On a crisp Maine fall day in 2018, Morgan received her devastating diagnosis: type 1 diabetes. The rest of her life would now include regular finger pricks, blood sugar tests and insulin injections.
“I spent three weeks in my room, just crying.” Morgan said.
But then? But then Morgan had an idea. And quickly got to work.
“I always wanted to make a difference in the world, now this is my chance,” Morgan said.
With the help of her parents and her science teacher, Morgan channeled her adversity into ingenuity, creating an invention with the potential to help the 415 million other people around the world with diabetes. It’s called the Blood Glucose Test Strip Dispenser – a device that can reduce the potential contamination of test strips caused by manual strip handling when people with diabetes prepare to test their blood sugar. It won her a trip to the Invention Convention, and the Koch Young Visioneer Award, which gave her the opportunity to travel with her mom to a real innovation facility (Phillips-Medisize) and learn from professional inventors and refine her idea.
“I’m really happy that the Invention Convention happened,” Morgan said. “It got me out of my shell and thinking. I knew straight away we were going to do something related to diabetes.”
At Phillips-Medisize labs, Morgan saw firsthand how medical technology engineers bring life-saving medical devices to life.
“I also learned this company made a lot of the diabetes products that I have,” Morgan said. “I met somebody who made my insulin pen. And that was really cool.”
“What surprised me the most was definitely how excited they were to have me,” she continued. “I didn’t think the day was going to be literally all about me.”
And it was. The Phillips-Medisize team planned a full day of experimentation, innovation and learning for Morgan to advance her invention and think about how take it to the market.
In addition to the trip to the Phillips-Medisize innovation labs and even a visit with Maine’s governor, Morgan’s journey has taken another exciting turn. Less than a year after her life-changing diagnosis, Morgan’s work has landed her an invite to headline as a speaker for the New England Chapter’s annual American Diabetes Association Convention in November.
“So now I get to speak to 500 people.” Morgan said. “I read the speech to my dad and I’ve never seen him cry that hard. He literally couldn’t talk.”
Morgan’s mom, Nicole, added, “We never expected so many wonderful things to happen, but we would give it all back to not have diabetes. However, since this is our life now and there’s currently no cure, what we can do now is try to make a difference and to ease the daily struggles for all those suffering with this disease.”