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Joslin Patient, David Gomes, Inspired by his Diabetes

David Gomes Joslin

Twenty-four-year-old David Gomes was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on his 1st birthday.  A week or two earlier, his parents, Carla and Ronald Gomes, MD, knew something was not right and took him to his pediatrician, but no diagnosis was made. David kept losing weight and when his breathing was labored on his birthday they rushed him to the hospital; he was slipping into a diabetic coma. Ultimately David’s parents entrusted the care of their young son to Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, knowing it as the world’s preeminent diabetes care center.

David went through the normal stages of growing up, playing sports and going to summer camp with the added stress of having to worry about his blood sugar levels and giving himself insulin injections at a very young age. His doctor at Joslin, Dr. Lori Laffel, encouraged David to attend a Joslin Diabetes Center summer camp when he was ten years old to help him manage his diabetes– and it was a game changer.

“I still remember going to the Joslin camp and meeting kids like me who had diabetes. I felt comfortable there and I knew, even at that age, that Joslin was going to be an important part of my life forever,” said David. “I looked up to my camp counselors, these twenty-year-olds living with diabetes and playing sports and going to college. They gave me a realistic, and surprisingly normal, expectation for my future with diabetes.”

The Gomeses are living with diabetes as a family, going above and beyond merely managing David’s diabetes, to using it as a platform to raise money and awareness. Carla Gomes established CityFeast in 2005; it is a dining event held at several restaurants in the North End, including two of her own (Antico Forno and Terramia Ristorante), that benefits Joslin’s High Hopes FundThis year’s CityFeast will be held on Sunday, January 25th at 6:00pm at 10 renowned North End restaurants to honor its 10th Anniversary!

“CityFeast represents how diabetes can be spun into something positive,” David Gomes said. “Yes, there are challenges that come with the disease, I have dealt with many, but it’s important to note the positives that come along with every obstacle.  My Mom created CityFeast because of the support Joslin has given me, and now it’s one of my favorite nights of the year. CityFeast brings together my family, friends, and the city of Boston for a great time, with great food, and it sheds light on this disease and the work being done at Joslin. It also highlights the important connection between food and diabetes.”

The team at Joslin and Dr. Laffel are a constant source of support for David, even outside of his appointments; that support has led him to pursue a medical career.  In 2013, David graduated from MCPHS University (Boston) with a Bachelor’s degree in Pre-medicine. He is now enrolled in PA (Physician Assistant) school at MCPHS University in Worcester, where he will be going on rotation and gaining the valuable experience he needs to fulfill his dream of being an endocrinologist and studying medicine related to diabetes treatment.

David added, “I want to be a living example of how someone with diabetes can live a normal life. I eat what others do – I am Italian, I grew up in fantastic restaurants and love food! I just need to exercise, be smart about choices, and remember to check my insulin.”

Working out regularly and playing both flag football and ice hockey on the weekends keeps David fit and healthy. He credits his diabetes with making him “more responsible, more aware” and better able to lead a healthy life but that doesn’t stop his mother, Carla, from worrying about him, hosting fundraisers like CityFeast for Joslin, and “always working to find a cure.”

“This year marks a decade for CityFeast,” says Carla Gomes, David’s mother and the owner of Terramia Ristorante and Antico Forno in the North End. “We have raised tens of thousands of dollars each of the past years and every cent gets us closer to the day my son David and millions like him will know a world free from diabetes and its complications. I hope to make this year’s event the most successful to date.”

Mom Organizes Dine Out Night to Raise Funds in Honor of Type 1 Son

Twenty three years ago, Carla Gomes first stepped into Joslin Diabetes Center. Her son David was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on his first birthday, and since then diabetes and Joslin’s care for her son have been at the forefront of her mind.

Carla Gomes (right) poses with her son David (left) and Joslin President and CEO John Brooks (center) and the 2014 High Hopes Fund Gala

She has done everything in her power to help Joslin in the fight against diabetes—as proprietor of Antico Forno and Terramia in the North End of Boston, Carla utilizes her skills to raise money for the center that continues to take great care of her son by leading the event CityFeast: Dining Out to Conquer Diabetes, which she started in 2005.

This year’s event will mark the 10th anniversary of CityFeast and will take place on Jan. 25 at 6 pm. Over the past 10 years, this event has raised more than $250,000 for Joslin Diabetes Center’s High Hopes Fund, which funds innovative research, comprehensive patient care, pioneering education programs, and community outreach.

Living with diabetes is challenging, but luckily David had his mom to look after him. “Since I was little, my mom and I would always do the calculations together,” said David. “She was always there to support me, and remind me that everything would be okay – and more importantly, that I was a ‘normal’ kid, despite my diabetes.”

Carla Gomes CityFeast Terramia
Carla Gomes talking with CityFeast attendees at the 2014 event.

CityFeast has become a meaningful part of the Gomes family’s lives. “CityFeast means so much to me and it’s an event I look forward to every year,” said David. “Not only is the event a reminder of how much my mom cares about me, my health and the health of millions of other people like me living with diabetes, but it is also so rewarding to know that we are giving back to Joslin, which has essentially been mine and my family’s lifeline for the past 23 years.”

CityFeast attracts hundreds of guests each year to some of the most renowned North End restaurants for a five-course meal with wine pairings and a raffle.

“Every dollar raised through CityFeast gets us closer to the day my son David and millions like him will be free from diabetes and its complications,” said Carla. “I hope to make this January’s 10th annual CityFeast the most successful one to date.”

Carla Agrippino-Gomes to be Honored at Joslin Diabetes Center Gala

carla_gomesFormer North End resident and restaurateur, Carla Agrippino-Gomes, has been a familiar face around Joslin Diabetes Center for the past 23 years with her son, David, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on his first birthday. Because Joslin has played such a vital role in their lives, Gomes feels a strong responsibility to give back to the place that has been a lifeline for her family.  Over the past decade, she has demonstrated her appreciation through CityFeast—an annual fundraiser she established in 2005 that benefits Joslin’s High Hopes Fund.

In honor of the ongoing support Joslin receives through fundraisers like CityFeast, Joslin Diabetes Center will recognize Gomes along with others who have supported their life saving care and research as “Community Events Champions” at the upcoming High Hopes Gala, which will be held on Saturday, November 22nd at The Westin Boston Waterfront.

“I am so grateful to the Joslin Diabetes Center for their support and am honored to be recognized as one of their Community Events Champions,” said Gomes. “Every dollar raised through events like CityFeast gets us closer to the day my son David and millions like him will be free from diabetes and its complications; I hope to make this January’s 10th annual CityFeast the most successful one to date.”
Gomes’ CityFeast attract hundreds of guests each year to some of the most renowned North End restaurants— including her two restaurants, Antico Forno and Terramia Ristorante – for a five-course meal, wine tasting and exciting auction items that benefit diabetes research.

The “Community Events Champions” include companies and individuals, like Gomes, who have a passion and dedication for raising diabetes awareness and funding Joslin’s fight against the disease year after year. The money that these local champions raise goes toward improving the lives of more than 29 million Americans living with diabetes.

The High Hopes Gala is a fabulous black-tie event that benefits Joslin’s High Hopes Fund. The evening, which will be emceed by Dylan Dreyer, Weather Anchor, NBC’s Weekend TODAY, will include a lively cocktail reception, exciting silent and live auction, live entertainment and a chance to win a trip to the 2015 Masters Golf Tournament!

For more information on the High Hopes Gala or to purchase tickets, please contact Meghan Mongeau at 617-309-2512 or at [email protected]

About Joslin Diabetes Center
Joslin Diabetes Center, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is committed to advancing diabetes research, clinical care, education and health and wellness programs on a global scale. Joslin is dedicated to ensuring that people with diabetes live long, healthy lives and offers real progress in preventing and curing diabetes. Joslin is an independent, nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and is recognized worldwide for driving innovative solutions in diabetes prevention, research, education, and care. Its mission is to prevent, treat and cure diabetes and the organization’s vision is a world free of diabetes and its complications. For more information, visit www.joslin.org.

Terramia organizes diabetes fundraiser every year!

Carla Gomes, with her son David
Carla Gomes, with her son David

Canton resident Carla Gomes, with her son David. Carla Gomes, owner of Antico Forno and Terramia restaurants in the North End, is orchestrating a fundraiser for the Joslin Diabetes Center. Her son has had diabetes since his first birthday. Carla Gomes spends her life serving the public as owner of two restaurants in Boston’s North End – Antico Forno and Terramia. But every year, she uses her talents for a cause close to her.

Gomes, a Canton resident, is orchestrating the sixth annual CityFeast: Dining Out to Conquer Diabetes to raise money and awareness for the Joslin Diabetes Center’s High Hopes Fund, Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011from 6 to 9 p.m. For $150 a person that evening, diners can enjoy a five-course meal paired with wines at Gomes’ two restaurants or four other North End restaurants – Lucca, Taranta, Tresca and Caffe Grafitti.

Gomes is familiar with the disease. Her some, David, 21, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes on his first birthday. “David doesn’t know life without diabetes and I’m hoping some day he will,” she said.
The disease, Gomes said, is a constant worry for her son. She said he has to make sure he balances his blood sugar, gets the right amount of exercise and eat the right foods. If he does not abide by these regulations, Gomes said he experiences seizures, which can be fatal.
“It effects so many parts of your body, it’s so devastating,” she said.
David graduated from Canton High School two years ago and attends Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. Gomes said her son has to the responsibilities of taking care of his health along with academics.
Gomes said they try to make the fundraiser grow every year by trying to add more participating restaurants.
“The more people, the closer we get to a cure,” she said.

CityFeast 2014