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The Globe and Mail

Diabetes Hope Foundation helps First Nations youth

A diabetes monitoring device is shown in a handout photo.


The donor: Barbara Pasternak

The gift: Creating the Diabetes Hope Foundation

The reason: To provide support to people with diabetes

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When two of Barbara Pasternak's sons were boys, they developed Type 1 diabetes, where the pancreas doesn't produce any insulin.

She and her husband, Joe, soon discovered the many challenges of living with diabetes, including the high cost of insulin. Her family managed to cover the expenses, but she wanted to do something to help others who were not as fortunate. That led to the creation of the Diabetes Hope Foundation in 1999.

The charity has raised more than $9-million since then, the money going toward scholarships, mentorships, retreats, recreational activities and support programs for youth, including First Nations. More than 2,400 families across Canada have been helped so far.

"We want to help more kids, more families," said Ms. Pasternak, who runs a family-owned manufacturing business with her husband in Toronto called Fluid Hose and Coupling Inc. "This has just been a tremendous passion of mine."

Her sons Jesse and Bobby are doing fine. Jesse is a surgeon, and Bobby is in real estate. (Another son, Harley, is a fitness trainer and does not have diabetes.)

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