The 2018 JDRF Illinois Volunteer Awards

Every year during the Annual Meeting, JDRF Illinois recognizes some of the volunteers that went above and beyond to help further our mission to turn Type One into Type None. Learn more about this year’s winners below.

2018 Trailblazer Award – Franny and Michael Zucker
Franny and Michael Zucker are the definition of trailblazers. In early 2017, Franny proposed hosting a concert to benefit type 1 diabetes research, and she had the perfect artist to headline – Michael Franti – and Rock the Cure Chicago was born!

The event quickly became so much more than a concert. It became the catalyst for a mutually beneficial partnership between JDRF, Friends United, and Kovler Diabetes Center. It also served as a conduit for a new generation of supporters to get involved with JDRF. The inaugural Rock the Cure Chicago, held at Metro Chicago, raised more than $280,000 for T1D research!

Taking us to the Top – The One Dream Gala Committee
The 2017 One Dream Gala Committee banded together to help raise over $5M. The committee has strived to reach the $5M dollar mark for years, and with the leadership of Ken & Amy Aldridge as co-chairs, Glen Tullman as Fundraising Chair, David & Carrie Carlson as the Fund A Cure Family, and Michael & Sarah Alter as the Fund A Cure Chairs, the goal was finally met.

The leadership from Ken & Amy Aldridge for two consecutive years inspired the committee to fundraise $4M of the $5M raised that night. Glen Tullman provided unwavering support as he lead the fundraising committee, the Carlson Family helped the audience to connect to the JDRF mission, and the expertise and guidance provided by Michael and Sarah Alter as the Fund A Cure chairs, created a story of inspiration and hope that will soon not be forgotten.

Open Hands – Chipotle
When approached about hosting an in-restaurant fundraiser, not only did Chipotle agree, but they suggested it should be done at all their locations throughout the Chicagoland area, Central Illinois, and northwest Indiana. The efforts were a huge success, raising nearly $20,000 for the JDRF One Walk.

Chipotle is already building on this success by expanding their fundraising efforts into additional markets. This summer, Chipotle will host another in-restaurant fundraiser in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

Generosity of Spirit – Heather Garcia & Jamie Villagomez
Jamie has served as Kids Activities Chairs for the TypeOneNation Summit for three years before recruiting Heather to join her as co-chair for 2018. They were responsible for planning and scheduling all of the activities for 75+ kids ranging from 5 years old to 12 years old, with varying lengths of time since diagnosis, the spent the day with us the Kids Zone at TypeOneNation last February.

Jamie and Heather created an amazing program that fully embraced the needs of the children in the room and accommodated more than double the number of children from last year. They worked with their personal connections to bring in great performers to entertain the kids and secure supplies and entertainment at no cost to JDRF.

Youth Ambassador – Teagan and Susie Murphy
Since Teagan’s diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes in 2014, she has been a tireless fundraiser and advocate for JDRF. Despite her only being 10 years old with an busy schedule of competitive dance and soccer, she has managed to raise more than $20,000 to help find a cure for T1D. In her role as a Youth Ambassador, she has spoken at numerous corporate functions on behalf of JDRF, run fundraisers with her school and travel soccer team, and has created inspirational posters and signs for JDRF Riders and Marathon Runners. And finally – she has also been a mentor to other youth with T1D who are looking for support and friendship as they tackle the challenges of their diagnoses.

All of this amazing and impressive success would not be possible without the love and support of her mom, Suzie, and her entire family – her father Mike and sister Logan. Suzie has also served as JDRF Challenge Champion and will be running in the DisneyWorld Marathon on Team JDRF again in January.

Third Party Event
Plaza Marketing Associates started their Attendant Collection Centers to Benefit JDRF in 1987. And after more than 30 years of support, Plaza Marketing Associates continues to expand support of our mission to cure T1D . This year they added two new new collection center locations in Naperville and Lockport, bringing the total number of center to 12. With this expansion, along with the other collection center sites, Plaza Marketing has raised more than $200,000 since 2015.

Although the President of Plaza Marketing Associates, Reggie Wright, was not able to attend today as they are based in Georgia, we are pleased to honor their fundraising efforts as the Third Party Event award recipient this year.

Legacy Award – Dan Michalak
Our Legacy Award Winner, Dan Michalak, was determined that a final wish of his friend and neighbor, Clifford Chase, was fulfilled. Clifford suffered serious complications from type 2 diabetes and recently passed away at the age of 92 and left the sale of his Northbrook home to JDRF IL.

Dan cleared the home’s title and, when the first offers on the property came in at well below market-value, he got the estate rezoned and sold the home and land for more than double that of the initial offers.

Because of his unselfish act, more than $625,000 will be donated further JDRF’s mission to cure, prevent, and treat T1D

Outreach Award – Discover
Discover has had an incredible impact on our chapter outreach programs over the last seven years, specifically Family Day which later became TypeOneNation.

They were the first large-scale, local sponsors behind the educational summit concept here in Illinois. Discover continued to support consistently at the $10,000 level through the change from Family Day to TypeOneNation four years ago, and have never wavered in their support.

Outstanding Service – Rich Plonsker and Matt Cohen
Around this time last year, Rich and Matt accepted the challenge, posted by their Savills Studley colleague and founder of the Washington DC Games, Adam Singer, of bringing the Games to Chicago.

In a few short months they formed a 12-person committee and lead the effort to bring more than 150 of the city’s top brokers, developers and property managers together to compete in the Games and raise $157,537 for JDRF – the most raised at any inaugural Games.