Empathy in the business world is
underrated. We’re big believers that if you’ve been lucky and have received a
lot, you should spread the generosity. That’s
why, in 2015, we decided to pay it forward, continually—with the launch of
#VBGIVESBACK, the philanthropic arm of Veronica Beard, in support of women who
make a difference in the world.
Back in in July, we introduced you to our #VBGIVESBACK woman of the quarter,
Sarah Alter, and her philanthropic
passion, JDRF, the leading global organization
funding type one diabetes (T1D) research.
As we continue our support for JDRF, we’re highlighting the stories of three incredible women whose work and fight against Type 1 diabetes has inspired us all. Read more about their remarkable journeys here.
What is your personal story/connection with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)? My brother was first diagnosed the year that I turned 7 years old. Prior to his diagnosis we were only aware of our Uncle John who also had the disease. I grew up sharing his limitations and awareness for the disease. 24 years later, my daughter was diagnosed at the age of 3. My Brother became her #1 supporter/cheerleader and my experience with him enabled me to hit the ground running. We have since lost both my Uncle and recently, this year, my brother to T1D and our purpose has been elevated. T1D has affected 3 generations and we are determined to ensure that we lessen its impact on future generations.
What brought you to JDRF?
JDRF came to us, when we were in the hospital with our daughter,
they brought a bag of hope and introduced me to their platform on which they
made room for me to stand upon and spread awareness while advocating for
resources and support.
What do you love about what you do with the group?
I love the networking and relationships that I have made with
other #T1D families, I love the learning opportunities and
the solidarity we all have in the mission towards advancements, cures and
increased support for those living with T1D.
Could you share some of the work you've done?
We have organized walk teams and participated in the One Walks, we
have joined JDRF in visits to Corporate Partners to share our story, we have
shared our story at the JDRF Luncheon, we were able to travel to Washington DC
to represent Texas with Nadia who was a Junior Delegate who knocked on doors
and spoke to congress about renewing the Special Diabetes Program and what it
would mean to her and countless others. I, personally, raised money and
finished the NYC Marathon 2 years in a row with Team JDRF and am signed up to
do so again.
What's your single most memorable moment with the organization?
My most memorable moment was visiting DC and attending a Partner
event where I witnessed the President of the organization get up and speak on
his personal experiences with T1D. I was able to relate to his shared
experience of growing up with his brother who also has T1D. He highlighted the
psychological impacts that the disease has on those who live with it and having
watched my brother struggle, not only physically but mentally, I could very
much relate to every word. I was SO thankful to know that the organization was
being led by someone with first-hand knowledge, experience from not only living
with the disease but also having an educational and professional background in
science. That filled me with so much hope and confirmed that JDRF endeavors to
do the RIGHT thing for the RIGHT reasons for people like my brother and
What brought you to JDRF? As a pediatric diabetologist, I first became aware of the JDRF as a major funding organization, one that made possible much of the important work being done in the field of type 1 diabetes research. However, it was seeing the foundation's profound impact on the lives of the families in my care that made me want to support the organization in any way I could.
What do you love
about what you do with the group?
works tirelessly on behalf of people living with type 1 diabetes, and I
have been delighted to be part of some of their educational initiatives
in forums that have ranged from intimate gatherings to large
webcasts. All these events have allowed me to spend time hearing from
people with diabetes and their loved ones, giving me more insight into the
challenges they face.
Could you share
some of the work you've done?
Over the years, I
have been involved in the JDRF as a recipient of research funding, a speaker at
a number of Type One Nation Summits, a Sponsor and Team Captain
at NYC/Long Island Chapter JDRF One Walks, a guest on
JDRF Facebook Live and Twitch Events, and most recently a member of
the NYC Long Island Chapter Medical Advisory Council.
single most memorable moment with the organization?
Over almost two
decades of working with the JDRF, there have been countless memorable
moments. I think the ones that stand out
most are meeting the families from my own
practice at JDRF events. I hadn't expected my participation to
be so meaningful to my patients, and I am always moved by their
reactions. I hope it helps them know how much I want them to be able to live
well with this diagnosis, and to ultimately help them find a cure.
What brought you to JDRF? Our daughter and first child, Merrill, was diagnosed with type one diabetes (T1D) at 15 months old. We were shocked, terrified, and completely overwhelmed. We were learning how to be new parents on top of managing a chronic illness in a baby. We needed help and we needed to find other people like us. That is where JDRF came in. I wanted to do something to help cure diabetes and with one quick search, I found an organization called JDRF that was hosting the Walk To Cure Diabetes across the Brooklyn Bridge in just three short months. Or family created a team, gathered friends and loved ones, we raised funds, and we walked 7 miles with the goal of raising money critical to supporting research and spreading awareness of this disease. I met so many families with young (and old!) children and we finally felt part of a diabetes family.
What do you love about what you do with the
My favorite part
of working with JDRF is meeting with parents of newly diagnosed children. When
a family gets this diagnosis, it is extremely traumatic. Life as you knew it is
over and what seems to lie ahead is a scary out of control rollercoaster.
After just one meeting telling these families my story and answering
their questions, I can see relief come across their face. Knowing that life
will be a new normal, but a completely manageable life is the greatest gift to
give these families. Every meeting I have is the beginning of a new friendship
that never dissolves.
Work I’ve done:
I have held many
roles at JDRF. I have been Walk Chair, Nominating Chair, NYC Events Executive
Committee member, Promise Ball Committee, President of the NYC and LI Chapter,
and I was the Family Chair of the Children’s Congress which I will talk
more about in the next question. I have completed Marathons and 100-mile bike
rides for JDRF. My family started our walk team “Punkin’s Peeps” named for our
daughter (who we nicknamed Pumpkin, but she mispronounced her own name as Punkin).
Our walk team was hugely successful and walked for ten years raising over $1m.
Single most memorable moment…
I had the honor of being asked to be the Family Chair for Children's Congress 2019 (CC19). CC19 is an event that JDRF hosts every 2 years in Washington DC. JDRF brings kids from across the US and international countries to DC to meet with their senators, representatives and embassies to lobby, advocate, and get support on important medical research and bills. Children ages 4-18 apply to be a delegate, and JDRF chooses about 160 of the thousands of applications. My own daughter was selected when she was 6, and I was so fortunate to attend again with her as "Chair Kid” as a teenager now. Seeing these fantastic, talented, brave and outspoken kids speak to important leaders in our country about highly personal and critical decisions that affect their welfare was inspiring to say the least. I watched a 4-year-old testify in front of a diabetes caucus of leading members of Congress while on live television, followed by another child who was also hearing impaired with diabetes who used sign language to convey his needs. My daughter found her voice in DC and felt heard and felt powerful for the first time in her young life. I will never forget that experience. Those kids played a huge role in helping the Special Diabetes Project (SDP), which funds millions of dollars to diabetes cure research, get renewed.