Jim Ryan has type 2 diabetes. His mother had diabetes, too. But it was his late wife’s battle with another disease that has led him to make a generous gift to further the mission of the American Diabetes Association with a focus on research.
“Marlene was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, which is terminal,” Jim explained. “Thankfully, there was a drug available that extended her life for five years. It was research that made the medication possible.”
After 44 years together, Jim lost Marlene in August of 2016. Several weeks later, the retired insurance professional knew he needed to update his estate plans. “Marlene and I both had basic wills—she left everything to me and I left everything to her—so I knew that had to change,” Jim said. “I made a list of loved ones and what I wanted to do for them.” He also decided to make gifts to six health-related charities—including the American Diabetes Association—through his estate plans.
“Luckily I got my type 2 under control through losing some weight and taking medication. But diabetes shortens the lives of thousands of people,” said Jim. “I want my estate gifts to help charities focused on diseases that affect most Americans, and one out of 11 Americans has diabetes. That has to change.” With the help of his advisors, Jim set up his estate gift to the Association so that 25% of the gift benefits diabetes research and 75% funds diabetes education. He even visited American Diabetes Association President of Medicine and Science at the time, Dr. Alvin Powers, at Vanderbilt University to see firsthand the groundbreaking work funded by the Association. “It was amazing to meet the young scientists and see the impressive research they are doing. Their research would not be possible without gifts from supporters.”
“When you see the strides that have been made in diabetes research and education over the years, it’s phenomenal,” Jim added. “But conquering diabetes is still a monumental challenge. I am glad to know that my gift will help the American Diabetes Association advance research efforts and speed up the day we end the diabetes epidemic.