Miami, FL (August, 2002) — The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation has recently received two substantial gifts in support of the cure-focused research at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University of Miami. The two contributions, an initial gift from Dr. Denise R. and Thomas D. Stern and an additional gift from the Stacy Joy Goodman Memorial Foundation, total $1 million dollars each. In both cases, diabetes has affected the lives of the donors.
The Sterns became involved with the DRI after their 22-month old daughter, Samantha, was diagnosed with this devastating disease. Their search for information led them to long-time family friend Wendy Rapaport, L.C.W., Psy.D., who has also served as a professor of medicine and psychology at the DRI for several decades. As the Sterns became adjusted to the daily demands of diabetes, they discovered that the DRI was the research facility at the forefront of islet cell transplantation, in which insulin-producing cells of a donor pancreas are transplanted into those with diabetes.
“Scientists have figured out how to isolate and implant these cells, and we now know that islet transplantation works. However, this isn’t going to become a widely used procedure until we solve the problems of immunosuppression and supply — and that requires funding,” said Tom, who serves as chairman of the Foundation’s New York City board.
With finding a cure for their daughter a top priority, the Sterns have made a $1 million gift to support these vital research areas. In recognition of their generosity, the Dr. Denise R. and Thomas D. Stern Fast Track Center bears their name.
Like the Sterns, Marc and Esther Goodman dealt with the shock of a diabetes diagnosis when their daughter, Stacy, had turned four. Tragically, at age 17, Stacy went to bed one night and never woke up after suffering a severe hypoglycemic reaction. Two weeks later, the Goodmans embarked on a mission to keep her memory alive and established the Stacy Joy Goodman Memorial Foundation with the purpose of funding research to cure diabetes.
After visiting the DRI in 1998, they felt they had found a facility worthy of their support. “The DRI was everything that I imagined…It is what Stacy is all about. If she had been alive, this is a place she would have loved, too,” said Marc.
Soon after, the Goodmans, together with the other foundation board members, agreed to establish the Stacy Joy Goodman Chair in Diabetes Research to provide funding for a scientist whose life’s work is dedicated to research toward a cure for diabetes, particularly through biological replacement strategies. Upon their recommendation, DRI Scientific Director Dr. Camillo Ricordi was appointed the first recipient of this distinguished title.
Over the years, they have remained greatly encouraged by the DRI’s research, the quality of its scientists, and its continued focus on finding a cure. The Goodmans themselves have become increasingly more involved with the work of the DRIF, prompting the Board of the Stacy Joy Goodman Memorial Foundation to make an additional $1 million dollar gift to support the Institute’s research.
“We believe that we are close to finding a cure and that the DRI will be one of the leaders getting us there,” said Marc, who serves as vice chairman and chief executive officer of the DRI Foundation’s board of directors.
The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine is a world leader in cure-focused research. Pioneering new technologies in islet cell transplantation since 1971, the DRI continues to develop ways to speed promising findings from the lab to the patient. For the millions of families looking to the world of science for answers, the Diabetes Research Institute is quickly becoming the best hope for a cure.