MEET THE REAL PEOPLE MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE BEHIND THE SCENES AT ABBOTT AND IN LIVES AROUND THE WORLD
The march of progress. The expansion of civilization. The advancement of technology. Since the dawn, all of it driven by humans working hard to make this life the best it can be. Every day in nearly every corner of the world, someone at Abbott is working to solve the once unsolvable, putting in the oft-long hours required to make what was once a dream into a tangible, beneficial reality that's affordable and accessible for someone, somewhere. And yet, no matter how far apart we feel, the connections among us are undeniable. The connections here just make explicit how real all of this dreaming can be.
There's a song in Vyshnnavi's heart, one that plays to the beat of an algorithm. It's one that's driven her — with her colleagues — to make the FreeStyle Libre family of continuous glucose monitors as good as they can be, with improvements as in the works. She feels that pride "every time a friend lets me know how helpful our products have been in their journey with diabetes." Get to know Vyshnnavi.
When Hannah Manis was 3, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She didn't love the regular insulin injections she needed, and she hated the multiple daily fingersticks required to check her blood sugar even more. But when she learned about FreeStyle Libre, that changed. Now nothing is standing in her way. "I'm in control with informed glucose information," she said. "Diabetes is not in control over me. Having that mindset really affects the way you take care of yourself as a whole." Get to know Hannah.
Michael Fonseca, Ph.D., may not have all the answers. But it’s a safe bet he’ll keep searching until he solves the problem. And he’ll have more settled tomorrow. Such is the nature of an engineer who values ingenuity, curiosity and hard work in equal parts. He's put all of that to good use in his life and in his life's work, including his work on CardioMEMS. Get to know Michael.
In Iris Welch's estimation, "life is good. Seriously, life is good" right now. But it wasn't always that way. In 2010, Iris was diagnosed with breast cancer. While her chemotherapy helped her beat the disease, it also damaged her heart. Because of her cancer, she wasn't eligible for a transplant. Her cardiologist was determined to find a solution that would give Iris her life back: the CardioMEMS HF System. Get to know Iris.
From his jazz roots, Daran DeShazo understands the value of improvisation. What might seem like a mistake in the strictest sense of rigid musical structure is, in jazz, more often the opening of a door to a new world of possibility that everyone can step into. For DeShazo, he takes the same approach to his work as an electrical engineer designing Neuromodulation products. Simply, DeShazo says, “It’s really just a question about how we learn from them and continually improve and move forward.” Jazz, man. Get to know Daran.
If you ask Darryn Wright, he’ll say he considers himself “lucky.” Good friends. Rewarding job. Great family. Though it wasn’t always good luck. A progressive Young Onset Parkinson’s disease diagnosis at 44 threatened to take away his ability to turn wood, spend quality time with his wife and simply pick up his grandkids. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) with our Infinity DBS System (and, according to Darryn, a little bit of luck) helped him regain control over his health. Get to know Darryn.
Matthew Fishler knows well — and what's real — when the ones you love suffer from heart events. He knows that real loss. And from that hurt has come the curiosity necessary to develop technologies that can save lives and others from the pain his family has felt. It's what's driven him from an early age to now: The development of our Aveir DR system, the first of its kind device that keeps hearts in their rhythms without the leads found in traditional pacemakers. Fishler has always had the will. With the Aveir system, he found the way. It's the stuff of TV dramas … except it’s all very real, thanks to Fishler. Get to know Matthew.
Chelsey Cornwall has lived a charmed life in and around Reno. But like any game of chance — the next flip of a card — and those vagaries of life can mean the unlikeliest of risks change the hand you're holding. For Cornwall and her identical twin Emily, that meant a congenital condition that impacts only about 1 out of very 5,000 people: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. It's a mouthful. But thanks to her Aveir, she has big plans ahead, including planning a wedding. Odds are, if it goes like her life so far, it might not turn out exactly as planned but it will be magnificent nonetheless. Get to know Chelsey.
Growing up by a picturesque lake at the foot of Swiss Alps isn’t the worst way to come up. In fact, it's among the best. That’s the word from Andreas Fleischli. And he would know. It's how his life started, leading to studying electrical engineering before being part of the team that created HeartMate 3, our latest heart pump. Get to know Andreas.
Zuleyma is raising her children following the untimely passing of her husband to cancer. And she's doing it while fighting her own health issues from life-limiting heart failure. At 38, she's a single mother who doesn't want to leave her kids without a parent. But her heart is weak. And while new hearts are scarce, it’s more complicated for Zuleyma: "I wasn't able to receive a heart transplant because I have high antibodies. The doctors didn't want my body to reject it." That's where her HeartMate 3 Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) — commonly called a heart pump — comes in. "She's a fighter," said Claudia, her friend from high school. "She is fighting for her kids and showing everybody around her that you cannot just give up." Get to know Zuleyma.
Nicholas Sachs knows the object of the games is to throw — and roll — strikes. He knows how hitting .300 in baseball is great but rolling a 300 in bowling is greater still. He also knows that striking out or dropping it in the gutter is only a failure if you let it be. Transform that disappointment into a lesson learned? Then someday you can lead the pack developing technology to help people live their best lives. It’s what he’s done since coming to Abbott, first in cardiac rhythm management and now in neuromodulation. Get to know Nicholas.
Lexie Foley is a multi-talented singer, actress and dancer who doubles as maybe the toughest person you’ll ever meet. She battled chronic pain as a young teen, with the added burden of care providers who were skeptical of the cause. She fought for her truth, helping doctors find the true source of her debilitating pain. With the help of Abbott neuromodulation technology, Lexie is now pursuing her dream of operating a theater program for special needs children. Get to know Lexie.
Mike Meyer learned early on that combining technology and compassion could result in innovative devices that improve lives. Growing up with a brother who suffered from cystic fibrosis, Meyers saw the impact a well-designed therapeutic device — one engineered by the boy’s own physician — could have on his quality of life. Determined to make a meaningful difference, Meyer uses his natural curiosity and problem-solving passion to be part of a team that includes doctors, Abbott colleagues and the people receiving the life-changing structural heart technology that he helps develop. Get to know Mike.
When Irie Felkner and her twin brother Judah were born prematurely at 27 weeks, their parents knew the first few months wouldn’t be easy. While in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), an echocardiogram showed Irie was suffering from a life-threatening congenital defect called a patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA, which is an opening between two blood vessels leading from the heart that is also present in normally developing fetuses. For most babies, that opening seals itself shortly after birth. With our Amplatzer Piccolo occluder, Irie’s PDA was closed successfully. And now? She’s 5, having fun, doing all the things kids do. Get to know Irie.
Whatever draw there ever was to the idea of sitting in doctor's offices, the COVID-19 pandemic took the remaining shine off. And with the connections modern technology affords us — the entirety of human knowledge available at our fingertips and on our phones — the power of remote care, monitoring and reporting is undeniable. That's why we're doing more of it, now and in the years to come. Because we're not going back to sitting in the doctor's office if we don't have to. And with this tech, you won't have to.
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