call for nominations and submissions is now open and will remain so until August 31, 2021. Winners will be selected by an external panel of global leaders in the diabetes community and will be announced around World Diabetes Day in November. Nominations and submissions can be made here.

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