So spoke the rabbi presiding over the funeral of Carol Lurie, a founder of JDRF. And what this great lady did reached beyond borders, politics, and religion. Her remarkable efforts continue to touch millions of lives and impact the landscape of type 1 diabetes (T1D) research.
Carol Lurie died on February 15, 2013, at age 84. She was the mother of two sons, James and Stephen. At age 10, Stephen was diagnosed with T1D. What Carol did—what she is so lovingly remembered for—was for her son. Her life’s work was for her son—and for all the sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and fathers and mothers who have been touched by T1D.
Carol and her husband Erwin, founders with Lee Ducat and a select few passionate parents, launched JDRF in 1970. From then on, Carol and Erwin played a vital part in JDRF and its contributions to T1D research. They offered sustaining motivation, guidance, and support in their tireless work at the chapter, national, and international levels.
“Carol was a continual inspiration to me first as a volunteer at the New York City Chapter and now as the CEO of the organization,” says Jeffrey Brewer, president and CEO of JDRF and the father of a son with T1D. “Her dedication and perseverance over 43 years have motivated me to continue giving everything I can in support of JDRF’s mission.”
At Carol’s memorial service, those in attendance heard loving, inspiring, and often-humorous tributes from her family and friends. Her grandson recounted wondering what to call his grandmother once she had been knighted as part of the honor she received from Denmark’s queen. A longtime JDRF volunteer remarked that Carol was capable of locking a room filled with potential donors and sequestering them until her goal was met for JDRF. Even—according to legend—if a Congressman was in the room!
Carol was the inspiration behind three of JDRF’s International Conferences on Diabetes Research, held in 1985, 1988, and 1992 and co-sponsored by the World Health Organization. In October 1994, Carol was honored by the Queen of Denmark and received Her Majesty’s distinguished Order of the Dannebrog for her efforts on behalf of diabetes research. She was also appointed to the New York State Council on Diabetes in 1988. In the early 1980s, both Carol and Erwin served on advisory boards for the National Institutes of Health—Erwin on the board of the National Eye Institute and Carol on the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s board.
For now and for always, Carol will be remembered for what she did. What began with a mother’s love and her desire to lessen the burden of a life-threatening disease for her son grew into a global organization—JDRF.
Our promise to Carol, and to all those who are touched by T1D, is as strong today as it was when she founded this organization 43 years ago. JDRF will not rest until there is a world without diabetes. We will miss Carol—our true champion.
-Susan Learner Barr
To hear Carol’s story in her own words, click here.