Peter and Valerie Kompaniez Honored With American Diabetes Association's Distinguished Service Achievement Award

December 12, 2008

The American Diabetes Association, the nation's largest and leading voluntary health organization in the fight against diabetes, announced today that Peter and Valerie Kompaniez of Huntington Beach, California received the Ross Hickey Award for Outstanding Service in Diabetes Research Funding at the Association's Community Volunteer Leadership Conference and Annual Meeting on November 23 in Tampa, Florida.

Named after Ross V. Hickey, Jr., this award is given to individuals who significantly impact the funding of diabetes research through targeted fund-raising efforts and/or direct gifts.

"The American Diabetes Association is pleased to present this esteemed award to Peter and Valerie Kompaniez," stated R. Stewart Perry, Chair of the Board, the American Diabetes Association. "Their contributions to the diabetes community directly supports Association's mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people living with diabetes."

Peter and Valerie Kompaniez have demonstrated a strong commitment to the funding of diabetes research. Valerie started participating with the American Diabetes Association eight years ago, when she signed up for Southern California's Tour de Cure. Through Tour de Cure, Valerie and Peter have contributed more than $350,000 to support the Association's mission. Additionally, Valerie's involvement is not limited to Tour de Cure, as she has played an active role in the Orange County Community Leadership Board.

Earlier this year, the Kompaniezes decided that they wanted to significantly increase their support of diabetes research by pledging a gift of $1,000,000 to the American Diabetes Association Research Foundation. This generous gift will fund four researchers, Drs. Benoist, Gardner, Hutton and Sherwin, whose projects focus on complications in type 1 diabetes. Christophe Benoist, MD, PhD, of the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, is the principal investigator of the American Diabetes Association Mentor-Based Postdoctoral Fellowship Award study entitled Immune mechanisms underlying Type-1 diabetes, which focuses on type 1 immunology. Pennsylvania State University researcher Thomas Gardner, MD, will study ocular complications with his American Diabetes Association Research Award study entitled Regulation of Akt activity in diabetic retinopathy. John Hutton, PhD, the principal investigator of the study Autoimmunity towards Zinc transporter 8 (SLC30A8) in human type 1 diabetes, will investigate type 1 immunology at the University of Colorado through his American Diabetes Association Mentor-Based Postdoctoral Fellowship Award. Robert Sherwin, MD, the recipient of an American Diabetes Association Research Award, will examine type 1 immunology at Yale University in his study entitled The role of RegII, a new islet-derived autoantigen in the development of T1DM.

Diabetes is a serious disease that affects the body's ability to produce or respond properly to insulin, a hormone that allows blood glucose to enter the cells of the body and be used for energy. Diabetes is growing at an alarming rate with nearly 24 million children and adults living with this disease and another 57 million Americans at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)