Brenda Novak’s 5th Annual Event Raises Record $270,000 for the Diabetes Research Institute

Brenda Novak and her husband, Ted, present a check to DRIF President and CEO Robert A. Pearlman and DRI Scientific Director Dr. Camillo Ricordi.

Hollywood, FL (June 16, 2009) –- It’s said records are made to be broken, and for New York Times best selling author Brenda Novak, setting a new online fundraising record with her annual online auction that raises money for diabetes research is truly a milestone to cherish.

In what most fundraisers and charities agree is the most difficult fundraising climate in memory, Brenda’s 5th Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research produced a record $270,000, eclipsing 2008’s high of $252,000. The money raised from the diabetes auction will benefit the cure-focused work of the Diabetes Research Institute, which has become the sole beneficiary of the event. Her youngest son, Thad, has type 1 diabetes.

Brenda’s extraordinary effort has grown from a one-person show, raising just over $33,000 in its first year, to an effort that’s now raised more than three-quarters of a million dollars in its first five years.

Brenda met with Dr. Ricordi and other scientists on her recent tour of the Diabetes Research Institute.

“I’m thrilled with the auction results of this year’s diabetes auction and comforted to know that the DRI will be able to put the money to good use in advancing their research toward a cure,” said Brenda.

“In a market where most fundraisers are down by 30% at a minimum, we set a new record and I couldn’t have done it without the outpouring of support I’ve received from friends, fans, publishing associates and advocates. I owe them my deepest gratitude.”

In the previous four years the diabetes online auction has generated tremendous interest, due in large part to the participation of some of the most famous and prolific authors in the country today and this year was no exception. As was the case in 2008, the 2009 auction site saw hundreds of thousands of hits and thousands of visitors, and this year’s collection of prizes resulted in frenzied bidding.

Among the most sought after auction items were lunch with international bestseller Barry Eisler, tea with New York Times bestseller Debbie Macomber and a stay at famed author Nora Robert’s Inn.

A bonus this year was that soon after the conclusion of this year’s Online Auction for Diabetes Research, Brenda and her husband, Ted, were able to visit and tour the DRI. Both had the chance to meet Scientific Director Dr. Camillo Ricordi and the other researchers who are at the forefront of the search for a cure.

“Touring the DRI was an amazing experience! It was so gratifying to see how the money I’m raising is being used,” said Brenda.

“It made me feel as if we are making tremendous strides toward a cure and reassured me that the Diabetes Research Institute is the best place to donate the money. Going to the DRI enabled me to assure my son that we will see a cure someday–and made me confident that it will be someday soon.”

“What Brenda’s done year after year with the diabetes online auction is incredible and what she accomplished this year with the economy the way it is is just extraordinary,” said Robert A. Pearlman, president and CEO of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. “We’re truly honored that she has chosen the Diabetes Research Institute as the sole beneficiary of her efforts and recognized our scientists, their work and our programs to put her muscle behind as we join together to find a cure for her son and the millions of others like him.”

In recognition of the Novak family’s efforts and support, the DRI will be naming a special room in honor of their son Thad.

About Brenda Novak

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career. “I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says.

“It was then that I decided I needed to do something from home.” However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a creative bone in her body. In school, math and science were her best subjects, and when it came time to pick a major in college, she chose business. Abandoning her academic scholarship to Brigham Young University at the age of 20 in order to get married and start a family, Brenda dabbled in commercial real estate, then became a loan officer.

“When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book,” Brenda admits. “I learned how to write by reading what others have written. The best advice for any would-be author: read, read, read….”

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. She’s hit various national bestseller lists, including Borders/Waldenbooks and The New York Times, and many of her novels have won or placed in contests such as the National Reader’s Choice and the Bookseller’s Best. She has three novels coming out this year: THE PERFECT COUPLE, THE PERFECT LIAR and THE PERFECT MURDER (August, September and October).

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children — three girls and two boys. She juggles her writing career with her children’s basketball and soccer games, field trips, carpool runs and homework sessions.

When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes research—an online auction held at her web site May 1 – May 31. Her youngest son, Thad, has diabetes, and Brenda is determined to help him and others like him. She also enjoys traveling, watching sporting events and biking—she rides an amazing 20 miles every day!

About the Diabetes Research Institute

The mission of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now. The Diabetes Research Institute, a center of excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is a recognized world leader in cure-focused research. Since its inception in the early 1970s, the DRI has made significant contributions to the field of diabetes research, pioneering many of the techniques used in islet transplantation. The DRI is now building upon these achievements by bridging cell-based therapies with emerging technologies to restore insulin production. For the millions of families already affected by diabetes, the Diabetes Research Institute is the best hope for a cure.

Media Contact:
Lauren Schreier

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