It is with great sadness that we recognize the passing of Dina Merrill, a talented actress and a philanthropist who gave generously to type 1 diabetes research through JDRF. Ms. Merrill passed away Monday at her home in East Hampton, New York at the age of 93.
Ms. Merrill was an early ambassador for and face of JDRF – known then as the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. She was a strong advocate for type 1 diabetes, a participant in JDRF’s telethons and other major events, and a gala honoree in 1976. She was all too familiar with type 1 diabetes because of her T1D son, David Rumbough, who died in a tragic boating accident in 1973 when he was only 23 years old. The following year, Ms. Merrill memorialized David by creating the annual Rumbough Award for scientific excellence, in recognition of outstanding achievement in diabetes research.
In more than 40 years, the Rumbough Award has supported the most promising research across all of JDRF’s therapy areas. Most recently, it has been awarded to scientists whose research includes T1D prevention, beta cell biology, artificial pancreas technology, eye therapies, kidney disease, cell encapsulation technology and immune therapy.
While Ms. Merrill will be remembered by many for her roles in more than 100 films, the T1D community will remember what may be her greatest legacy – the gift of hope that one day we will achieve our vision of a world without type 1 diabetes.