An Evening Under the Stars DREaMS Come True



An Evening Under the Stars DREaMS Come True
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
Fall 2006 / Volume 35, Issue 1
Miami • New York • Long Island • California • Washington, D.C.
An Evening Under the Stars Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
Receives $23 Million Gift from Donor Estate
(Article on page 14)
Gift is the largest in its 35-year history
Patti LaBelle wrapped up the Hamptons
summer season with a private concert.
D.R.E.a.M.S. Come True
(Article on page 11)
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg commended
the DRI's research progress.
Morrison's Parents Speak Up
(Article on page 7)
Despite diabetes, Adam Morrison was
the third overall NBA draft pick.
desire to fund research
After watching her two
to find cures for diabetes
brothers suffer the devastating
and cancer.”
complications of diabetes,
The gift is now the largest
Eugenia J. Dodson of Coral
for the Diabetes Research
Gables, FL, was determined
Institute Foundation in its
to help cure what she called
35-year history. The extra“a most pernicious disease.”
ordinary donation comes
She had inherited a modest
on the heels of a stream
legacy from her late husband,
of multi-million dollar
but the quiet and unassuming
gifts the Foundation has
woman preferred to live a
received in just the last year
frugal life, invest her money,
alone, further underscoring
and grow a fortune that she
the DRI’s distinction as
would one day give away.
a recognized world leader
When she died in
Eugenia “Gene” Dodson
in cure-focused diabetes
December of 2005, just
research. The tremendous contribution
24 days short of her 101st birthday, Mrs.
will play a pivotal role in enabling the
Dodson had amassed an estate in excess of
DRI to bring the most promising new
$35 million. Despite her affluence, the former
discoveries to patients more quickly
beautician lived her life without any of the
than ever before.
trappings of wealth because she had a much
Robert A. Pearlman, president and CEO
higher purpose for her money. She designated
of the DRI Foundation, said, “We are
the funds be used for cure-focused research
deeply grateful to Eugenia Dodson for
in diabetes and also in cancer, since she
creating such a meaningful legacy. This
herself was a lung cancer survivor. Two-thirds
landmark gift will transform the lives of
of the gift will come to the DRI Foundation,
millions with diabetes. The funds will
and one-third will go to the University of Miami
support new scientific initiatives and
Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
create the J. Enloe and Eugenia J. Dodson
“Gene lived a truly selfless life so she
Diabetes Center for Translational Research,
could fulfill her philanthropic goals. After
where DRI scientists can harness the power
her beloved Enloe’s death, she husbanded
of many emerging technologies to cure this
her wealth and made astute investments in
devastating disease. The significance of this
blue chip stocks. Her fortune grew over a
gift cannot be overstated in terms of what it
period of more than 50 years,” said Donald
will mean for people living with diabetes
E. Kubit of Fowler White Burnett P.A., Mrs.
who look to the DRI with hope.”
Dodson’s attorney and co-trustee of her
Foundation National Chairman Marc S.
revocable trust. “Eugenia Dodson’s final
Goodman said that a donation of this
estate plan was consistent with her profound
(continues on page 3)
A Message from the Chairman
Dear Friends,
As you read in our cover
story, the Diabetes Research
Institute Foundation has
received the largest gift in
its 35-year history from the late Eugenia J. Dodson,
a woman who, literally, wanted nothing more than to
see a cure for diabetes, a disease that took the lives
of both of her brothers. Having survived lung cancer
herself, she designated that her entire estate, valued
at more than $35 million at the time of her death, be
used for cure-focused research in these two diseases.
Her story is truly remarkable and her selfless
generosity is certainly unparalleled. We don’t often
hear stories about people who give up life’s luxuries
in order to help mankind. Eugenia “Gene” Dodson’s
legacy will live on through the millions of people
who will ultimately benefit from her kindness. And
her and her family’s names will live on through the
permanent funding vehicles that will help speed
progress toward a cure.
This tremendous gift affords the DRI with great
opportunities to build upon its current research
programs and apply cutting-edge technologies that
are first becoming available to the scientific community.
The DRI is pursuing new directions for restoring
insulin production and assembling new research
teams to investigate promising pathways in tissue
engineering, cell regeneration, protein therapy,
nanotechnology, and many other emerging technologies.
We are witnessing a very exciting time for our
organization. This recent gift, while by far the largest,
is the latest in a stream of multi-million dollar gifts
the DRI Foundation has received over the last several
months alone. As more and more people learn
about the DRI’s cure-focused research programs
and see the results from their charitable investment,
the DRI Foundation has become the organization of
choice for their contributions.
Many of these generous individuals were honored
at our Cycle of Discovery Donor Appreciation events,
held in Florida and New York City last spring. But
generosity does not only come in the form of
money, as many dedicated people are responsible
for creating and producing the successful fundraising
events throughout our regions. Please take the time
to read about the tireless efforts of these committed
volunteers. We extend our gratitude to all of them
for giving their time and resources to help fulfill our
goal of a cure.
I also want to thank each of you for your continued
support. While we have received some extraordinary
gifts, this only raises the bar for what we must
continue to do. We are committed to giving Dr. Ricordi
and the whole DRI team the resources they need to
expand even further and pursue every single direction
possible to cure all of our loved ones.
Marc S. Goodman
Jill Viner
Joins DRIF National Board
The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
is pleased to announce the appointment of Jill
Viner to its national board of directors. Jill's
personal connection to the Diabetes Research
Institute dates back several decades. She is a
graduate of the University of Miami, and during
her years in college, she attended the Love and
Hope Ball with her parents. The family's interest
in supporting type 1 diabetes research was
sparked when Jill's brother, Craig Silver, was
diagnosed with the disease as a child.
Jill has continued to champion the cause and says that finding a cure for
diabetes has become her top priority. She and her husband, Cliff Viner, have
become major supporters of the DRI Foundation, and recently made a six-figure gift.
“So much progress is being made at the DRI, and I think we’re so close to a cure.
Now that my children are older, I have the time, the energy, the drive and the desire to
do whatever I can to make this dream a reality. This is where I belong now,” said Jill.
Not only is Jill a contributor, she has helped steer other donations to the DRI. In
January of 2005, she was honored by Chanel and Saks Fifth Avenue/Boca Raton at
an elegant luncheon and fashion show held at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. Jill
was instrumental in having the Diabetes Research Institute named as the beneficiary
of this successful event. She also underwrote all of the expenses in order to channel
the maximum proceeds to the organization.
This past August, she and Cliff hosted more than 300 people in their
Hamptons home to raise awareness and funds for the DRI. The philanthropic
couple engaged top Miami event planner Barton G. to produce a spectacular
evening of food and drink, complete with a concert by Patti LaBelle. Again,
Jill Viner and her good friend, Barton G., underwrote the entire cost so that
all of the money raised would benefit the DRI.
In addition to supporting the DRI, Jill has enriched her community in
many other ways through her concern for humanity, particularly children.
One of the programs she established, The Viner Compassionate Care
Program, created in 1995, provides financial assistance to families dealing
with a temporary crisis, such as a medical emergency, helping with mortgage
payments or providing for children during the holidays.
Through Camp Breakaway, another component of the Viner
Compassionate Care Program, more than 50 children are able to attend
camp every summer. The program provides children with a safe, nurturing
environment while exposing them to new experiences and enhancing
their self-esteem.
Jill has also used her many talents to chair numerous fundraising events
throughout Palm Beach County. She is an executive board member of the
Ruth Rales Jewish Family Service, and is also vice president of special
events and fundraising.
Jill, her husband, Cliff, and their two daughters live in Boca Raton, FL.
Gift is the largest in its 35-year history
(continued from page 1)
• The J. Enloe and Eugenia J. Dodson Chair
in Diabetes Research at the Diabetes
Research Institute at the University of
Miami Miller School of Medicine
• The J. Enloe and Eugenia J. Dodson
Diabetes Center for Translational Research
• The Raymond and Russell Johnson
Fellowship in Type 1 Diabetes Research
Gene’s brothers, Russell and Raymond Johnson,
both died from complications of diabetes.
magnitude affords a unique opportunity to
move the DRI’s research forward. “This is an
extraordinary gift from a remarkable woman.
We are very fortunate to be the beneficiary of
such self-sacrificing generosity, and look
forward to stewarding Mrs. Dodson’s gift to
fulfill her dream of a cure for diabetes,” he said.
The tremendous funding also comes at a
time when the Diabetes Research Institute is
expanding its research programs and applying
the newest technologies in biomedical research
to restore insulin production. New scientific
teams at the DRI are delving into such areas
as cell regeneration, tissue engineering, cell
transdifferentiation, and nanotechnology,
among other cutting-edge areas that are
just beginning to show promise in early
research studies.
“This couldn’t come at a better time.
Mrs. Dodson's generous gift will allow us to
create new programs and expand existing ones
in several critically important areas of diabetes
research where progress needs to be made.
Not only will we be able to jump start research
immediately in these areas, but we will also be
able to bring in additional top tier scientists
and their teams to Miami to work with us in
these important initiatives," explains Camillo
Ricordi, M.D., scientific director and chief
academic officer of the Diabetes Research
Institute. “I’m very optimistic that we can
create final strategies that work.”
How the Gift Will Be Used
To perpetuate Eugenia Dodson’s legacy
and pay tribute to her remarkable generosity,
the DRI will establish several permanent
funding vehicles that bear her and her
family’s name. The incredible gift allows the
DRI to expand current research activities,
explore promising scientific areas, and develop
new treatments:
• Purchase highly-specialized and technologically advanced research equipment
• Fund new scientific initiatives in cuttingedge areas of diabetes research:
Drug Discovery Program for Tolerance
Induction. Currently, DRI scientists are
only able to choose among those drugs that
pharmaceutical companies make available.
The DRI is working to overcome these
barriers by assembling a special Drug
Discovery Research Team to develop the
necessary immune intervention agents that
will be owned by the DRI and used without
constraints. Production and use of its own
agents will also speed the discovery
process of bringing new drugs to patients
with diabetes.
Tissue Engineering Program. The DRI’s
Tissue Engineering team will be expanding
its programs beginning with the recruitment
of Dr. Cherie Stabler from Emory University
(see related article on page 8). DRI scientists
will be developing new biocompatible
materials and other technologies to “actively
protect” islets and promote long-term
survival and function after transplantation.
Drug Delivery of Bioactive Molecules
within the Transplant Microenvironment.
DRI scientists, in collaboration with the
University of Miami Bioengineering
department, are working to develop ways to
supply islet cell grafts with better nutrients
and oxygen, as well as protect the cells
in the transplant microenvironment. This
integrated approach may help create more
favorable conditions for long term islet
survival and function after transplantation.
Beta Cell Biology Program Expansion.
DRI scientists are improving upon methods
to reliably and accurately assess the quality
of insulin-producing islets prior to trans-
plantation into patients. The DRI is using
an advanced laser scanning technology to
determine the health and number of cells
within each islet. New avenues of investigation also measure the level of calcium
that enters islet cells in response to glucose,
allowing them to release insulin. The level
of calcium corresponds to the amount of
insulin released, which is a measure of
islet viability.
Islet Cell Regeneration. New evidence
suggests that islet cells have the potential
to regenerate in the human pancreas. DRI
researchers are testing several methods to
stimulate islet regeneration using hormones,
growth factors and new drugs. They are also
working to identify the factors that regulate
the formation of insulin producing cells that
have been observed in the pancreatic ducts.
For more information on these and other
new DRI research programs, please see the
Emerging Technologies section of our website
To learn more about the ways you can
create a legacy by supporting the DRI
Foundation, and take advantage of tax
savings through estate planning techniques,
visit the new and more comprehensive
planned giving section of our website.
Visit or contact
Jill Shapiro Miller at 1-800-321-3437.
1) Gene was a remarkably selfless woman whose
ultimate goal was to fund research for diabetes and
cancer. 2) J. Enloe Dodson, “the love of her life,” left
Gene a modest legacy 50 years ago.
Foundation Donors Recognized
Awards from the DRI Foundation's Cycle of Discovery series were recently presented to donors who made major gifts during 2005-2006. The award program
corresponds with the Foundation's cumulative giving designations below.
Grand Founders
Distinguished Humanitarians
Governors’ Society
Leadership Council
Chairman’s Council
1) Michele Bowman and Colonel Joseph Underwood, Perpetuation; 2) Ricardo Puente and his fiancée, Misty Flanders, Perpetuation; 3) Michael Davis,
Nurit Gans, and David Kay of the Foundation for Diabetes Research, Translation; 4) Milton J. Walters of Million Dollar Hole-in-One Marketing, Translation;
5) Ivette and Juan Elias Calles, Realization; 6) Bill and Joan Fishlinger, Realization; 7) Piero Gandini, accepting for himself and his wife, Paola, Realization;
8) Martin Granowitz, Realization; 9) Larry and Bonnie Inserrra receive Realization from Northeast Director Sandy Cahn; 10) Risa and Jeff Pulver, Realization;
11) Jill Viner, Realization; 12) Barry and Carole Kaye, Exploration; 13) Mac and Pat Levitt, Exploration; 14) Jacci and Dr. Floyd Seskin, Exploration;
15) Nancy Smith of the Marion A. Roletti Foundation, Exploration; 16) Leonard and Anna Thun, Exploration; 17) Irving and Phyllis Bernstein and Myron
and Barbara Bloom, accepting on behalf of the Family of Dr. Adam H. Bloom, Hypothesis; 18) Martin and Gladys Gelb, Hypothesis; 19) Elaine and
Herbert Gimelstob, Hypothesis; 20) Shari Gantman of The Health Foundation of South Florida, Hypothesis; 21) Arthur Hertz, Hypothesis; 22) Richard C.
Hsia of the Future Leadership Foundation, Hypothesis; 23) Martin and Joan Maddaloni, Hypothesis; 24) “Spa Maven” Sondra Rose, Hypothesis;
25) Sonia Gibson and Deborah Slack of Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour, Hypothesis; 26) Olga and Carlos Saladrigas, Hypothesis; 27) Doug Tannehill of
C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Hypothesis; 28) Sari and Michael Addicott, Query; 29) Deidre Costa Major, accepting on behalf of Rita and Frank Castagna
of the Americana Manhasset, Query; 30) Joe Cerniglia (right) of Florida Mushroom accepts Query from Florida regional board member Bruce Fishbein;
31) Jane and Lawrence H. David, Query; 32) Peter L. DiCapua of Atco Properties and Management, Inc., Query; 33) Camilo Lopez of Florida Association
of Furniture Manufacturers, Query; 34) James Kenyon of Steelcase, Query; 35) Bill and Laurie Landau, with their daughter and son-in-law, Nancy and
Josh Gillon, Query; 36) Laura Marinello and Marcy Jurkowitz of City National Bank, Query; 37) Allan Pashcow, accepting for himself and his wife, Louise,
Query; 38) Norman and Myrna Ricken, Query;
Foundation Donors Recognized
39) Patty and Leonard Schupak, Query; 40) Barbara and Norman Shapiro, Query; 41) June Zanvardine and McKenzie Richards of Abbott Diabetes Care, Query;
42) Shirley Hotto, Heritage Society.
Paula Wilson:
Passion Personified
Paula Wilson's resume reads like an event
planner's date book. Driven and dedicated, she has
spent the last two decades volunteering and
fundraising for a number of organizations while
juggling home and family.
Years back, she took on the requisite roles of
Girl Scout troop leader and PTA president, and was a
regular fixture at her two daughters' school events,
often acting as book fair chair, hospitality chair or
serving on numerous committees and councils. She
has also led Sunday school classes and organized
various fundraising and youth events at her church.
Paula devoted whatever free time remained to
her love of the arts, where she tested her creativity
in different acting roles.
Her tireless dedication to these many worthy
activities, however, pales in comparison to the
passion she and her husband, Tom, have brought
to their most important cause of all — finding a
cure for type 1 diabetes, the disease that struck
their eldest daughter 17 years ago when she was
just 3 years old.
Together, Paula and Tom immersed themselves
in Diabetic Youth Services, Inc. (DYS), a nonprofit
organization they founded with three other couples
in 1996. The organization was formed for one
purpose — to support and maintain Camp ConradChinnock, a Los Angeles summer camp for kids
with diabetes that had lost its funding.
In addition to fundraising and volunteering for
the camp, Paula was employed as its director of
development. Through writing grants and rallying
support from numerous individuals and organizations,
Paula helped propel the camp from foreclosure to a
financially stable, smooth-running organization.
Their support of diabetes-related causes fanned
out into other areas. They participated in annual
bike-a-thons, and Paula even chaired a comedy
benefit for DYS.
And today, she finds herself in another
leadership role as chairman of the DRI Foundation's
California regional board of directors. After joining
the board in 2003 and chairing several of the
Foundation's fundraising events, Paula was selected
to head this dedicated group to help make an impact
in the vast California market.
“Our passion has always been for the camp,”
said Paula. “But when we heard the DRI's Dr. Luca
Inverardi speak there, we learned that there was
great hope for a cure. Now our daughter, Nicole, is a
counselor at the camp, teaching kids to live with their
diabetes, so we can focus our energy on the cure.”
“There are two things about the DRI that
really excite me,” she explained, “the fact that the
work is cure-focused, and that DRI scientists share
their results.”
Recently, Tom and Paula visited the DRI. During
their tour of the Institute, Paula was vividly reminded
of the words she would often repeat to her daughter.
“Since she was in kindergarten, I would tell Nicole
that every day people are going to work, and their
job is solely to find a cure for diabetes. Every day
Paula Wilson serves as Chairman of
the California board of directors.
they're getting a little bit closer.” On that day, Paula
witnessed her anecdote brought to life.
Having gotten her feet wet as chair of the
Foundation's Finding Nemo and The Incredibles
benefit screenings and last year's Laugh for a Cure,
Paula is now taking on the fourth annual Stand Up
for a Cure comedy event, scheduled for November
12 at The Improv in Los Angeles.
But in her larger responsibility as chairman of
the board, her focus is to broaden sources of
funding, differentiate the DRI Foundation from
other local diabetes organizations, and build upon
previous successes.
“We want to move in the direction of adding
more fundraising elements. I want Southern
Californians to know that their dollar will go a little
further at the DRI,” she said. “Finding the cure
must be a collaborative effort, and I think that's
what makes the DRI very, very special.”
Wanda and John Morrison speak up
about their star athlete son
Wanda and John Morrison have mastered the
art of teamwork. It's apparent in conversation as each
finishes the other's last sentence. Maybe it stems
from a solid foundation and 32 years of married life.
Perhaps it ripened over time as they raised three
children together, or sprung from necessity when
their youngest was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Wherever it originated, this warm and loving couple
has passed the asset along to their kids, and
especially to their youngest child, Adam Morrison,
22. Selected by the Charlotte Bobcats as the third
overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft, Adam has taken
this team mentality to a whole new level, while
overcoming the challenges of this disease.
“There are several professional athletes that
play a variety of sports, and they have diabetes,”
said John of his son. “I think being into athletics
has actually helped Adam stay in control of this
disease — the discipline, the practice, his work
ethic, and tenacity. He refuses to lose.”
“He's a warrior, on the court and off,” Adam's
mother, Wanda, added. “He'll do whatever it takes
to win. That aspect of his personality comes out
with his diabetes, too. He won't let anything interfere
with his dreams.”
However, that wasn't always the case.
Diagnosed at 14, Adam avoided the dreaded
label of being “different” by heading to the bathroom
when he needed a shot of insulin at school. On the
court, this new life-necessity turned into a nuisance.
At the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony, Wanda
and John Morrison stand proudly with their son,
who was one of the top ten Wooden All-Americans
and one of five finalists for this prestigious award.
Wanda explained, “He just didn't want to leave
the game. It took a while for him to get used to it.”
His devoted mom would sit directly behind the
bench, assisting in glucose checks during time-outs
and carrying an arsenal of insulin and snacks.
Wanda remembered one heart-wrenching experience
when as a high school junior Adam suffered a
severe insulin reaction during a game.
“He said to me, 'Mom, there's only one thing
that can stop me, and that's diabetes.' My heart
ached,” said Wanda, but that moment was the
impetus that led the family to a nutritionist, who
provided them with a better understanding of how
to control the disease and got Adam on the right
track to an enormously successful career. “Tough
as it was, that was the trigger for getting Adam
what he needed to excel.”
A prolific scorer, Adam averaged more than
25 points per game at Gonzaga University, located
in his hometown of Spokane, WA. The 6-foot-8,
205-pound forward led the NCAA's Division-1 in
scoring last season and was hailed West Coast
Conference player of the year before announcing
that he would forgo his senior year for the NBA. An
aggressive competitor with a killer instinct and a
wicked jump shot, Adam is adored by fans for his
charismatic personality, trash-talking tongue, and
that trademark, patchy mustache that earned him
the nickname, “The Stache.”
In college, he perfected his pre-game ritual to
a science in order to keep his glucose levels under
control. On game day, he eats the same meal two
hours and 15 minutes before tip-off, using a pump
through warm-up, disconnecting and taking insulin
manually if necessary during the game. Then, he
hooks back up to the pump after the buzzer.
Despite the myriad accolades Adam received
throughout college — plus the fact that he's a
clutch performer who can get a shot off from
anywhere, some teams might have considered his
diabetes to be an insurmountable obstacle. However,
after selecting Adam, it's clear that Michael Jordan,
the new basketball operations chief and part owner
of the Charlotte Bobcats, believes he has what it
takes to outrival opposing defenses during the 82game pro schedule.
Moments after the Charlotte Bobcats drafted him,
Morrison proudly displays his new team jersery.
Adam's style of play has drawn comparisons
to Larry Bird, and not so coincidentally, the Hall of
Famer is Adam's favorite baller to have ever played
the game. But it's comparisons to former NBA center
Chris Dudley, who played with type 1 diabetes for
16 seasons, that has reminded many that diabetes
does not equate to disability.
Never allowing diabetes to determine his
future, and simply by following his dreams, Adam
has set a strong example for his younger fans.
“Adam never set out to be a role model, but I
think he's become a good one,” Wanda proudly
stated of her son, who happens to sign countless
autographs but always takes extra time for kids
with diabetes. “When he was first diagnosed, Adam
didn't really have a mentor with diabetes to look up
to. That's why it's so important to him now — to
be that person for others.”
If Wanda and John can offer any advice to
other families like theirs, it is to always encourage
your children to chase their hopes and dreams,
regardless of diabetes.
“We worry just like any other parents,” said
Wanda of the intense NBA schedule and the
possibility of injury that all athletes face. “That's
our little boy out there. Having this disease might
make a child's dreams harder to reach, but you can
never give up hope,” Wanda said, holding back tears.
The payoff?
“Adam's dream has come true, and we are
unbelievably proud of him,” said Wanda.
The future?
“A cure for diabetes is on the horizon, and we
believe it will happen in his lifetime,” she concluded.
Want to know more?
• Learn about Adam's initial diagnosis and how the Morrisons dealt with it together.
• Read about the family's history of type 1 diabetes and Adam's introduction to basketball at the age of 13 months!
• View additional photos and more.
For the extended article, please visit our website,
Dr. Camillo Ricordi Receives
Around the DRI
Transplant Award
Cherie Stabler, Ph.D.,
to Head DRI Tissue Engineering Lab
The Diabetes Research Institute is pleased to welcome Cherie Stabler, Ph.D., as
Director of the Tissue Engineering Lab. Dr. Stabler comes to Miami from Emory
University School of Medicine in Atlanta, where her research focused on the design and
development of islet encapsulation techniques and the study of how biomaterial barriers
can protect the fragile implanted cells from the strong immunological and inflammatory responses of the recipient.
Tissue engineering holds great promise for enhancing islet survival. At the DRI, Dr. Stabler's research will build
on existing methods to construct new biocompatible barriers, such as complex “scaffolding,” that may offer more
immuno-protection to the transplanted islets.
She will also investigate ways to attach specific proteins within or on the surface of the protective barriers, such as
anti-inflammatory agents. By combining biomaterials with active proteins, it may be feasible to generate materials capable of
“actively” enhancing the islet environment, thereby resulting in increased survival and function of the insulin producing cells.
Another area of Dr. Stabler's research involves the use of noninvasive imaging techniques, specifically MRI and MRS
(Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spectroscopy), to assess tissue engineered implants. By applying MRI/MRS techniques to
islets, researchers hope to monitor the structure and viability of transplanted islets without disturbing their environment.
The ability to observe islets post-transplant is critical for understanding their function over time. Dr. Stabler's work
complements the DRI's current efforts to assess the health and quality of islets prior to transplantation into patients.
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work at the DRI where there is a team that combines every aspect of
diabetes research, as well as a strong focus on tissue engineering. It's really unique,” says Dr. Stabler. “I'm also very
impressed with the willingness of Dr. Ricordi and the whole Institute to openly share their work with the research community.
The DRI is regarded worldwide as a top-notch research facility. Joining their team for the research reputation is wonderful,
but going there for the research collaboration makes it even more meaningful.”
In July, DRI Scientific Director
Camillo Ricordi, M.D., received The
Transplantation Society Roche Award
for Outstanding Achievement in
Transplantation Science (Clinical).
The award was presented during
the World Transplant Congress, the
largest biennial international transplant event that took place this year
in Boston.
The Transplantation Society's
recognition awards are given to a
recipient who has made outstanding
contributions in transplantation.
Dr. Kathryn J. Wood, president of
The Transplantation Society, and
Zuzana Lindberg of Roche present
the award to Dr. Ricordi.
DRI Federation Gains New Members
Four additional research centers have joined the Diabetes
Research Institute Federation, bringing the total number of
members to 12, and representing 10 countries around the
world. The recently-launched DRI Federation is the only global
collaboration of its kind that unites leading research centers to
concentrate solely on curing diabetes through tolerance induction,
transplantation of islets and other insulin producing cells, stem cell
therapies and regenerative medicine strategies. The newest
members to join this research alliance are:
• DRI-Geneva at the Cell Isolation and Transplantation
Center at the University of Geneva, Switzerland
• DRI-Oxford at Oxford University, England, U.K.
• DRI-São Paulo at the Universidad de São Paulo, Brazil
• DRI-Ümea at the Centre for Molecular Medicine, Ümea
University, Sweden
Each partnering center contributes a specific research expertise
to the goal of curing the disease as illustrated in the integrated
research approach or “roadmap to the cure” that was developed by the DRI and published in 2005 in the journal Transplantation (see diagram).
By entering into this formal alliance, the researchers have agreed to put their individual interests aside and share all knowledge and information in what is typically
a very competitive environment. The achievement of the overall goal — a cure for diabetes — is the driving force behind this worldwide collaboration.
For more information on the DRI Federation, please visit our website at
Under the Microscope
with Alberto Pugliese, M.D.
type 1 diabetes. How could the results of
your study impact those suffering from
this disease?
For the past 12 years, Dr. Alberto
Pugliese, a Research Associate Professor
of Medicine, Immunology and
Microbiology at the Diabetes Research
Institute (DRI), has focused his work
on how genetic resistance impacts
insulin-dependent diabetes. His research
has allowed him to uncover novel ideas
that may better help him and his co-investigators understand the complex nature
of this disease.
As part of his current NIH grant
supporting his research on autoimmunity,
Dr. Pugliese is looking into the idea that
insulin-producing cells may regenerate.
He is also investigating the possibility
that certain cells may “transdifferentiate,”
that is to say a cell may be able to change
its function when necessary for survival.
By taking this multi-prong investigative
approach, Dr. Pugliese, who is also the head
of the Immunogenetics Program at the
DRI, suspects these two phenomena may
provide further insight into the problem of
autoimmunity as it relates to the rejection
of pancreatic and islet transplants.
Furthermore, if the theories about cell
regeneration and transdifferentiation can
be proven and replicated, doctors could
provide treatments for their patients not
only to ameliorate the disease, but perhaps to reverse the onset of type 1 diabetes altogether.
Q: In your August 2005 article published
in the Journal of Immunology, you
discussed your study of dendritic cells and
A. In the article, we showed that
dendritic cells may be a key in the
development and sustenance of 'selftolerance' in the human immune system.
(Self-tolerance is the immune system's
ability to recognize insulin as a good
hormone, for example, and therefore not
attack it.) Our group was the first to show
that human dendritic cells in the thymus
can express insulin and that these cells
can also be found circulating in the body.
This discovery may be a key to why some
people develop diabetes or other
autoimmune diseases. We suspect the
amounts of insulin expressed in the
thymus and by the dendritic cells control
the risk of developing autoimmunity that
targets insulin and, in turn, pancreatic
beta cells. If this source of insulin is
reduced, the body may see insulin as
foreign. If this happens, the immune
system will see insulin-producing cells
as foreign, as well, and attack, destroying
beta cells and creating a diabetic state.
Our goal is to discover the molecular
mechanisms that allow the dendritic cells
to express insulin so that they could be
used to treat people with diabetes by
reining in unwanted autoimmune
responses against the islets. This also
may be relevant for the long-term success
of islet transplants.
Q: You say that ductal cells could become
insulin producers. Why is this important?
A. We noted in several patients who
received pancreas transplants that the
ductal cells, cells that make up the
structure of the pancreatic duct, in the
transplanted organs expressed insulin.
This is not a normal finding, as insulin
is only expressed in beta cells. This
phenomenon may be a way of compensating for the loss of insulin-producing
cells, whereby cells that do not normally
produce insulin change their role in the
body and in fact start producing insulin.
We are putting much time into this
“survival technique” theory, which is also
backed up by studies in rodents. If we at
the DRI can discover the necessary elements
that cause this transdifferentiation, we
may be able to learn how to promote these
changes and the formation of new beta
cells in people with long-term diabetes.
There are many different mechanisms
involved here and the situation may be
difficult to mimic. But by studying the
ductal cells that express insulin in these
patients and investigating their genetic
profile, we may discover genes that play a
key role in this phenomenon. Novel technologies available to the scientists at the
DRI, such as laser capture technology and
gene chips, should allow us to study
these key pathways on a molecular level.
Q: Islet transplants at the DRI continue
to show promise. What studies are you
currently involved in?
A. One of the projects we are involved
in through the Immunogenetics Program
is the monitoring of islet transplant
patients for several types of immune
responses associated with the development
of type 1 diabetes. We can test these
responses to see if they are factors in the
long-term survival of a transplant. We
also are establishing assays to monitor the
number of autoimmune cells circulating in
blood. These are not the T-cells that
cause rejection of the islets but immune
cells that specifically target insulinproducing cells - the same kind of
immune cells that cause diabetes in the
first place. We need to find out if the
immunosuppressive drugs that prevent
rejection can also keep these immune
cells from coming back. If we obtain
evidence that these cells return and
negatively affect the transplanted islets,
then we need to find ways to block them.
There are several ongoing studies that
are evaluating therapeutic regimens that
may have efficacy, and those studies will
provide information that is relevant to
islet transplant patients, too. In the end,
we need to make sure that the immune
system is properly controlled to ensure that
it does not harm the transplanted islets.
An unforgettable
weekend retreat
Thirteen families from South Florida's tri-county area, with kids of varying ages,
backgrounds and ethnicities, gathered for the Deliver the Dream Retreat Weekend at
the Westgate River Ranch in Lake Wales, Florida. Their many differences were minimal in
comparison to the one thing they did share — a connection to diabetes.
For the long weekend of April 6-9, the Diabetes Research Institute partnered with
Deliver the Dream, a not-for-profit organization that provides a respite for families facing
serious illness or crisis by helping them to enhance coping skills, reduce stress and
cultivate relationships. Many of the kids with diabetes at the retreat had never even
met another child with the disease and were happy to experience an environment where
carb-counting and glucose testing was the norm.
On the first evening, the families sat around the campfire, singing songs, roasting
marshmallows and eating s'mores. Though their blood sugars skyrocketed, the
pump-users couldn't wait to compare correction bolus counts the next morning.
Additional weekend activities included horseback riding and pony rides, fishing, miniature
golf, airboat rides, archery and swimming, plus a costume party, a petting farm, teen
movie nights, a rodeo, and so much more.
The DRI's Ana Maria Avila, Allison Wick, MSN, ARNP-C, CDE and Jane SparrowBodenmiller, RN, CDE, C.P.T. were on site to ensure a safe, healthy atmosphere, and
Wendy Rappaport, Psy.D., L.C.S.W. led separate discussion groups for moms, dads,
and kids. Then, she brought everyone together for some surprising realizations.
Parents explained their constant concern regarding their kids with diabetes; siblings
revealed their true emotions; and those with diabetes were able to see life from a
fresh perspective.
At the retreat's end, all the participants exchanged phone numbers, email addresses
and promises to keep in touch. Though they arrived as strangers, each individual left with a
shared sense of belonging and a network of new friends who live close by.
1) Alexander Smith, Shane Wilson
and Lucas Wilson scale the rockclimbing wall. 2) With the help of
a Deliver the Dream volunteer,
Alexander Alonso assists 2 1/2 year-old Giancarlo Alfonso as he pets
a calf at the petting farm. 3) Todd
and Samantha Green peer over the
shoulder of Hope the Bear at Charlotte
Yedo, Jake Miller, and Giancarlo
Alfonso, during welcoming activities.
4) Many of the families met at the
DRI and traveled together by bus.
Pictured: (back row) Stephanie Yedo,
Alexander Alonso, Gabriela Sullivan,
Madeline Yedo, Karen Ripoll, Charlotte
Yedo; (aisle) Patrick Sullivan, Brooke
Miller; (seated) Emma Dorante,
Emmanuela Diaz, Giancarlo Alfonso,
and Maria Rodriguez.
D.R.E.a.M.S. in the City
...a dream come true
The inaugural D.R.E.a.M.S. (Diabetes Research, Elegance and Modern
Sophistication) in the City event impressed more than 200 guests at New York's
West Side Loft on May 18. Co-chaired by Northeast regional board members
Risa Pulver and Samantha Shanken Baker, the event raised nearly $240,000.
“The idea of the event was to have fun, get together for a good cause
and raise funds to find a cure, and we achieved all three,” said Samantha.
“D.R.E.a.M.S. in the City truly showed how New Yorkers love to step forward
for a good cause in order to make a difference.”
Honorary Committee Member Joseph R. Gannascoli, better known to fans of
"The Sopranos" as Vito Spatafore, mingled with the crowd as they enjoyed fabulous food and drink, plus music by DJ Tom Finn, formerly of Studio 54. The
evening was highlighted by an appearance by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg who
was introduced by DRI Northeast Board Chairperson Tom Stern. Mayor
Bloomberg spoke eloquently about New York City's commitment to support diabetes
research, and he commended the high quality of research underway at the DRI.
“We were all moved that Mayor Bloomberg took time from his hectic
schedule to join us for a good cause," said Risa. "His words of support in the
drive to find a cure were deeply felt by everyone in the room.”
The evening featured a stellar silent auction, with such spectacular
items as a weekend at Twin Farms in Vermont, exquisite jewelry from Loree
Rodkin Jewels and Mayfair Jewelers, a Gucci Bouvier handbag, and an array of
sports memorabilia generously donated by Northeast board member Peter
DiCapua. Funds also were raised via naming opportunities, whereby big-hearted
donors pledged to underwrite much-needed equipment for the Institute.
The event chairpersons, along with Junior Chairperson Hayley Friedman Morrison
and the committee, extended their heartfelt appreciation to the many generous people
who made the event a success. Diamond D.R.E.a.M.S. Sponsors included: Bear
Stearns, The Stacy Joy Goodman Memorial Foundation, Katten Muchin Rosenman
LLP, The Kenmar Group, Risa and Jeff Pulver, Adrienne and Arnold Rubin, and Hazel
and Marvin Shanken. Golden D.R.E.a.M.S Sponsors
were: Judy and Jason Chudnofsky, DPM Mellon,
Hirshleifer's, Lehman Brothers, Vikki and Michael Price,
and UBS Securities, LLC. Silver D.R.E.a.M.S Sponsors
included: Citigroup, Doug Davis, Kelly and David Halpert,
Edith and Norman Weisfeld, and Diane and Howard Wohl.
In-kind sponsors were: Candid Litho Printing Ltd., Col
Solare, Gloria Ferrer, Fiji Natural Artesian Water, Emeril
Lagasse,, Wine Spectator, and Yamazaki.
1) DRIF President and CEO Robert A.
Pearlman enjoyed speaking with Honorary
Committee Member Joseph R. Gannascoli
(A.K.A. Vito Spatafore of “The Sopranos”).
2) Co-Chairs Risa Pulver and Samantha
Shanken Baker and Junior Chair Hayley
Friedman Morrison enjoyed the success
of the event.
The “Hippest Happy Hour in Town” played out its moniker Saturday,
June 3, at the 15th annual Feast Among the Grapes, South Florida's premier
wine tasting and culinary event, held in cooperation with Wine Spectator.
More than 1,000 guests glided from booth to booth at the Radisson Hotel
Miami, sampling savory snacks and tantalizing treats from Miami's finest
restaurants, plus a rainbow's spectrum of beverages and spirits. The trendy
soiree raised more than $161,000 for the DRI.
Standing in the center of the room, a large, handsome, oak bar, courtesy
of ME Production, became a gathering point of the evening as many guests,
including Honoree Joey Krutel, enjoyed chilled martinis. Oohs and ahs
escaped the mouths of attendees who tasted the shrimp and jasmine rice
dumplings with green apple curry created especially for the event and served
up by Chef Chair Michael Bloise of Wish. Both Krutel and Bloise committed
themselves to the Diabetes Research Institute after losing their fathers to
1) (l-r) Co-chairpersons David Walker, Barbara Amoils, and Andy Waks
celebrated another year of success. 2) Chef Chair Michael Bloise of Wish, shown
with his son, Christopher, passionately pledged his dedication to the cause.
3) Joey Krutel was the center of attention as the 2006 honoree.
diabetes-related complications. The passion and endless efforts of these young
men were evident in the success of this very hip party.
Revelers returned again and again to Café Sambal's station, where Chef Gerdy
Rodriguez offered smooth, green mojito shots and braised beef short ribs with potato
foam and candied onions. Perricone's Marketplace gave pasta lovers a healthy
alternative, whole wheat fusilli reggiano, and Tropical Chinese Restaurant offered a
delectable Peking duck. Kefi presented an extravagant Mediterranean antipasti
spread as well as mouth-watering chocolate mousse. Guests with a sweet tooth also
enjoyed Schakolad Chocolate Factory's cascading chocolate fountain and
marshmallow lollipops, CrepeMaker's dessert crepes, The Melting Pot's chocolate
fondue with strawberries, Key lime crème brulee from North One 10, and much more.
Other restaurants making scrumptious contributions were: 3030 Ocean
Restaurant, Bizcaya Grill at the Ritz Carlton in Coconut Grove, Cacao Restaurant,
Café Ragazzi, Carltons Restaurant & Lounge, Joanna's Marketplace,
LaEstanciaArgentina, Mario the Baker, Neomi's Grill at the Trump International
Sonesta, PAUL Bakery & Café, Shulas Steak House at the Alexander Hotel, Sushi
House, Sushi Republic, The Forge, Timo, and Touch.
New friends cozied up together on white love seats in the posh VIP lounge,
sponsored by Rand Eye Institute, where hors d'oeuvres were passed and champagne
flutes bubbled over. VIPs were also treated to: a special silent auction, containing
ultra-fabulous prizes; a huge, martini-shaped, icy luge dispensing espresso-flavored
Van Gogh vodka; Daquiri Dog's frozen margarita machines; The Boutique Kitchen's
West Indian style fish cakes with roasted pepper sambal; and more.
Live music by The Fit seduced movers and shakers onto the dance floor, and
more than 200 exciting silent auction prizes, including several luxurious vacation
and local entertainment packages, plus the best of fashion, sports, art and more,
spurred exhilarating bidding wars.
Chairpersons Barbara Amoils, David Walker, Andy and Judy Waks, and Randy
Furshman offered special thanks to top sponsors including: Wine Spectator, Rand
Eye Institute, Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida, Premier Beverage Company,
National Distributing Company, Dr. Floyd and Jacci Seskin, FlosUSA, Comcast,
Love 94, The Miami Herald, Crown Wine & Spirits, Van Gogh Vodka, Carnival
Cruise Lines, Biorep Technologies and Franz Franc Design Group.
New Vitazest Partners
with the DRI
VitaZest offers nine delicious flavors.
The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
and VitaZest® Vitamin & Fruit Enriched Water®, a
product of Triple A Products, LLC, have teamed up
to help consumers quickly identify a healthful and
great tasting source of hydration. VitaZest contains
10 vitamins and minerals, no carbohydrates, no
calories, no sugar, no caffeine, and no preservatives.
Even better, a portion of the proceeds of all VitaZest
sales will support the Diabetes Research Institute.
The DRI logo will be printed on all VitaZest
product packaging in the Vitamin & Fruit Enriched
line of waters and other materials to indicate the
company's commitment to supporting the
cure-focused work being conducted at the DRI.
The appearance of the DRI logo will immediately
alert consumers, such as those who have diabetes
or who are at risk of developing diabetes, that
VitaZest is a healthy and enjoyable option.
The partnership between VitaZest and the DRI
Foundation has been formed at a time when the
incidence of diabetes and obesity continues to rise
exponentially in this country. According to a study
published in August by the Harvard School of Public
Health in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
Americans' increased consumption of soda and
other sugary soft drinks over the last four decades has
greatly contributed to excessive weight gain. The
researchers contend that an extra can of soda a day
can add up to 15 pounds in a single year.
"With the recent news that beverages with
high sugar content, especially sodas, are contributing
to the obesity problem in America, VitaZest Vitamin
& Fruit Enriched Water offers a healthier alternative
for hydration. Because it contains no carbohydrates
and no sugar, this flavored beverage is a better
option for those that need to be careful about their
carbohydrate and caloric intake," said Luigi
Meneghini, M.D., Associate Professor of Clinical
Medicine, and Director, Eleanor and Joseph Kosow
Diabetes Treatment Center at the DRI.
“We are grateful to VitaZest for their support
of our mission to cure this disease and for their
concern for all people affected by diabetes,” said
Robert A. Pearlman, president and CEO of the
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. “This
partnership is a natural fit for our organization, and we
are looking forward to a very successful relationship.”
Consumers can purchase VitaZest at various
retail outlets across the country, or they can order
directly from the company's website at, which offers an added
benefit. Internet shoppers can get $10 off their
initial purchase of a single case of VitaZest by
entering discount code DRIF10 at checkout. The
24-bottle assortment usually retails for $41.99
per case so the initial case price for DIRF customers
is $31.99. Customers' future purchases of VitaZest
will also be discounted by $2 per case when used
with the special Diabetes Research Institute
Foundation code, DRIF. When customers place an
online order by the case using the special discount
code, the organization will receive an additional
contribution. Shoppers can find the discount
code on the Diabetes Research Institute's website,
“We couldn't be more proud of an affiliation
with a leader like the Diabetes Research Institute
and its Foundation, and we'll do all we can to
support their efforts to find a cure,” said Ziv Alcalay,
VitaZest Vice President of Operations. “We look
forward to attending and working with the DRIF at
their events, with their donors and through whatever
channels we can to make sure awareness is
raised about the fact that VitaZest is a good choice
for consumers, especially those with diabetes.”
Support our Work While Doing Yours
Honor a Loved One Through the DRIF
One of the easiest ways you can assist
the DRI in continuing its important work is
to become a Workplace Ambassador. Simply
encourage your co-workers to contribute via
your workplace giving campaign! These gifts
are tax deductible and can be made through
a payroll deduction program.
For participants in the Combined Federal
Campaign (CFC), please note that the DRI's
number is 9505. We are also listed under the
Health 1st America's Charities Federation.
To learn more about how you can help,
call 1-800-321-3437 or send an email to
[email protected]
Looking for a unique way to show that you care?
When you make an honor/memory gift in support of
the DRI, you will conveniently:
• Honor the accomplishments of friends, family,
and loved ones.
• Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, milestones,
or holidays.
• Demonstrate your philanthropic support to business
associates and clients.
• Keep the memory of your loved ones alive.
When the DRI Foundation receives an honor or
memory gift, the individuals or family members in
whose name the contribution was made are
immediately notified, and in addition, you will receive a
confirmation from the DRI Foundation acknowledging
your thoughtful and generous donation.
In Memory of Robert T. Held, Sr.
Many of those connected to the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation have come to
think of each other as members of an extended family. In times of sorrow, it's family that pulls us
through, comforting our grief, refreshing fond memories and reminding us of happier days to come.
It is with great sadness that the entire DRI family mourns the loss of Robert T. Held, Sr., who
passed away peacefully this past May at the age of 88. Though words cannot aptly honor him, we
celebrate his life, his generosity, and his commitment to family.
Bob was one of the DRI's longtime champions and was involved with the organization since its
earliest days in the 1970s. In addition to bringing a number of opportunities to the organization and
being involved with several fundraising events, Bob helped establish the first chair in the history of
the University of Miami's Department of Medicine. In 1981, he endowed the Mary Lou Held Chair
for Diabetes Research, named for his daughter-in-law who has diabetes. He also served the DRI
Foundation as Chairman of the Board of Governors, was a member of the Foundation’s Governors’
Society, and later, the Honorary Board of Directors. Bob's philanthropic spirit seemed to know no
bounds, and the DRI was only one of his many charitable interests.
The Held Family requested that contributions in Bob Held's memory help perpetuate
his hope and efforts to find a cure for diabetes. To do so, please call 1-800-321-3437 or visit
Robert T. Held, Sr.
The Tax Free IRA Rollover
is Finally Here!
Jeffrey Young to Chair
On August 17, 2006, President Bush
signed in to law, the highly anticipated Pension
Protection Act of 2006. This legislation permits
individuals over the age of 70 1/2 to make
charitable gifts through their IRAs without
including the amount of the gift as part of their
gross income. It doesn’t, however, provide a
charitable income-tax deduction.
DRI Foundation Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey
Young has been selected to chair the 2007 Florida
CPA Not-for-Profit Organization Conference, an annual
symposium that takes place in Ft. Lauderdale and
Tampa in June, and is attended by more than 250
certified public accountants from around the state. He
and his committee are charged with planning, directing
and administering the conference in accordance with
Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants (FICPA)
policies and to comment on accounting, auditing and
regulatory reporting requirements in the not-for-profit arena.
Adept in this particular realm of financial oversight,
Jeff has also been appointed to the FICPA Executive
Jeffrey Young
Committee's Not-for-Proft task force, whose objective
is to enhance the effectiveness of CPAs who serve
as employees or volunteers for non-profit organizations. The committee seeks to encourage and train
certified public accountants to serve on organizations' boards and create vehicles for non-profits to
find CPAs willing to serve and volunteer.
Since joining the Foundation in 1994, Jeff and his department have helped the Foundation's
financial operations run smoothly, particularly in light of the organization's tremendous growth. This
past year, he and Oneida Osuna, accounting assistant, have processed almost 18,000 transactions, up
from just over 6,000 in 1995. Nicole Washington has just joined his staff as data entry clerk, and
will be assisting with the growing responsibilities.
Before coming to the DRI, Jeff previously served as controller for an ophthalmic diagnostics
company in Boca Raton. He is a certified public accountant in the State of Florida and a member of the
American Institute of CPAs. He recently published an article titled, “CA$H FLOW - Why Having GAAP
Income Doesn't Necessarily Mean You Can Pay Your Bills If You Are An NPO," in the March/April 2006
issue of Florida CPA Today.
To qualify:
• The donor must be past 70 1/2 years
of age and own a traditional or Roth IRA.
• The gift must be transferred directly from
the IRA trustee to a qualified charity. If the
funds are withdrawn by the IRA owner and
then contributed to the charity, the amount
withdrawn will be included as part of the
donors gross income.
• IRA gifts cannot exceed $100,000 per
year and can be made in 2006 and 2007.
• Gifts cannot be made to charitable
remainder trusts or other life income gift
arrangements. Nor can they be made to
private foundations, donor advised funds,
or supporting organizations.
To learn more about making a gift with
your IRA, please contact Jill Shapiro Miller, DRIF
Director of Gift Planning at 1-800-321-3437.
CPA Conference
Craig and Sharon Silver, DRIF's Robert A. Pearlman, and Jill Viner posed with
Patti LaBelle after her performance.
On the eve of the Emmy Awards, another red carpet was rolled
out for An Evening Under the Stars with Patti LaBelle, a lavish affair
held at the beachside home of Jill Viner and Cliff Viner to raise
support and awareness for the DRI. Three hundred residents and
guests of the Hamptons enjoyed the exclusive soiree in Quogue on
Saturday, August 26. Miami-based event virtuoso Barton G. Weiss
of Barton G. transformed the magnificent private residence into the
ultimate social scene and concert venue.
“We are all bestowed blessings,” the lovely LaBelle began,
explaining her connection to the event's cause. “I have diabetes;
it does not have me.”
LaBelle has lived with diabetes for more than a decade, and
she also lost her mother to complications of the disease. With passion
in her voice, this performance was awe-inspiring. While standing on a
stage constructed atop the swimming pool, she sang favorites such as
Lady Marmalade, New Attitude, If Only You Knew, Over the Rainbow,
and On My Own, among others. Although LaBelle's tearful ballads
and upbeat dance tunes were one of the evening's highlights, it was
the powerful words of the event’s hostess that truly took center stage.
“Three words led me here: My Brother
Craig,” said hostess Jill Viner, referring to
Craig Silver, who has had type 1 diabetes
since he was a child. She continued, “The
advances at the Diabetes Research Institute
have been great, but we still need to help
DRI scientists find a cure.”
Jill then presented an award of appreciation to Barton G. “You are not only a lifetime friend of mine, but also that of the
DRI,” she said.
Robert A. Pearlman of the DRI Foundation took the stage,
as well, to recognize the Viners and address the audience.
“Diabetes is growing at an epidemic proportion, but what we
have discovered through our research is that the disease can be
reversed. In fact, two people with us today have undergone islet cell
transplants and are now living insulin-free,” he said.
While eagerly awaiting LaBelle's arrival, guests received the
ultimate red carpet treatment. Welcoming doors swept open to greet
guests with silver platters of wine. Intimate and flower bedecked
tables offered a cozy place to sit and talk, while savory food beckoned
from every side of the exquisite back deck, all of which was surrounded
by a breathtaking ocean view.
Specially formulated by Barton G. for a diabetes-conscious
audience, the menu was distinctly delicious. Protein-based “im-pasta”
was made from chicken, shrimp and lobster. Seafood cocktails were
made to order with giant shrimp, lobster tails, king crab, blue crab
and a choice of sauces. Lamb chops, steak and chicken were
grilled to perfection upon request, and tuna, salmon and scallops
were dished out generously. The Nitro-tini Bar was busy all night,
as peach, grapefruit and dirty martinis were served up with floaters
of vodka frozen into cubes using liquid nitrogen. As the cubes
melted, the cocktails strengthened with each sip.
Not only was this event the debut for “nitrogen-fueled martinis,”
but it also served as the unveiling of Barton G.'s new line of sugar-free
desserts. Including everything from double fudge brownies and
cheesecake lollipops to an array of ice cream and sorbet, the desserts
were so seductively sweet that guests refused to believe they were
all sugar-free.
After pleasing their palates, lounging in the lap of luxury and
experiencing the intense performance of Patti LaBelle, guests departed
via the red carpet, feeling as ultra-fabulous as an Emmy Award winner.
Barton G. Weiss of Barton G. provided
fabulous décor and a creative menu
designed to be diabetes-friendly.
LaBelle performed on a specially constructed stage over the pool.
Hosts of the extravagant affair, Cliff and Jill Viner, paused for a family moment
with their daughters, Elyse (left center) and Amanda (right center).
Celebrating a milestone anniversary, more than 30,000 members of the
Building and Construction Trades Department put down their sheet metal, set
aside their hammers, and held out their hard hats for a good cause. In hundreds
of cities across all 50 states, they spent a day building bridges of a different sort,
spanning the gap between those suffering with diabetes and the cure.
Since 1986, labor union workers, along with their families and friends, have
been collecting donations for the DRI with their Dollars Against Diabetes (DAD's
Day) campaign. Officially recognized on the day before Father's Day, this
longstanding tradition commemorated its 20th anniversary this year with collective
proceeds surpassing the $19 million mark on June 17.
DAD's Day is the largest single-day fundraising campaign for diabetes
research. Governors, senators and even US presidents have recognized the program
as one of the top private sector initiatives in the United States. Aside from the
traditional street corner collections, the campaign has grown to include events
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
featuring a wide variety of popular hobbies.
Executive Vice President Gerald O'Malley, right, presented Joe
This year, more than 50 golf tournaments took place nationwide. Held by
Linehan of Union Labor Life Insurance Company with the 2006
IBEW Local 26 and led by Business Manager Chuck Graham, the largest golf
Championship Trophy at the 6th Annual Building Trades Softball
tournament hosted 600 participants on five courses. Motorcycle enthusiasts led
Slam, held Saturday, August 26 at the National Labor College in
by Jay Mummy of IBEW Local 153 and Steve Hardy of Ironworkers Local 5 achieved
Silver Spring, Maryland.
success again with their Poker Runs. Thanks to the leadership of General
President John Flynn, the Bricklayers International 6th Annual Softball Slam raised more than
$100,000. And Sam Davis and the Parkersburg-Marietta Building Trades held their 3rd
Annual DAD's Day Fun Shoot.
Along with an annual gin rummy and golf tournament called the Labor of Love, DAD's
Day is a cornerstone of Blueprint for Cure, an umbrella program of annual events spearheaded by the Building and Construction Trades Department and endorsed by the American
Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations, commonly known as AFL-CIO.
This unique program began in 1984 when representatives from building trades met
with the DRI Foundation and learned from parents there about the need for a research and
treatment facility to lead the way toward a cure for diabetes. It reached a major milestone
when the men and women of the unions funded and built the Diabetes Research Institute
facility in Miami, the most comprehensive diabetes research facility in the world. The building
opened in 1994. Union workers have now raised more than $35 million to support the DRI
Motorcyclists prepared to depart at the Ironworkers
Local 5 Poker Run in Maryland.
and its research projects.
In recognition of the union's unparalleled support, a permanent plaque erected at the DRI's entrance bears the following statement:
“Built by the hearts and hands of America's workers, whose generosity and craftsmanship knows no bounds.”
To the thousands of people involved with DAD's Day and Blueprint for Cure today and throughout the past 20 years, the DRI extends its genuine
appreciation. The milestones we have reached together over the years are invaluable.
Members of the Parkersburg Marietta Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO had a blast at their annual skeet shoot.
The fourth Northeast outreach cocktail reception was not only held for
new friends of the DRI, but also by one. Betsy Sorrel (center), whose
16-year-old son, Robbie, has type 1 diabetes, hosted the intimate affair
at her home in Greenwich on April 6. Many of the 60 guests were current members of Betsy's support group for parents of children with diabetes. Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails were passed while the DRI's
Dr. Norma S. Kenyon (left) discussed the latest scientific advancements in
diabetes research. Then, Betsy, along with Erica Newman, spoke about
their experiences as mothers of children with diabetes. (Also pictured:
DRIF's Robert A. Pearlman.)
On August 4, 19-year-old pianists and composers Jason Kram Yeager (2nd from right) and Ben Stepner presented Four Hands
for a Cure, a unique and original jazz performance followed by a wine and cheese reception, sponsored by M. Steinert & Sons.
The duo performed 12 songs for a full-house at downtown Boston's Steinert Hall, adding nearly $5,000 to The Jason Fund,
which Jason's grandparents, Elly (center) and Harvey Kram (far right), started after his diagnosis with type 1 diabetes seven
years ago. The extraordinary 90-minute ensemble, including the works of leading musicians, as well as that of Jason and Ben
themselves, drew a standing ovation. (Also pictured: Jason's parents Peter Yeager, Kathy Kram.)
On October 14, the Key Biscayne Rotary Club sponsored the 2nd Annual Key Biscayne
Wine Tasting at the Sonesta Beach Resort. Guests sampled tastes from the world's finest
wineries and nibbled on gourmet delicacies while mingling with the DRIF’s Robert A.
Pearlman, Elina Linetsky of the DRI, islet transplant recipient Jon Hedrich, and Raul de
Molina (AKA “El Gordo” of Spanish TV's “El Gordo y La Flaca”), among others. Pictured:
Key Biscayne rotary club members (l-r) Angela O’Campo, Maggie and Ruben Weisson,
President Bonnie Cooper, and Norm Roberts (far right) with the DRIF's Natasha Norris.
During the 34th annual Phil Peterson’s Key West Poker Run, sponsored by Peterson’s HarleyDavidson of Miami and Harley-Davidson South, motorcycle enthusiasts enjoyed a scenic trek
from Miami to Key West along US 1. Key West’s famous Duval Street was closed to outside
traffic for weekend revelers, who enjoyed the carnival-like atmosphere, live music, food and
drinks. Several activities kept visitors busy throughout the weekend of September 15-17,
including a custom bike show, a hog roast, a bikini bike wash, plus contests judging wingeating, beer guts and tattoos, and much, much more! Riders stopped at five designated locations
along the way to draw what they hoped would be a winning poker hand. The players with the
best five hands won cash, and they, along with the players with the next five best hands,
competed in a game of Texas Hold ‘Em. The winner, Butch Knapp of Marathon, took home
a brand new Harley Davidson Sportster! Pictured: Phil Peterson (dressed in white) celebrated
another successful Poker Run with his sons, Drew (left) and Dirk (far right), plus DRIF’s Brian
Huether, who was happy to accept nearly $45,000 for the DRI.
Former Miami Dolphin quarterback and current
head coach of the F.I.U. Golden Panthers Don
Strock joined forces with the local produce industry
for the 23rd annual Don Strock Diabetes Classic
held at Miccosukee Golf & Country Club on May
18. Presented by the Miami Seaquarium, the
tournament is one of South Florida's longest running celebrity/amateur charity golf tournaments.
Past and present NFL players who joined Strock
on the course this year included Bruce Hardy,
Don McNeal, Nat Moore, Kerry Glenn, Uwe Von
Schamann, Madre Hill, and Bob Brudzinski. After
cocktails and dinner, an awards ceremony followed, during which 12-year-old Karen Ripoll and
her mother, Teresa, spoke of a day in the life of
the Ripoll family. Karen was diagnosed with type
1 at age 7. The event raised an estimated
$175,000, thanks to the committee's dedication
and the generosity of the sponsors (pictured).
Standing (l-r): Bruce Fishbein, The Produce Connection; Bruce Schumin, M & R Produce Distributors; Arthur
Hertz, Miami Seaquarium; Gary James, Southern Specialties; Don Strock; Jerry Share and Robert Piper, Sheds
Plus; Chris Fries, The Produce Connection; and John Marini, Heineken USA. Sitting (l-r): Felix Hernandex,
Coca-Cola; Rey Martinez, Crystal Springs; Doug Tannehill, C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.; Terry Willie,
Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida; Joe Kettinger, Outback Steakhouse; and Sean White, Minuteman
Press of Boca Raton. Not pictured: A-One-A Produce and Dairy, Six L's Packing Company, American Fruit &
Produce Corp., Top Tomato Company, The Oppenheimer Group, Florida Mushroom, Freedom Fresh, Sunkist
Growers, Sierra Produce, Dole, Riverside Fruit & Vegetables, Fresh Quest, Warren Henry Automobiles, Inc.,
Bluestar Jets and Von Kantor Photography & Design.
Long Island
The family of Helaine Shari White continues to celebrate her incredible love of life
and powerful spirit with fundraising efforts that focus on laughter, fun and family.
Her parents, Rhoda (third from left) and Donald White (far right), and her two sisters
and brothers-in-law, Peter and Hillari Boritz (left with newborn daughter, Rebecca)
and Renee and Ron Spiegel (middle back), organized the sixth annual Lanie's
Lanes at the East Meadow Bowling Lanes on March 5. More than 100 people
turned out, raising nearly $30,000 for the DRI. Also pictured are Sami, Brittney
and Marc Spiegel and Harrison Boritz.
On May 7, Lanie's family participated in the 29th annual Five Boro Bike Tour, the
largest recreational cycling event in the U.S. The 42-mile, traffic-free ride through
the streets, highways and bridges of New York City attracted 30,000 participants,
but the White family organized its own group of 40 cyclists, who garnered pledges
from friends and family and rode in loving memory of Lanie. After the ride, the
group enjoyed a celebratory picnic. The White, Boritz and Spiegel families would
like to offer special thanks to all the generous individuals and companies that
supported their efforts, including AM SKIER, Elmwood Day Camp, Real Data
Management, and Custom Concentrates, among others.
Held on May 4 at Jericho Terrace in Mineola, NY, Children's Best Hope for a
Cure featured silent and live auctions, cocktails, dinner, and a delightful program
highlighted by 13-year-old Lauren Bongiorno's rendition of “God Bless America.”
Lauren's diagnosis with type 1 diabetes at age 7 gave her parents the motivation
to start this fundraiser five years ago. This year, her father, Peter Bongiorno (far
right), served as Honoree, while her mother, Michele Bongiorno, emceed. The
affair's cumulative proceeds reached nearly $1.5 million thanks to the dedication
of several Long Island philanthropists, such as Co-chairs Maggie and Michael F.
Greco (2nd from right), 2003 Honoree Steven J. Eisman (far left), 2002 Honoree
James Ciocia (2nd from left), 2005 Honoree Carole Enisman (center), and 400
generous attendees.
The 30th annual South Shore Sweethearts Tennis Tournament attracted more than 300
tennis fans to Sportime at Atlantic Beach Tennis Club, during the week of July 8-16. Led
by Co-chairpersons Bob Zuckerman and Susan Miller, the event featured 14 divisions,
including men's pro/am, women's round robin, and mixed doubles. Jerry (far left) and
David Miller (left), winners of the first ever parent-child doubles contest, are pictured with
the competition, Brett Votano (right) and Steve Goldberg (far right). Raising more than
$136,000, this anniversary event was as successful as ever.
On August 7, Muttontown Country Club and Pine Hollow Country Club were sold out for the annual Rod
Gilbert DRI Golf Classic in East Norwich, NY. With many New York Rangers' fans in attendance, Rod Gilbert's
presence was aptly appreciated, but a very special dedication gave the event even more meaning. The
tournament was held in memory of Anthony John Vitale, a friend of the DRI who had diabetes for 25
years, and its proceeds were used to establish a grant in his name at the DRI. Members of the Vitale family,
including Anthony J. Vitale, Jr. (right, shown with Gilbert), have been actively participating in this event for
10 years. Their extra involvement this year garnered not only profits surpassing that of last year, but also
the participation and support of family friend Senator Alfonso D'Amato. The event wrapped up with dinner
and an awards presentation, plus silent and live auctions, raising approximately $300,000.
What Not to Wear at Fall Into Fashion
Unsure of what not to wear? Find out at the ninth annual Fall Into Fashion luncheon, slated for
10:30 a.m. on Thursday, December 7 at the Pine Hollow Country Club in East Norwich, NY, where
attendees might get an earful from one of TV's most prominent fashion mavens. Clinton Kelly,
the always fashionably correct host of TLC's “What Not to Wear,” will appear at the event, where
sweepstake participants will have an exclusive opportunity to win a shopping experience with Kelly's
expert styling advice and honest observations.
Don't miss a chance to shop
with Clinton Kelly at Lonny's
and Steven Dann of Great Neck.
The luncheon will also feature a sumptuous brunch, an exclusive shopping environment, and unique
demonstrations - from cake decorating and coffee sampling to make-up application and massage.
To join Co-chairs Miriam Shiff and Addy Fritzhand and Honorary Chairman Fran Helfant at the 2006
event, purchase tickets online at or call the DRI Foundation's Long Island
office at 516.621.8804 or email [email protected]
Boasting a hilarious line-up, including host Jim Turner and
headliner Dana Gould, with additional laughs supplied by Greg
Behrendt and Andy Kindler, Stand Up for a Cure will be held at
The Improv in Los Angeles on Sunday, November 12 at 5:30 p.m.
Presented by Turner Construction Company, the fourth annual
event will feature sidesplitting comedic performances, plus a
cocktail reception, dinner, a live auction, and fantastic prize
drawings - from spa packages to awesome getaways. For tickets
and sponsorship opportunities, call the DRI Foundation’s Los
Angeles office, 323-857-0080. For more information about
the event, visit
1) Jim Turner; 2) Dana Gould; 3) Greg Behrendt;
4) Andy Kindler
For information on the events or to make reservations,
please call one of the DRI Foundation offices listed below.
Stand Up For A Cure
November 12, 2006
It will be another hilarious Night at the Improv when
a host of colorful comedians take the stage for this
newly renamed annual event.
Palm Beach Auxiliary Luncheon
February 12, 2007
This delightful luncheon, to be held at the Polo Club
in Boca Raton, will feature boutique shopping and a
card party.
Circle of Champions Charity Brunch
November 12, 2006
Olympian Gary Hall, Jr. will host a Sunday brunch to be
held at South Beach's world famous Joe's Stone Crab,
where the afternoon's honoree, former NBA center Chris
Dudley, will be inducted into the Circle of Champions.
Love and Hope Ball
February 17, 2007
To be held at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in
Hollywood, this extraordinary affair is certain to
delight and surprise its guests while commemorating
33 years of success.
DRI Harold Kart Golf Classic
November 13, 2006
An afternoon of golf followed by a cocktail reception and
awards dinner will take place at Boca West Country Club.
Diabetes Research Institute Week
February, 2007
Volunteers will take to the streets during this weeklong
event to solicit contributions for the DRI. Students
will conduct walkathons at Broward-area parks, and
other fundraising projects are encouraged, such as
dress down days, letter writing campaigns, and car
washes, among others.
Franz Franc Design Group Inc.
New York
Carnival for a Cure
March 11, 2007
Enjoy games, fun foods, great activities and more at
this family-oriented afternoon event at the
Metropolitan Pavilion.
The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation supports the
Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Leonard
M. Miller School of Medicine, whose mission is to develop and
rapidly apply the most promising research to treat and cure
those now living with diabetes. To obtain additional information
or request copies of DRIfocus, please call (800) 321-3437 or
e-mail [email protected], or visit
New York
Empire Ball
December 6, 2006
New York's Real Estate Division will gather at the
Grand Hyatt Hotel for this elegant, black-tie affair.
Love and Hope Preview Party
December 7, 2006
Often referred to as “the heart of Love and Hope,”
this fabulous dinner reception will officially kick off
the group's fundraising season at the Diplomat
Country Club in Hallandale.
Fall Into Fashion
Long Island
December 7, 2006
Set to the theme of “Friends Celebrating Friends,” this
fashionable brunch will be held at the Pine Hollow
Country Club in East Norwich and feature a unique
shopping experience, auctions, an appearance by
TLC's Clinton Kelly, and more.
Pleasures of the Palate
January 22, 2007
To be held at NORMAN'S in Coral Gables, guests will
enjoy a sumptuous five-course meal paired with wines
from around the world, plus live and silent auctions.
DRI Golf and Tennis Classic
January 29, 2007
An afternoon of golf and tennis tournaments at
La Gorce Country Club in Miami Beach will be
followed by a cocktail reception and awards dinner.
Diabetes Research Institute
National Foundation Office
3440 Hollywood Blvd.
Suite 100
Hollywood, FL 33021
address service requested
DRI Golf Classic
April 23, 2007
To be held at El Caballero Country Club, the third
annual tournament will feature an afternoon of golf,
followed by a dinner and awards ceremony.
Long Island
Crystal Ball
May 7, 2007
This black-tie gala at the Garden City Hotel will
feature cocktails, dinner, dancing, auctions and
live entertainment.
Shell Key West Challenge
May 17-21, 2007
For more than two decades, this five-day fishing
tournament, sponsored by Shell Oil, has been a Key
West tradition. For the first time, the 2007 event
will benefit the DRI.
is a publication of the
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.
Fall 2006 / Volume 35, Issue 1
Lori Weintraub, APR
Laurie Cummings
Cathryn Greene-Zavertnik
Natasha Norris
Lauren Schreier
Mitra Zehtab, M.D.
Francisco Gonzalez
Marc S. Levine Photography
Von Kantor Photography & Design
Claude Zick
Foundation Staff & Volunteers
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
National Office
3440 Hollywood Boulevard, Suite 100. Hollywood, FL 33021
Phone: (954) 964-4040 Fax: (954) 964-7036
[email protected]
Northeast Regional Office
381 Park Avenue South, Suite 1118, New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 888-2217 Fax: (212) 888-2219
[email protected]
Long Island Regional Office
45 Glen Cove Road. Greenvale, NY 11548
Phone: (516) 621-8804 Fax: (516) 621-8501
[email protected]
California Regional Office
6624 Melrose Avenue. Los Angeles, CA 90038
Phone: (323) 857-0080 Fax: (323) 857-1856
[email protected]
US Postage
Diabetes Research
Institute Foundation

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