James P. McGough Awarded 75-Year Medal

James McGough during his 75-year Medalist presentation ceremony

In a ceremony on October 15, Joslin Diabetes Center awarded James P. McGough, of Arlington, Massachusetts, a 75-year medal, representing 75 years with type 1 diabetes and without any serious complications.

Mr. McGough is one of 69 people to receive the 75-Year medalist award, which was originated by Elliott P. Joslin in 1948 when Dr. Joslin began awarding people a 25-Year medal. Since then the program has grown to incorporate the 50-Year medal in 1970 and the 75-Year medal in 1996. As the medalist program continues to grow, Joslin celebrates more diabetes milestones with the first 80-Year medal awarded this past May.

George King, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Joslin, presented the medal to Mr. McGough after delivering the opening remarks where he spoke about the transformation of diabetes management since the time of Mr. McGough’s diagnosis in 1938. He also spoke about Mr. McGough’s journey with type 1 diabetes, including his relationship with Joslin, which began in 1970.

After receiving his medal from Dr. King, Mr. McGough took the stage to give a few remarks about his experiences with type 1 diabetes.  He graciously thanked his parents and his doctors at Joslin, specifically, Dr. Robert Bradley, Dr. Lloyd M. Aiello, Dr. Lloyd P. Aiello, Dr. Jerry Cavallerano, Dr. Elizabeth Halprin and nurse practitioner Ann R. Miller for all of their great care and support of over the years. Mr. McGough also spoke about his excitement for reaching 75 years with diabetes and no serious complications.

“I felt so proud that I’ve accomplished [the 75 year mark] and to be in good health, and then Dr. Halpirn said there’s got to be medal and I said ‘fine, I’m ready,’” Mr. McGough said.

Mr. McGough went on to detail his journey with diabetes that began with a difficult diagnosis. At the age of two, Mr. McGough went into a coma for two weeks until finally Dr. David Hurwitz at Mt. Auburn hospital in Cambridge took a blood and urine test and discovered that he had type 1 diabetes. Mr. McGough was one of the first babies to be diagnosed with diabetes at Mt. Auburn hospital.

“It was a struggle [at first], but I had a good foundation with my mom, dad and Dr. Hurwitz’s help,” recalled Mr. McGough. “When I came to the Joslin clinic in 1970, Dr. Bradley then set me on the right road with my mom and dad’s help.”

Mr. McGough also dished out high praises to both Dr. Lloyd M. Aiello and Dr. Lloyd P. Aiello, and especially to Dr. Aiello senior, who performed a laser treatment on Mr. McGough to help with a micro-aneurism in the back of his eye and later on a detached retina, both of which have not bothered him since.  Despite these minor setbacks, Mr. McGough has successfully controlled his diabetes, aided by the strong support that he receives from his family.

“It was kind of a struggle, but here I am, thanks to my family for putting up with me, and they have to put up with me for another couple of years, or five more years until [I get the 80 year medal],” joked Mr. McGough.

He ended his speech by sharing his appreciation for the all of the people who have helped him reach this 75 year milestone.

“I’m eternally grateful, I’ve always wanted a medal.”

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