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The Gurwitz Family: Finishing What They Started

Lorrie Ann Knowles and Richard GurwitzWhen her son, Richard Gurwitz, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 2, Lorrie Ann Knowles and her husband, Stanley Gurwitz, had to do something. Seeking a cure for their son, Lorrie and Stanley joined four other families and started what would become the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. The organization’s mission was to support a promising research
program at the University of Miami solely aimed at finding a cure for diabetes. Eventually, that program became the Diabetes Research Institute.

While his parents worked tirelessly to help fund the DRI, Richard was struggling to manage his diabetes, and by the time he reached his 20s, he had developed many of the most severe complications—hypoglycemic unawareness, diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy.

Years and many scientific advances later, Richard was selected for a clinical trial and was the recipient of an islet cell transplant, which changed his life forever.

“That transplant changed everything,” Richard said. “It allowed me to do all the things that I had hoped to do as a young man. I ended up getting a great job with the fire department, I was able to marry a beautiful woman and have two beautiful kids…none of that would have been possible without my transplant. I wouldn’t be around today.”

The Gurwitz family truly created a legacy when they helped establish the DRI Foundation and participated directly in the research, but their support didn’t stop there. In order to ensure that critical funding of diabetes research continues into the future, both Lorrie and Richard made provisions for the Foundation in their estate plans.

“I wanted to make a bequest to the DRI Foundation in honor of the five founding families,” said Lorrie. “I asked that the funds be designated to support the islet cell transplant program, in gratitude for everything they did for Richard.”

Sadly, Lorrie passed away in 2018, but the impact she had on the DRI will always be remembered.

“When my parents were working so hard to help create the DRI, I bet they couldn’t have imagined that the research would benefit me so directly. I’m living proof that this research works.”

To learn more about how to leave a legacy, visit DRI.GiftPlans.org or call 1-800-321-3437.

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