During the holiday season, the American Diabetes Association® encourages people to share their story on why they give to our mission. Whether it’s through local events, planned giving, one-time donations or in memory of a loved one, these gifts go a long way in helping us save lives and continue the search for a cure.
The following are stories from our generous supporters and organizations that have donated or fundraised on our behalf throughout the years.
My name is George “Stoney” Pavlik and I have had a long-lasting relationship with diabetes and the American Diabetes Association.
At the age of 7, my daughter Audra was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As her condition deteriorated throughout her college years, she had kidney failure. Although I donated a kidney to her on her 26th birthday to extend her life, she passed away from long-term complications in 2012 at the age of 34.
After Audra developed diabetes, she and I were invited to participate in an Association publication. She was the cover girl of the 1986 edition of “Children with Diabetes” and photographed many times for other Association publications. This was our first of many experiences with the Association.
Later, I became an active member of—and am now serving as a current international officer (Supreme Royal Patron) in—the Order of the Amaranth, a Masonic-affiliated organization whose philanthropic project is the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation (ADARF). Having served earlier as President of the Amaranth Diabetes Foundation (ADF), I have worked closely with the Association with our fundraising efforts and the administration of the funds raised by the ADF for the ADARF. Our support has amounted to nearly $15 million since 1979. This is truly an amazing accomplishment.
As President of the ADF Board, I attended the Association’s 73rd Scientific Sessions conference in 2013, in Chicago, and saw first-hand the remarkable assembly of researchers from across the world working to find the cures for diabetes. It was an honor meeting with the researchers that our contributions have supported and exciting to see several of them at their research facilities.
I hope my story can inspire others to help support the Association’s research programs. The rise of diabetes diagnoses is destined to become a medical tsunami. I call diabetes a “gateway disease” because it opens the door to such a wide variety of life-threatening complications. This is why we need to solve the riddle very soon. What individuals with diabetes used to brush aside as “a little bit of sugar” has to be recognized as “a whole lot of trouble.” If diabetes overcomes our medical community, we are all in trouble.
Children are the focus of this holiday season. With the current rise in the number of children being diagnosed with diabetes so early in life, would not a cure for diabetes be the gift of life for a child who is at risk? My daughter spent her seventh Christmas in the hospital, being diagnosed with diabetes! I know the heartbreak of a parent of a child who suffers with diabetes, and I want to spare this experience for others. I still cry over her loss.
As a result of my daughter’s experiences and my involvement with the Association, I along with all of the members of the Order of the Amaranth continue our dedication to help fund research programs. Through our fundraising and information-sharing we are dedicated to finding the cure for diabetes so that others may be saved from the ravages of this disease.
We hope you’re inspired by George’s story as much as we are. Please take a moment now to make a generous year-end gift to change the future of diabetes. Your donation, no matter what size, will help us fund cutting-edge research and also allow us to advocate for billions of dollars of federal government research and provide community-based programs to help people across the U.S. live healthier lives today.
Visit diabetes.org/donate to help make a difference.