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The annual Tracey Rubinoff Skate-a-thon is ‘an example of what a little community of friends and family can do,’ says Fred Rubinoff, flanked by sons Jesse, left, and Spencer.

KEVIN VAN PAASSEN/The Globe and Mail

The donors: Fred, Jesse and Spencer Rubinoff

The gift: Raising $1-million and climbing

The cause: Diabetes Hope Foundation, Markham Stouffville Hospital

Story continues below advertisement

The reason: To fund programs for people living with diabetes

When Tracey Rubinoff lost her long battle with complications related to type 1 diabetes, her family wanted to do something in her memory.

"She was an inspiration to everyone," said her husband Fred Rubinoff, a Toronto lawyer. "The boys and a group of friends wanted to continue her legacy."

The family set up a private foundation in 2004, shortly after Ms. Rubinoff died, and began holding events to raise money for the Diabetes Hope Foundation. That led to the launch of the Tracey Rubinoff Skate-a-thon, an annual skating party at Toronto's Ricoh Coliseum.

The event, now in its 10th year, is run by the Rubinoffs' sons Jesse and Spencer, and it has raised just over $1-million so far. About half of the money went to the Diabetes Hope Foundation, while the remainder has gone to the Markham Stouffville Hospital, which has opened the Tracey Rubinoff Pediatric Diabetes Clinic.

"To see an actual clinic at the hospital named after her is amazing," said Jesse, who is 26.

"I was a little kid when she died and I had no idea her legacy would grow and last," added Spencer, 23.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Rubinoff said the event has turned into a tribute to Tracey.

"It's just an incredible story and example of what a little community of friends and family can do," he said.

pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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