Columbia University

Transforming Diabetes Care
"From the day we arrived for our first appointment, I knew that this was the place that was going to change our lives."
— Nicole Lesta, parent
Photo credit: Bob Handelman
Thanks to a legacy of compassion, people of all ages receive comprehensive care for diabetes — the same condition experienced by a donor and his mother.

Soon after their daughter Isabella was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 14 months, Nicole and Daniel Lesta of Southampton, N.Y., heard about the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University. “I called and was able to make an appointment the following week. Our appointment was wonderful. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better,” Nicole said.

Today Isabella is a happy three-year-old — and one of more than 10,000 children and adults who have been helped at the Berrie Center to date. “I feel she’s getting the best care possible,” said her mother. “Isabella's doctor is helping her live a long and healthy life.”

Meet The Donor: Angelica Berrie and the Russell Berrie Foundation

The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center was established in 1997 by entrepreneur Russell Berrie, who lived with Type 2 diabetes, and named for his mother, who also was diabetic. “The Russell Berrie Foundation invested in a powerful idea — to transform diabetes care and research by creating a center of excellence that is a model for humanistic healthcare," says foundation president Angelica Berrie.


Thanks to ongoing donor support — including a significant donation by the foundation in 2008 — the center today is one of the world's leading facilities for diabetes research, education, and treatment.



Published: June 2011