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#WorldDiabetesDay: 4 Incredible Facts About Our Own Frederick Banting

Posted by cirvine on November 14, 2016


Diabetes is something my family is all too familiar with. In the past ten years, my cousin and brother were both diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and my uncle was diagnosed with Type 2. Since those initial diagnoses all those years ago, I’ve watched them adapt to a new way of life in managing their disease. One major addition to their daily routine is the injection of insulin.


Today is World Diabetes Day. It’s a day to get informed, perhaps get tested, and to honour the scientists that discovered insulin, the key to treating the disease. Canada’s own Sir Frederick Banting, featured on today’s Google Doodle, was born 125 years ago on this day. Today we honour him for his co-discovery of insulin and for the thousands of lives his team has saved.

And Now, A Few Amazing Facts About The Awesome Sir Frederick Banting:


He’s Local

He was born on a farm in Alliston, Ontario and started a practice in London, Ontario on 442 Adelaide Street N (shown above). You can find the Banting House Museum there today which has been deemed a National Historic Site of Canada and officially recognized as the “Birthplace of Insulin”. You can also find there the “Flame of Hope” which was ignited by Queen Elizabeth in 1989. The flame will burn until a cure is found, and is to be extinguished by the scientists who find that cure. Those same scientists will also unearth a time capsule left by the International Diabetes Federation in 1991 as part of Banting’s centenary celebration! How cool is that?


He Was a Military Hero

In 1914, Banting attempted to enter the army but was refused twice due to poor eyesight. He successfully joined in 1915 and his medical education was fast-tracked in order to have more doctors in the war-effort. In 1918, he was seriously wounded in the Battle of Cambrai, and despite his injury and intense enemy fire he helped other wounded men for sixteen hours until another doctor told him to stop. For this he was awarded the Military Cross in 1919 for heroism.


He’s an Acclaimed Artist

After winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine at the young age of 31, Banting felt all the professional pressures that follow that kind of success. He found refuge from this stress in painting, and eventually formed a close bond with Group of Seven painter A.Y. Jackson. The two travelled much of Canada together painting the Rockies and Northern landscape. His works are quite collectible.

He Died Serving Our Country

When the Second World War broke out, Banting began working for the National Research Council in the area of aviation medicine. His work helped contribute to the G-suit, a special outfit worn by pilots to prevent blood from pooling in the lower parts of their body which causes them to black out. In 1941, Banting made the decision to fly to Great Britain to ensure the safe transport of this secret Allied research. His plane failed shortly after departure, and crashed on Newfoundland’s Seven Mile Pond. He survived, but was mortally wounded and died on February 21, 1941.

Related blog posts: Today We Remember.

From all of us here at Execulink, today we say thank you to Sir Frederick Banting and his team for all their efforts both in science and in battle. The discovery of insulin has saved millions of lives, including some of the lives of my own family. We are forever in his debt.

To learn more about diabetes, and to screen yourself to discover your risk of getting the disease, please visit the International Diabetes Federation website here.


Sources (photos and information):



Candice Irvine, Blogger, Marketing Specialist, Graphic Designer

I'm addicted to games of all kinds: boardgames, video games, card games, mind games... nah, just kidding about that last one. Or am I?