DRI and Foundation News

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.

The Simkins FamilyOver 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. Leon made a series of transformative donations in the millions of dollars, and to honor his extraordinary generosity, the Institute’s research tower bears his name. Kathy, who lost her brother at an early age to diabetes complications, is National Chairman of Love and Hope and also served on the DRI Foundation’s National Board of Directors.

In the earliest days, they graciously hosted the annual Love and Hope Underwriting Party (later called the Preview Party) in their gorgeous Miami Beach home. And the intimate affairs are still remembered fondly today.

“It was such a special evening, but it wasn’t just one night. The ladies of the Love and Hope Committee would come to our house for a week before the event to wrap napkins and chairs with beautiful decorations,” recalled Michelle Rubell, the daughter of Kathy and Leon. “My mom would cook for the group, and it was all very personal. Experiencing that as a child was so valuable to me and to all of us.”

“Finding a cure for diabetes always was and continues to be very important to me,” Kathy explained. “We’ve been working at this for so many years, and I am so proud that my family is continuing the legacy that we started.”

The children literally grew up with Love and Hope, and as they got older, they joined Kathy, Leon, and his wife, Serena, by getting actively involved in the mission to cure diabetes. Michelle is on the Love and Hope Executive Committee, as well as the Young Society of Love and Hope Committee, along with her husband, Jason Rubell, Nikki and Michael, David, Ron and Amira, and Albert Simkins.

“We were inspired by the example they set,” Michelle continued. “Thinking about the years of their lives that they dedicated to this and the substantial amount of money they raised for the DRI—it was an incredible thing for us to witness. We all wanted to emulate that.”

Today, Michelle and Jason are doing just that. Earlier this year, they hosted a beautiful dinner for the Love and Hope sponsors in their home, and they plan to do much more moving ahead. “We are extremely committed to helping the DRI find a cure for diabetes.”

According to Kathy, “We look forward to the day when we can all celebrate the cure!”

The Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation wish to thank the entire Simkins family for their ongoing and tireless commitment.

(PICTURED: Serena Simkins, Michelle and Jason Rubell, Michael and Nikki Simkins, Ron and Amira Simkins, Kathy Simkins and Stephen Alger)

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