To mark International Women’s Day, Karen Addington, Chief Executive of JDRF in the UK is highlighting two women whose efforts in founding what would eventually become JDRF make them perfect examples of a#Type1derWoman.
In 1970 Lee Ducat, her husband Edwin and several other parents of children who lived with type 1 diabetes in Philadelphia in the United States came together to raise funds to support research into type 1 diabetes. Philadelphia became the first ‘chapter’ of what was then known as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
At the same time Carol Lurie, her husband and some other parents of children with type 1 in New York had founded a local organisation called Research Action for Diabetes, also aimed at funding research to cure type 1 diabetes.
These two groups of parents with a close connection to type 1 diabetes agreed to join forces under the JDF umbrella and led by Carol and Lee, created and nurtured an organization that would become what JDRF is today.
Lee and Carol’s children both lived with type 1 at a time when insulin needed to be injected two times a day through thick needles. Carol’s passion and commitment later in life was both challenged and recharged when her granddaughter Rebecca was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of two. Carol sadly died in 2013 but her connection to the organisation continues through the groundwork she and Lee helped create. Carol’s son, Jim, is also a current board member of JDRF in the UK.
Speaking of these early days, Lee Ducat noted:
“In those days, very few people knew that children came down with diabetes. I certainly didn’t know it. One day you have a perfectly normal, healthy kid, the next day you find out he has a chronic disease that changes his life forever. For the longest time I walked around in a blur. I could hardly see through the tears.
“We didn’t know if we could raise a penny when we started; we just went on instinct. Our only goal was to grow the organization.
“I wanted to start a new organization that would help cure the disease.”
Jim Lurie added:
“It really took the combined powers and vision of the Luries and the Ducats and the passion of my mother and Lee as parents of children with type 1 that made it all possible.
“Without them working tirelessly throughout the last 45 years, JDRFI as it now exists would not be what it is today.”
From 1970 onwards Lee and Carol, along with a number of other men and women, often with a personal connection to the condition, helped revolutionise type 1 diabetes research and increase public and political knowledge and awareness.
To mark Mothering Sunday and JDRF’s #Type1derWoman campaign Karen Addington said:
“JDRF is an organisation where a deeply personal connection to type 1 diabetes is present at every level. The fact that this charity was founded by mothers and fathers with a direct connection to type 1 diabetes means that to this day it is infused with passion and determination.
“Lee and Carol are both most certainly prime examples of a #Type1derWoman, as were their early colleagues and supporters, and the following generations of people working towards a world without type 1 diabetes.”
Today, JDRF is a global organisation working towards a shared vision of a world without type 1 diabetes. Since the organisation was founded by this group of parents it has invested more than £1 billion into type 1 diabetes research. Forty years on JDRF is funding world class research to drive the breakthroughs that improve management of, and will ultimately cure, type 1 diabetes and its complications.
The commitment of these parents in 1970 is mirrored in the current staff and volunteers of JDRF across the world many of whom who have a direct and personal connection to type 1 diabetes. And everyone involved is dedicated to improving the lives of families living with the condition, and ultimately finding the cure.