In March 2011, Liz Sacco, a mother of four very active boys, noticed that her oldest son, David, then 9, was constantly drinking and never able to quench his thirst. After watching him for about a week and wondering if something might be wrong, she brought him to the pediatrician. It was there that David was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
This was uncharted territory for the Middleton family, which also includes Liz’s husband Dave, and their three other sons. No one in their family or any of their close friends was diabetic.
Because David (now 14), Tommy (13), and twins A.J. & Chris (11) are constantly on the go, the Saccos wondered how this diagnosis would affect the family’s lifestyle. The boys all play a variety of sports, but they have a passion for ice hockey. Drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1988, their Dad, Dave Sacco, also played for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the New York Islanders during his five-year career. Sacco represented the United States as part of the national ice hockey team in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. Dave’s older brother, Joe Sacco, also played in the NHL and is currently an assistant coach with the Boston Bruins.
“Ever since his diagnosis, David has had remarkable resolve,” says Liz Sacco. “He understands that diabetes is a part of his life, but he isn’t going to let it stop him from achieving his goals. Soon after accepting and understanding the diagnosis, however, I constantly struggled to find a clean and easy way for him to remove the excess blood from his finger after blood glucose testing.”
Testing blood sugar levels is a regular part of every diabetic’s day. With David being a young and active boy, he tests his blood at least six times a day. Sacco attempted to find an efficient solution to help her son simplify his testing routine. “I tried placing a travel-size Kleenex in his case, which was much too cumbersome,” Liz Sacco says. “I put a single tissue in his case, which wastefully he would throw out after just one use. So being a typical nine-year-old boy, David resorted to wiping his finger on the inside of his case or on his clothes.”
After spending two years diligently searching for a solution to this simple problem, Sacco developed Diabetic Dabs. Dabs are nontoxic, highly absorbent sheets that safely wipe away the excess blood left on your finger after blood glucose testing. Simply pull off one sheet from the small stackable pad, wipe your finger, and throw it away, with far less waste than an alcohol swab or tissue. Each pad of 50 wipes features an adhesive backing that allows the user to stick Dabs right inside their testing case so they are always there when needed.
“Liz’s invention came directly from her wanting to help our son,” says Dave Sacco. “It was inspirational to watch her develop a product that not only helps our son, but anyone with diabetes.”
“My dream is a cure for diabetes so no one has to use this product for glucose testing,” adds Liz Sacco. “I have realized there is a need for Dabs, however, even if my dream comes true. My unique stacking patent for the Dabs has a variety of uses outside of healthcare that I’m just starting to explore. I look forward to seeing where and how Dabs will be used in the future.”
Liz Sacco and her company, Diabetic Dabs, give a portion of all profits to help diabetes research. To learn more, go to diabeticdabs.com.