September 11, 2019
The first few months after Mirella Gallo’s 11-year-old daughter, Isabella, received a type 1 diabetes (T1D) diagnosis were very hard for her. “We were in shock and had no idea what it meant for her or our family”. With the support of Isabella’s nurses and doctors, the family learned how T1D would impact her day-to-day routine and her future. “We came to the realization that my daughter’s life would never be the same and that until a cure was found, she would be insulin dependent,” says Mirella.
Managing type 1 diabetes can be an isolating experience for everyone involved, but a supportive family can help alleviate these feelings, and the Gallos saw their family come together at the York Region Sun Life Ride to Defeat Diabetes for JDRF.
“When I was made aware of the event and how funds raised can help support research for type 1 diabetes, I immediately knew that I needed to do my part,” says Mirella. It took no time at all for Maurizio Marini, Mirella’s brother, to join in the fight for a cure.“[Isabella’s diagnosis] played a large part in my desire to take a leadership role for the Ride.”
But Maurizio and Mirella’s leadership at Ride did not stop at their immediate families. Mirella, a Confidence Coaching Manager at TD became Team Lead for the company’s involvement at the event while Maurizio, RBC Regional Vice President, became Team Lead for RBC. By sharing their stories with their colleagues and becoming internal champions for the type 1 diabetes community, they both saw their corporate families look past industry competition to come together, raise critical funds for T1D research and pedal for a cure.
Having two of Canada’s top banks come together is humbling for Mirella, and both she and Maurizio are proud to be part of organizations that support JDRF by attending the Ride. But it’s more than just riding, they say. Raising money is the ultimate goal and successfully doing so starts with a donation. “By personally donating, we lead by example. Every year, I have kicked it off by donating to my own Ride,” says Mirella. Maurizio agrees, adding “it inspires those we ask to do the same.”
There are many reasons why people attend the Ride. For Mirella’s team, it was her family’s experience, “my TD colleagues are aware of the impact that type 1 diabetes has played in our lives,” she explains. But it isn’t just a personal connection to someone affected by this disease that drives people to participate and Maurizio has seen this with his team, “I think those that are joining this year are motivated to support their community ahead of all else.”
Register for your local Sun Life Ride to Defeat Diabetes for JDRF or set an example and make an online donation to your fundraising.