Meet Karen Sillay: JDRF Georgia & South Carolina Volunteer Legacy Leader


Karen Sillay became invested in JDRF’s mission shortly after her husband and daughter were both diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

“Michael was diagnosed at age 34. At the time we had three young children, and when he came home to tell me he had been diagnosed with T1D we were shocked as he had no family history. A few years later, our then-20-month-old daughter, Morgan, woke up sick. I immediately suspected she also had T1D. I used my husband’s monitor to check her blood sugar and the word “HIGH” flashed up on the screen. I immediately knew what that meant for our family and what it meant for Morgan. That was in 1995 and we have been dealing with the daily struggles ever since,” says Karen.

Since then, Karen and her family have served and fundraised in many different capacities including OneWalk, Gala, and Morgan as a speaker and ambassador. Most recently the family has started participating in the Ride.

“Being involved with JDRF supports, empowers, and gives us hope that a cure is possible, and in the future no one will have to live with the daily challenges of T1D,” says Karen.

Recently Karen stepped into a new volunteer role as the Georgia & South Carolina Chapter’s Volunteer Legacy Leader (VLL). As the chapter’s VLL, Karen joins other volunteers in an initiative to raise awareness about the impact legacy gifts (gifts in wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations etc.) have in ensuring JDRF achieves its vision of a world without T1D.

Since 1995 JDRF has received more than $146 million from legacy gifts and currently 3,800+ supporters have shared that they have included commitments to JDRF with an estimated value of more than $250 million.

Karen and her husband, Michael, are part of this visionary group of supporters who have included a gift to JDRF in their long-term plans. “We have purposed to work as a family to be charitable, and leaving a legacy gift reinforces that value for future generations, says Karen.

Learn more about legacy giving here.