October 31, 2019
Carol and Larry Hagan are strong believers in giving back to the community.
As parents of two children – one of whom has a chronic illness – and JDRF supporters for more than two decades, getting involved to help make a difference has always been the Vancouver couple’s motto.
In 1996, their son, Thomas, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of six. Although the news was devastating and forced the family to adapt to the demands of a relentless condition, the Hagans remained focused and devoted much effort to ensuring that their active son continued to play sports and build resilience in spite of his daily challenges.
After seeing a JDRF poster in the window of her neighbourhood pharmacy a few months later, Carol’s interest was piqued and she reached out to the organization’s national office in Toronto to inquire about volunteering. JDRF did not have a Vancouver chapter at the time, but Carol decided to lend a hand after the new office opened its doors in the province. Soon she was busily engaged in marketing, whereby she was in regular contact with local corporations and hospitals to raise awareness for JDRF. As well, Carol also founded a support group for families of children with T1D.
“Getting involved allowed me to meet and receive support from other people who not only understood what life with a chronic illness is, but also how frightening it can be,” relates Carol. “As parents, we helped each other both emotionally and practically, and often provided a much-needed break to one another.”
Throughout their journey with T1D, the Hagans became steadfast in their commitment to finding a cure for the disease. Rallying both loved ones and friends, they recruited numerous families for JDRF’s annual Walk while personally fundraising for the cause. Carol also played a key role in the Vancouver chapter’s annual gala. When the idea of a formal social event was put forward in 2000, the Rockin’ for Research Gala was born, with $65,000 raised for JDRF. Carol then went on to accept a voluntary position with the organizing committee where she oversaw every detail of the planning and headed the gala’s live and silent auctions.
Today, the Hagans are members of JDRF’s BETA’s Society. They also use flow-through shares as a giving vehicle, which allows them to better support JDRF while simultaneously promoting the Canadian resource sector. This type of financing is a seamless, easy and efficient turnkey service that lowers major gift donors’ after-tax cost of donation without market risk.
Asked what continues to inspire their incredible generosity, both husband and wife agree that JDRF represents hope for a future without T1D.
“We know that it is funding some of the best diabetes research in the world and is extremely committed to bringing industry and government together to get the maximum return on investment,” says Carol. “A cure would mean a dream come true and has been our goal since we first got involved (with JDRF).”
In the meantime, the couple encourages everyone to do what they can to support the charity.
“We have always tried to be role models in our city,” Carol says. “Every gesture – be it big or small – is cumulative and can bring us closer to finding a cure.”
Adds Larry, “We have been very fortunate to have been able to help JDRF. Our involvement has made us more grateful for our health and more sensitive to people’s different afflictions. It also showed our kids that if you have a problem, you get involved and help solve it.”
For more informative articles on health and type 1 diabetes, visit our JDRF Blog.