A Legacy Gift for Better Futures with Type 1 Diabetes

Dan Reiner has owned Northwest Art & Frame in West Seattle for over 50 years. Shortly after he bought the shop in his early 20s, a sales rep named Jeri came to the store. She sold him a few prints. Years later, they were married.

Before Jeri, Dan didn’t know much about type 1 diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune disease that happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks the pancreas. T1D often starts during childhood or young adulthood. Dan quickly learned that T1D can be exhausting, requiring managing your blood sugar 24/7.

“Jeri always had to poke herself and get up in the middle of the night. It’s just this incredible drudgery,” Dan says. “I learned to always be aware of how she was feeling and know what to do if her blood sugar started to spike or drop.”

In the 30 years Dan and Jeri have been married, Dan has seen first hand how the tools and technologies to manage T1D have progressed. One big advance was the insulin pump — computerized devices that Virginia Mason helped develop — to measure and manage blood sugar.

“For years, Jeri had to do tons of shots and finger poking. Then insulin pumps came along and that was a real blessing. Those types of advances only come about through research,” Dan says.

That’s why Dan recently designated an estate gift to T1D research at Benaroya Research Institute (BRI), the research arm of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. BRI is a world leader in T1D research, leading groundbreaking studies aiming to predict, prevent, reverse and cure the disease. Their research aims to better understand the human immune system and to turn lab discoveries into life-changing patient care.

“I learned about BRI through Jeri and their research is just tremendous,” Dan says. “They do a lot of work in diabetes which is great, but I also appreciate how they do research in lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS) and other diseases. We have friends who live with several of these diseases, and we want to support researchers who are working to find better treatments and cures.”

Dan hopes his gift helps BRI’s team make key advances that make life better for people with T1D and all autoimmune diseases.

“Research is a slow and expensive process that takes a lot of dedicated people,” Dan says. “We’re grateful for scientists like those at BRI who work so hard to solve some of these big medical problems, and we’re happy to support their work.”

Estate gifts are a meaningful way to make a profound impact on health and research. Learn more about planning giving at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

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