Kelli Ozdemir, Senior Vice President of Fund Management, does more than just implementing a fund’s investment strategy. Outside of the office, she has recently become involved in JDRF (formerly Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). JDRF is a non-profit organization that supports research to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes.
Ozdemir’s involvement in diabetes research started with her four year old daughter, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in July of 2012.
“She must prick her finger to check her blood sugar 6-8 times a day and receives 4 shots a day of insulin,” said Ozdemir.
Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune disease that has no known cause, leading to the difficulty in finding a cure. People diagnosed with Type 1 rely on insulin their entire lives to survive.
Every fall, the Indiana JDRF Chapter puts on the Walk to Cure Diabetes in downtown Indianapolis. This year, Ozdemir participated – forming a team and fundraising. Their efforts paid off, raising $16,250 toward JDRF and Type 1 diabetes research.
“It was incredible and Ella’s team earned several prestigious awards at the awards ceremony for the walk, including ‘Top New Family Team’. “
Ozdemir and her family didn’t stop there, however. In December, they hosted a party/ fundraiser to raise money for the organization again. The “Dance Your Carbs Off” event includes a DJ and is all you can eat and drink at the Mezzanine bar at Belle Vita on Geist with an admission of $50. From admissions, 40% of the proceeds and 100% of donations went directly to JDRF. The Ozdemir’s are hoping to make this an annual event.
Other events that the Ozdemir’s will be involved in include the educational conference on March 10th, Diabetes Education Day: Diabetes Today and Tomorrow, the Promise Gala on April 27th and the Swing for a Cure Golf Outing on June 6th.
Why become so involved in JDRF? Her reasoning is simple: “It is our way of saying thank you,” said Ozdemir. “This is a constantly changing disease and a lot of ups and downs. I constantly have questions and having a central resource to gather information or just to be told, you aren’t alone, is so helpful and encouraging.”
Ozdemir has also found encouragement in her CREA family, who has been supportive throughout the discovery of her daughter’s diabetes, and the continual learning journey that comes with it.
“CREA is a big supporter of the organization because this disease affects my family, and that is something that I love about working here.”