Meet Some DRI Supporters

DRI Diplomat Richelleng Ramirez Pieruccini

Supporter Spotlight: Richelleng Ramirez Pieruccini

The Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation are proud to recognize Richelleng Ramirez Pieruccini, who received the Youth Volunteer of the Year award from the HandsOn River Region of Montgomery, AL. Richelleng, 14, a DRI Diplomat, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 8, but she doesn’t let that stop her from accomplishing her goals!

Lorrie Ann Knowles and Richard Gurwtiz

Finishing What They Started

When 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 Simkins Family

The Simkins Family: Committed to a Cure

With deep South Florida roots that span decades, the Simkins family is well known in the community for their philanthropic endeavors and more. Without doubt, their name is synonymous with Love and Hope and the Diabetes Research Institute. Over the course of 40 years, Kathy Simkins and the late Leon J. Simkins were extremely instrumental in ensuring the forward momentum of the DRI’s cure-focused work.


John Carrion

DRI Foundation Board Spotlight: John Carrion

John Carrion, who has served as a DRIF board member since 2004, was recently appointed to the position of Northeast Region Board Chairman. He is a Portfolio Manager for Millennium Capital Partners and, prior to that, was Managing Director at Deutsche Bank and Director at JPMorgan Chase in New York City. He and his wife, Debra Carrion, have identical twin boys, Jake and Michael, who are now 20 years old. At the age of 4, Jake was diagnosed with T1D.


Tomsula 286The Tomsula Family Helps the DRI Tackle Autoimmune Research Head On

Bear Tomsula is not your typical 10-year-old. Similar to other fifth grade boys, he’s into sports like golf and baseball; and his favorite subject in school is science. What sets him apart, however, is his deep desire to help other people and a maturity that came with a type 1 diabetes diagnosis when he was 7.

HatzDRI Foundation Board Spotlight: Barbara Hatz

Barbara Hatz is a longtime, impactful member of the DRI family. For more than two decades, Barbara has motivated others, encouraged people to give their best and offered unwavering support to parents of children with type 1 diabetes.


DRI supporter Izabel Goulart shows "Love" for the DRI through Elbi Izabel Goulart Shows "Love" for DRI Through Charitable Giving App Elbi

Supermodel Izabel Goulart posted a video on the newly relaunched charitable giving app Elbi in support of her favorite cause, the Diabetes Research Institute. Goulart has been involved with the DRI since 2009 to help find a cure for her brother, who was diagnosed with T1D at age one.


Love and Hope Executive Chairman and DRI Foundation Board Member Sandra Levy DRI Foundation Board Spotlight: Sandra Levy

Every year like clockwork, Sandra Levy rallies her Love and Hope Committee for another fundraising season solely dedicated to helping the Diabetes Research Institute reach a cure. This has been her tradition for more than four decades, and a true labor of love.



DRI supporters Lindsey Inserra-Hughes and Bonnie InserraA Special Thank You to Inserra Supermarkets

Inserra Supermarkets is recognized by customers and communities in the Northeast as the local, family-owned supermarket company dedicated to supporting national research and community organizations - and especially the Diabetes Research Institute.



DRI supporters Michael Baker and Samantha Shanken BakerDRI Foundation Board Spotlight: Samantha Shanken Baker

Samantha Shanken Baker, a longtime supporter of the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation, describes herself as the "luckiest girl in the world." Living with type 1 diabetes for nearly 30 years, she recently received a successful kidney transplant - remarkably from her husband. 



North America's Building Trades Unions reiterated their additional $6 million commitment to the DRINorth America's Building Trades Unions' Continued Support

To date, the men and women of North America's Building Trades Unions have raised more than $53 million for the DRI. At the 2017 Legislative Conference, NABTU President Sean McGarvey reiterated their ongoing commitment to raise an additional $6 million.



Raj Hirani, Ph.D., is director of regulatory affairs at the Diabetes Research InstituteUnder the Microscope with Khemraj "Raj" Hirani, Ph.D.

To help navigate the regulatory roadmap of clinical trials, DRI scientists turn to Raj Hirani, Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance, and his team. In addition to helping his colleagues, Dr. Hirani wants to help find a cure for his son, who has type 1 diabetes.



The Elbaz family Making a Difference in the Search for a Cure

"That was the day our life changed," Florence Elbaz said of August 18, 2016 - the day her youngest daugther was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes...Luckily they quickly found support in another family at Chiara's school. 



DRI supporters Bruce and Rachel SiegelPlanning on a Cure

Bruce and Rachel Siegel of New York City are both passionate about the Diabetes Research Institute - an organization they believe will discover a cure for diabetes. Their daughter, Sara, 32, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 4.



DRI supporters the MacMaster familyOne Family's Fight Against Diabetes

The MacMaster family is on the offensive. Laser-focused on a biological cure, the family has directly targeted diabetes - a disease that began waging war on them long ago. Fran was diagnosed type 1 diabetes at age 10. And then her worst fears became reality when two of her four children got the disease as well.



Jeanine Forman-Ham is creating a legacy for the DRIPassionate About a Cure and Planning for the Future

A child's diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is devastating for parents - even when that child is a grown adult. Jeanine Forman-Ham can attest to that. Her son, David Hayes, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1994 at the age of 30. 



DRI supporters Roberta and Bruce Waller and Wendy WallerA Family That Gives Together

The Waller family is determined to make an impact in the search for a cure. Their involvement with the Diabetes Research Institute dates back to 1989 when Roberta and Bruce Waller's daughter, Dara Melnick, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.



DRI supporters the Gandini familyConnected Through the Internet, United by a Common Goal

Ever since their 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Paola and Piero Gandini of Italy have been engrossed in the search for a cure - a journey that led them across the Atlantic to the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami.



DRI supporters Bruce Fishbein and Don StrockDRI Foundation Board Spotlight: Bruce Fishbein and Don Strock

Over the last 32 years, Florida board members and longtime friends Bruce Fishbein and Don Strock have built a strong partnership along with one of the area's longest-running celebrity/amateur golf tournaments - raising approximately $3 million for the DRI.



DRI supporter Foundation for Diabetes ResearchNew Jersey's Foundation for Diabetes Research: A Force Within the Community

The parents, families, and individuals involved in the Foundation for Diabetes Research (FDR) have joined forces to battle a menacing threat - type 1 diabetes. Method of attack: Granting research dollars to projects focused on finding a cure for their children and millions more.



DRI supporters the Luebs family DRI Foundation Board Spotlight: John Luebs

Those who know John 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, together with his wife, Fran, committed themselves to supporting the Diabetes Research Institute to find a cure for their eldest daughter, Maggie.



DRI Supporters Rick and Margarita TonkinsonCertified Financial Planner® Rick Tonkinson Makes a Bequest of His Own

With over 25 years of experience in wealth management, Rick Tonkinson understands planned giving. Rick has continued to demonstrate his business savvy, kindness and passion for the Diabetes Research Institute, especially after discovering he has diabetes.



DRI supporters Crystal Blaylock and sons Cameron and MatthewDRI Foundation Board Spotlight: Crystal Blaylock

Crystal Blaylock wears many hats - head of a family-owned business and a major, annual fundraising event, plus mother to two boys, Cameron and Matthew. Perhaps the most important and challenging job she handles is "backup pancreas" for Matthew, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2005. 



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