There is no harder working retiree in southeast Michigan than Marvin Daitch. He says, “I’m ‘retired,’ with JDRF as my full-time job.” When he met his wife, Lauren, and her son, Josh, nearly 20 years ago, Marvin was also introduced to type 1 diabetes (T1D), an event that would map a new course for his life. Now, having served a second year as president of the Board of Directors of JDRF’s Metro Detroit/Southeast Michigan Chapter, Marvin has found a new calling in a place he never expected.
Josh was nine years old when he was diagnosed with T1D. Marvin met him at age 11, and he was impressed at how this young person was so strong and able to manage such an “insidious” disease. Now 31 years old, newly married and with a career in real estate, Josh continues to inspire Marvin to get the word out about T1D. The best way he knew how to help his stepson was to draw upon his own professional background. A successful and well-respected businessman in his community, Marvin has run a chain of drugstores and worked in commercial mortgage banking. This experience would become invaluable in his work for JDRF.
Equipped with his sharp business skills and professional acumen, Marvin set out to improve the chapter’s marketing, promote the JDRF mission, and make people more aware of the realities of T1D. He says, “Public awareness will generate funds, which will support research, which will eventually find that cure.” Under his leadership, the chapter has formed a public relations program, and they have already gained television spots and public service announcements. The chapter then approached a local meteorologist who has T1D, and encouraged him to tell his story and promote the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes on his news station. The broadcast raised awareness of a little-known statistic—that 85 percent of people living with T1D are adults. The efforts Marvin led resulted in excellent promotion for the Ann Arbor/Dexter Walk to Cure Diabetes.
But Marvin has only just begun. He was recently appointed to the Development Committee of JDRF and continues to work hard while in retirement. Jim Slaughter, regional director of JDRF Midwest Region, says, “Marv works nonstop for JDRF. There isn’t a time or moment when he isn’t thinking about JDRF and finding a cure.” He plans to continue increasing public awareness about JDRF and T1D. He knows that he can’t do it alone, and so he works hard to create a solid team at his chapter. Stuart Robbins, a fellow board member, says, “His sensitivity and experience as a manager make collaboration one of his greatest strengths.” Marvin is also keenly aware that an open forum of ideas where people are free to challenge each other will lead to the best results. He says, “Whatever success I’ve had as a volunteer with JDRF is not just attributable to me, but to a great JDRF staff and fantastic volunteers.”