Lindsey (von Weller) Kovaleski remembers vividly the day she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. That day was September 25th, 1993.
Just shy of her 13th birthday, Lindsey was suddenly faced with a very adult problem. She was diagnosed with a disease she would have to manage for the rest of her life. At 12-years-old she learned how to manage her blood sugar levels. She then navigated the ups and downs of T1D through the emotional teen years, followed by stressful college days and then motherhood.
Now married, with two little girls of her own, Lindsey and her family do not want them, or any other children, to have to live with diabetes.
“It’s scary. It’s something you don’t want to happen to you, your child, or your grandchildren, said Lindsey’s father, Butch von Weller.
That’s why the von Weller family felt the urgent need to help. They started the von Weller Endowment to fund groundbreaking research at the Translational Research Institute. The von Weller gift created an endowed chair that enables AdventHealth to attract and retain the best researchers in the world and provides a permanent, stable source of program and research funding.
Dr. Anna Casu is the first von Weller Endowed Chair, bringing 20 years of experience and groundbreaking research to the TRI team. Along with her endocrinology and transplant background, Dr. Casu brings with her a unique perspective. She was also diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as a child.
“It’s very important to me that Anna had Type 1 Diabetes and understands personally what these children and adults are dealing with,” said von Weller.
Endowed chairs are critical to the TRI mission to help support patient care, research, and education programs. In addition, the financial gift lives in perpetuity as testaments to the dedication of families like the von Weller’s to help to find a cure.
“Hope. That’s what we believe the work at the Translational Research Institute gives those living with Type 1 Diabetes. Hope that their children and grandchildren will never have to grow up living with this disease,” said von Weller.
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