Sarah Lane invites guests of JDRF’s Imagine Gala to imagine a world where Type 1 Diabetes no longer exists.
By Barrett Gay | Photography by Meredith Melody | Makeup by Merry Kline with Belle & Blush
Like so many women, Sarah Lane’s life is a balancing act — she’s a wife, mother of two and senior vice president of branching strategy at Simmons Bank. And for the past 15 years, she has also been a devoted volunteer for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Arkansas Chapter. She has served on its Board of Directors for six years; and as chairman, along with her husband, she’ll welcome guests to JDRF’s 2018 Imagine Gala. So moved by the stories of families with Type 1 Diabetes and their relatives, Sarah says she’s “all in.”
Seven years ago, she was invited to join the JDRF Board of Directors. She was honored yet intimidated, and graciously accepted the opportunity. Not long after, she was asked to serve as the government relations and advocacy team chairman. Her responsibilities included supporting JDRF’s legislative + regulatory priorities and attending the annual JDRF Government Day in Washington, D.C., to communicate the organization’s mission to Congress. “I said, ‘I don’t have a Type 1 family member, I’m the wrong person to ask,’” Sarah recalls. “But I’ve always told the board of directors, ‘I’m here to do what you guys need – if that’s cleaning toilets, then give me the gloves.’”
Sarah remembers the first Government Day Conference she attended – it was a milestone moment for her time with JDRF. Originally scheduled to travel with the president of the board of directors, she later learned she would have to go alone – there were more than 500 attendees. “There was one person who stood up during introductions who either did not have a family member or was not in the medical field working with Type 1. Me.” This was daunting to Sara, but it so moved an attendee that she specifically thanked Sara for being in D.C. despite not having a relative with Type 1 Diabetes.
Throughout the conference, Sarah met several ‘T1D families’ and heard their compelling stories. She was astounded by the network and community of parents, families and researchers. From that moment on, she said to herself, “Ok. I’m here, I’m all in. How can I not be?”
This year, Sarah’s “all in” for JDRF’s Imagine Gala. As chairman, along with husband, she will invite guests to imagine a world where Type 1 Diabetes no longer exists. The Fund a Cure video is always a compelling moment of the evening. “We highlight our T1D families in a video produced by See Spot Run Productions to express the difficulties in living with a chronic autoimmune disease, followed by a message of hope in the mission of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to fund research to cure, treat and prevent T1D,” Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Arkansas Chapter Executive Director Sue Tull explains. “Every year I’m blown away with how many people are giving to this cause,” Sarah adds. “It’s really inspiring.”
Sarah appreciates the tenacity with which JDRF researchers work to discover a cure and create technology + treatments to improve the condition of those living with Type 1 Diabetes, such as the Artificial Pancreas — a landmark achievement for the organization.
The gala will also present the Living & Giving Award to Christy and William Clark on behalf of Clark Contractors. “For over five years, Clark Contractors has sponsored the JDRF OneWalk,” Sue notes. “And for the past four years, a representative has had a seat on our Arkansas Chapter Board of Directors. We value both the financial and time commitment that Clark Contractors has made to the mission of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.”
With the support of JDRF patrons and the continued pursuit of a cure by researchers, it’s easy for Sarah to imagine a future without Type 1 Diabetes.