Reflections on 2021 – A Message from the Executive Director


Stronger. Together.

This statement sums up 2021 for our chapter. Together as a chapter, we have shown our commitment to our mission while responding to our ever-changing world. Our chapter has worked in new and creative ways to maximize our ability to generate funds needed to drive type 1 diabetes (T1D) research forward.

On the Community Engagement front, Marlo Martin and Chris Reilly have supported the national Type One Nation Summit virtual events and put together virtual educational sessions for those living with T1D in our chapter. Over the summer when it was safe to meet outside and socially distance, we held three Meet and Mingle events across the chapter – St. Louis, Kansas City and Wichita. Our Bag of Hope and Care Kit requests have increased during the pandemic.

The virtual Dream Gala was held on June 5th for the entire chapter. The board members from Kansas City and St. Louis joined forces to raise over $2.2 million dollars to support T1D research. Committees worked on securing sponsorships, auction items and Fund A Cure gifts. Gala hosts invited their friends and family to join their gala “watch party” and engage in the online auction. All I can say for winning an auction item is “MAX BID, MAX BID, MAX BID”. The incredible generosity in time, talent and treasure is inspiring. Tori Freeman did an incredible job of leading the gala staff and volunteer team.

In our Peer to Peer fundraising programs, One Walk and Ride to Cure Diabetes we continued with virtual events this year. The creativity and engagement that walk teams and riders brought to the table were impressive. I loved seeing all the photos that teams shared with us and you can find on our chapter Facebook page. The success of these program relies on volunteer ride coaches and the walk committee that reach out to help teams be successful. Kayla Taszarek was promoted to the Peer to Peer manager role over the summer and did an outstanding job with all of these programs.

I’d like to introduce our new Development Coordinator, Madison Mueller. I’m thrilled to have her join our team. Madison will be supporting event logistics, silent auction for gala and chapter communications.

A big thank you to Ashley Rusch, our office manager that supports our chapter and Iowa and Nebraska Chapter for all of her work and support to make our chapter a success.

While I have included the names of all our staff members, we simply could not accomplish any of these goals without the volunteers that support and guide our work. For each of you that have volunteered for our chapter, I sincerely acknowledge you for your commitment to Breakthrough T1D and to the Kansas & Missouri Chapter.

As we move into the new year, I’m looking forward to being back in person for events and look forward to connecting with all of you. If you have any interest in joining any of our volunteer committees, please reach out to me or any of the staff.

I thank and celebrate the incredible gifts of time, talent and treasure each of you that so generously donate to make our chapter truly Stronger. Together.

Sherri Lozano

Executive Director, Kansas and Missouri Chapter