John Robert Wiltgen, author of “The Candy in My Pocket” and residential design legend, joins us to share some highlights from his 50+ years with type 1 diabetes. What struck me most is how positive he’s stayed despite numerous health complications related to T1D, and how he’s using his story to show that we can remain optimistic even in the worst of times.
Meet John Robert Wiltgen
John Robert Wiltgen was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 8 years old. His family was told he would not live to see 40. A diabetic for almost 55 years, he has battled the many complications of this debilitating disease.
John is the author of The Candy in My Pocket (affiliate link), a book to help people of all beliefs and backgrounds remain optimistic in the worst of times—no matter what personal or professional challenges they’re dealing with.
John’s mother organized the first bike-a-thon for the American Diabetes Association, when he was only 13 years old. At 27, six months before John received a kidney transplant, he organized a designer showcase home in the tony Chicago suburb of Barrington Hills to benefit the American Diabetes Association (ADA). At 30, he was a board member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Chicago Chapter. He has been a tireless fundraiser for diabetes research including co-chairing a man-of-the-year event honoring the legendary Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz.
Now 62, John is a legend in the world of residential design and lectures, specifically on that topic. He sees a team of 9 doctors (cardiologist, dermatologist, endocrinologist, oncologist, infectious disease, nephrologist, ophthalmologist, pulmonologist, and retinologist) on a regular basis. They help him manage his life with type 1 diabetes and its complications. He retired in 2017 after spending 21 days in ICU with four different kinds of pneumonia. In April of 2020 he was hospitalized with COVID 19 for 15 days. The hospital told his husband to begin planning for cremation. Fortunately for the completion of his memoir he’s still here.
About his life John likes to quote the American writer, Elbert Hubbard:
“Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out alive.”
Powerful Question / Journaling Prompt
Put yourself in John’s shoes. How would you want to show up to your life if faced with the same things John faced?
Links & Resources
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- Buy The Candy in My Pocket (affiliate link)
- Visit John’s Website, The Candy in My Pocket
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