Hollywood, FL (June, 2003) -– The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF), the 501(c)(3) non-profit diabetes organization whose sole mission is to support the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami, has received a $1 million gift from Deborah and William J. Rand, M.D., the founder and director of the Rand Eye Institute in Pompano Beach, Florida.
The generous couple has been a major contributor to the diabetes research foundation since first becoming involved with the organization almost two decades ago, when their son David, 19, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
The Rands were introduced to the DRI in 1985, when they attended the DRI Foundation’s Love and Hope Ball, an annual fundraising gala still in existence today, and immediately felt a connection with those involved.
“I loved the fact that each and every person we met was totally committed to the diabetes organization and its mission. Here were a group of parents of children with diabetes, just like us, who were willing to stop at nothing to find a cure for this disease,” shared Mrs. Rand. “The progress the DRI has made in a relatively short amount of time has been nothing short of incredible. Over the years, whatever the organization needed from us we would give to them. At this time, we know that our support is even more critical so that research can continue to move forward.”
Dr. Rand, who has served on the Foundation’s board of directors since 1990, feels strongly that it is only with increased financial support that the DRI will be able to cure his son and millions of others with diabetes.
“We have worked very hard to get to the point where we are today, and now we see that the fruits of our labor are just around the corner,” he said, referring to the DRI’s recent success with its clinical islet transplantation trials, which have allowed a number of patients to become insulin independent for the first time since being diagnosed with the disease.
“Debbie and I hope that by doing whatever we can to support the DRI, we will inspire others to do the same. It’s not just a matter of time, but, more accurately, a matter of money. You can almost put a price tag on how much it will cost to cure diabetes, and that’s why we felt it was the right time to make this gift. If we all put in the maximum effort, we can cut the time in half that it will take to make diabetes a disease of the past.” Dr. Rand has been involved in the political aspects of health care reform, providing advice for Senators and Congressmen. “A cure for diabetes will mean instant health care reform,” says Dr. Rand. “It will mean the savings of hundreds of billions of dollars.”
The Diabetes Research Institute is a recognized world leader in cure-focused research. Pioneering new technologies in islet cell transplantation since the early 1970’s, the DRI has successfully reversed diabetes in patients involved in ongoing clinical trials. The most comprehensive diabetes research facility of its kind, the DRI conducts a broad range of scientific programs focused on the rapidly evolving fields of gene therapy, pancreatic stem cell development, molecular biology and transplant immunology, among others, to speed the most promising findings from the lab to the patient. For the millions of families affected by diabetes who are looking to the world of science for answers, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure.
Lori Weintraub, APR