When Dick and Mary Allen's granddaughter, Hannah, was diagnosed with
Type 1 diabetes at the age of 2, it altered the course of their lives.
Knowing the gravity of the condition, the Allens committed to learning
everything they could about the disease and what would be needed to care
for Hannah. Most importantly, they also learned how she could learn to
care for herself so she could live as healthy and normal a life as possible.
This quest turned into a passion to make life easier for Hannah and for
everyone living with Type 1 diabetes —especially those lacking access
to proper medical care or without adequate resources to successfully manage
the disease. What they learned in the process spurred the Allens to action,
culminating in the launch of the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center at
Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.
The Allen Diabetes Center has been life-changing for local residents battling
diabetes, bringing best-in-class care and education opportunities and
making them available to all in need.
The term diabetes describes a group of metabolic diseases marked by high
blood sugar which impacts nearly 26 million people in the United States,
according to the National Diabetes Association. While diabetes ranges
in severity and the type of care required, Type 1 diabetes is the most
debilitating of the group. It's caused by the body's inability
to produce insulin, and those with the disease must either inject insulin
or wear an insulin pump.
“After Hannah's diagnosis, we quickly learned what people with
Type 1 deal with 24/7,” says Dick Allen. “And they will continue
to have to do it until there is a cure. Before the discovery of insulin,
people with Type 1 died. Now it's manageable, but the vigilance must
Allen's dedication to care and education for diabetics continued to
grow even beyond the center at Hoag, and he is now the chairman of the
international board of JDRF — formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research
“I can't think of anything more important to be doing at this
stage of my life,” he says. “My wife is on our local board,
and she's every bit as active as I am. We're in this until the
end. We're in until we find a cure. We want to look Hannah in the
eye when that day comes and tell her that we did everything we could to
help put an end to this terrible disease.”
Allen praises the power of philanthropy driven by personal passion: “People
give where their hearts are. It's an incredibly important component
to philanthropy, in my opinion. People want to make a difference. Philanthropy
isn't about giving money away, it's about finding a way to make
a difference in someone's life.”
To learn more about diabetes please visit www.hoag.org/Services/Diabetse