The Lionakis Foundation was established in 2009 as a charitable organization dedicated to philanthropy, giving back financial support and volunteerism to promote a better future for the communities in which we all live and work. The charitable organizations we give back to are held close to our employees’ hearts and are nominated and funded by them. For the month of October, the Lionakis Foundation gave back to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation  (JDRF), a nonprofit that leads the fight against type 1 diabetes (T1D) by funding research, advocating for policies that accelerate access to new therapies, and provides a support network for millions of people around the world. On October 7th, the Lionakis Foundation hosted a virtual Lunch and Learn for JDRF to learn more about their vision, mission, and the basics of T1D.

JDRF Mission: “Improving lives today and tomorrow by accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.”

JDRF explained that T1D is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops producing insulin – a hormone that allows the body to get energy from food. People with T1D rely on insulin for the rest of their lives; they cannot live without it. The onset of T1D can happen suddenly, impacting people of any age, affecting them every moment of every day and it lasts a lifetime. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. Whereas with type 2 diabetes your body doesn’t use insulin properly – which is known as insulin resistance. As a result, your pancreas makes extra insulin to compensate, but over time it is unable to keep up. Symptoms of T1D include headaches, weight loss, blurry vision, extreme thirst, frequent urination, increased appetite, fruity breath odor, fatigue and weakness, and rapid deep breathing. Insulin is necessary to live with T1D, administered either via injections or an insulin pump.

JDRF is the world’s largest nonprofit funder of T1D research. While they hope to find a cure for T1D, they also focus on advancements to improve the everyday lives of diabetics. At the Lunch and Learn, we learned about a new research breakthrough, T1Detect, a tool available to anyone to screen for T1D antibodies allowing anyone at any age with or without a history of T1D to know if they are at risk for T1D. This allows families to determine their T1D risk early on, so they can plan and prepare for T1D before life-threatening symptoms begin to occur. Around 93% of newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics don’t have a family history of T1D, making this screening tool valuable to everyone.

JDRF hosts a variety of fundraisers throughout the year. These events include JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes, the JDRF gala, JDRF golf tournament, JDRF Game2Give, and the JDRF One Walk. Most of these events have been hosted virtually for the past two years due to Covid-19. The Lionakis Team will be walking virtually in the JDRF One Walk on November 7th in support of the millions of people with T1D, including one of our own Lionakis staff members.

At the conclusion of the Lunch and Learn program, the Lionakis Foundation presented JDRF with a check for $5,000 to contribute to research and support of T1D. Special thank you to Qiana Wylie, Development Manager at JDRF Northern California, for taking the time to share about JDRF with our Lionakis team.

For more information about JDRF please visit their website: or the JDRF Northern California Facebook page here JDRF Bay Area Northern California – Home | Facebook