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When Moira Fitzpatrick was 19 years old, she emigrated to Canada—an experience that changed her life. Without her father’s support, the trip might never have happened, as friends who had planned to go with her on the trip dropped out one by one, leaving her to go on her own. But her father, Charles, who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1937 at the age of 17, encouraged her. “My dad, who never travelled [outside England] due to concerns about his diabetes and complications, told me to explore and no matter how long I stayed here it would be an amazing adventure.”

He was right. Moira, who calls Vancouver home, has worked in the hotel and travel industry for many years. In the late ’90s, she launched her successful business, M.F. Consultants, which offers sales and marketing services to exclusive hotel and resort properties and organizations worldwide. She has also personally guided food and wine tours throughout France, Italy, and the United States.

The early days of diabetes

“After my father was diagnosed, he had to inject pork insulin,” says Moira. “It was the only thing available at the time.”

Those who lived with diabetes in the early and even mid-20th century had to manage their condition in ways that might be unimaginable to someone diagnosed recently, including testing their urine to determine their blood sugar levels, and sharpening and sterilizing their insulin needles themselves. While there has been much progress in diabetes management, it remains a challenging disease for many. Charles, who died in 2001 at the age of 80, had part of each of his legs amputated as a result of complications. The first person to receive laser eye surgery for diabetic retinopathy (also known as sight loss) in England, he unfortunately lost his sight eventually.

Neither Moira nor her two brothers has diabetes, and no one else in either of her parents’ families does, so Charles had no one else who understood what he was going through. In spite of all this, he remained positive. He was awarded a Diabetes UK gold medal 50 years after his diagnosis, for his courage and perseverance in living with diabetes. “He never complained or had a bad day,” says Moira. “He was my hero.”

The next generation

A big believer in giving back with her time and money, Moira has supported causes close to her heart. For the past 27 years, Moira has made an annual donation to Diabetes Canada, but in 2022, she decided to do something different—making Diabetes Canada a beneficiary in her will. She says,

My father always wanted better for his kids, and now I want better for the next generation of people with diabetes. I don’t want more people to go through what my father did. Small gifts are a small gesture, but a planned gift can make a huge impact.

Single with no children, Moira is happy to share her success. “If I can inspire others to leave a legacy gift, it would be wonderful.”

Moira is putting her money on research because it can lead to long-term change. “A cure for diabetes can only be found through research. I’m making a gift to Diabetes Canada in my will because I know you are funding the best and brightest researchers.”

“Leaving a legacy gift is a wonderful tribute to loved ones, and Moira’s decision to support the work of Diabetes Canada to find a cure to end diabetes is deeply appreciated,” says Laura Syron, president and CEO of Diabetes Canada. “This type of contribution makes a difference and will go a long way in helping researchers looking for the next breakthrough discovery.”

Did you know?

Your generous gift today will advance research to help End Diabetes. Learn more about how you can leave a legacy gift now. #LetsEndDiabetes

Author: Denise Barnard

Category Tags: Community Spotlight, Impact Stories;

Region: National

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