Tom Gaglardi’s hotel business takes him all over the world, and wherever he goes, whenever he sees a tell-tale needle, he offers his credentials.

His son, Wilson Gaglardi, 11, was diagnosed five years ago, not long after his father bought the Stars out of bankruptcy. His symptoms were typical. Thirsty all the time. Once doctors confirmed the diagnosis, Gaglardi educated himself on the incurable condition and the maintenance it requires. An insulin shot before every meal. Another at bedtime. Blood sugar checks. Pumps and pricks and test strips. Highs and lows. On and on and on.

In Wilson’s case, his parents check him three times a night. First at 10, again at midnight, then once more at 3.

If his blood sugar is off at 3, they give him something for it, then check him again at 4.

“It’s a tough slog,” Gaglardi said. “We gotta solve it.”

He doesn’t just mean his family’s lack of sleep. This is why he sees, say, a restaurant employee giving himself a shot and starts asking questions. What kind of insulin do you use? Ever thought about a pump? In this particular case, the guy tells him he can’t afford one. Can’t even check his blood sugar as much as he should. Test strips are too expensive.

“And that just kills you,” Gaglardi said. “I look at what we spend, and unless you’ve got a major plan, who can afford that?

This is why Gaglardi does more than ask questions. He’s donated money and raised more for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. He’s met with leading researchers. He promotes funding for advances in maintenance, but he’s more interested in potential remedies. Encapsulation, for example, where a credit card-sized device is implanted beneath the skin and releases insulin automatically as needed.

What he wants is a cure, and he believes it may be as close as three or four years.

Toward that end, the JDRF will honor Gaglardi at its Dream Gala banquet on April 8 at the Omni Dallas. Jim Lites, the Stars’ president, is the corporate chair. This year’s fundraising goal: $1.5 million.

Every night, Gaglardi is reminded of the need to meet the JDRF’s goals. He’s reminded when Wilson looks up at him and says, “I’m tired of having this. I don’t want it anymore.”

“I say to him, ‘Buddy, we’re gonna get a cure,'” Gaglardi said. “And he believes me.”

From The Dallas News