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Diabetes Research Institute Foundation Board Spotlight: John Luebs

(February, 2015) -- Northeast Region Board member John Luebs is the senior vice president of Human Resources for Mutual of America in New York City. Prior to that, he held several leadership positions and is a 32-year veteran of the industry. In the workplace, he’s known for having grace under pressure and for being a fair negotiator. But those who know him well will attest that, above all, he’s a genuine family man and very proud father. Knowing that is what drives him, it’s no wonder John committed himself to supporting the Diabetes Research Institute – to find a cure for his eldest daughter, Maggie, who was diagnosed with T1D on April 19, 2000.

“It was absolutely devastating. We didn’t know anyone with diabetes and didn’t know where to turn,” he explained. “We learned that there are other great organizations which help you manage diabetes, but that was not good enough. We want to rid Maggie and millions more of this disease.”

John and his wife, Fran, attended the DRI Foundation’s New York Research Update. At that time, they learned about several individuals who were living insulin free after receiving an islet transplant as part of the DRI’s ongoing clinical trials. Further impressed by the DRI’s spirit of collaboration, John and Fran immersed themselves into fundraising for the organization. They both joined the regional board and signed on to co-chair the following research updates in 2006 and 2008. They got involved on committees, while attending and volunteering at various events. John continues to serve on the Northeast Board and on its Executive Committee. Their three daughters, Maggie, Diane, and Sharon, who John says “believe in hard work and have such a close bond that propelled them all to Cornell University,” also lend their support, and Maggie, who is beginning her career at a prestigious New York law firm, is part of the Young Professionals group.

“We realized DRI is the best hope for a cure. Fran and I are very proud of our involvement with the organization and immensely proud of our daughters who are active themselves. We are confident that Dr. Ricordi and his team will find the answer to end diabetes once and for all.”

For others seeking to get involved, John added, “We have met some of the nicest people through our association with the DRIF. The group here in the Northeast, the regional board, the committee members – we’re a family. We’re all just focused on trying to fund research for a cure.”

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