Hope Gala in Salt Lake City raises more than $443,000 for Type 1 diabetes research

SALT LAKE CITY -- Hundreds of people living with Type 1 diabetes and their loved ones helped raise more than $443,000 in one night.

The JDRF Mountain Valley Chapter (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) hosted its inaugural Hope Gala Saturday at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.

The event honored Mary Kaye and Liddy Huntsman. Liddy has had Type 1 diabetes most of her life, and when she was diagnosed as a child she struggled for several years accepting the autoimmune disease.

She and her mother, Mary Kaye, helped create the Bag of Hope for newly diagnosed Type 1 diabetic children at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City, and soon all across the country and the world.

The Bag of Hope includes information for families to understand what Type 1 diabetes is, how to control and mange it, plus, why there is no cure, and the research and technology available to those living with the disease.

Thousands of Bags of Hope have been provided for children and families and that is why Mary Kaye and Liddy were the Hope Gala's honorees.

Fox 13's Live at Noon anchor Danica Lawrence and her husband, Fox 13 reporter and fill-in anchor Jeff McAdam, emceed the Hope Gala together. Danica has been a Type 1 diabetic for two decades. Danica is also on the local JDRF Mountain Valley Chapter Board.

Danica's father, Bill Lawrence, also attended the event to help make a special donation of $7,000 as a tribute to his wife and Danica's mother, Beverley Lawrence—whoisuddenly passed away 11 weeks ago on January 27 at the age of 63. Beverley was a Type 1 diabetic for 57 years. She was only 6-years-old when she was diagnosed. She donated over her lifetime to JDRF to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.

She always told Danica: "There may not be a cure in my lifetime, but in your lifetime there will be."

In lieu of flowers for Beverley's Celebration of Life service, her husband asked their loved ones to donate to JDRF in Beverley's honor and that is where the $7,000 came from, Beverley's dearest family and friends. Many local families put forth huge donations to make the Hope Gala a success.

Several sponsors helped make the evening possible, included but not limited to, The Jon and Karen Huntsman Foundation, Zions Bank, Coldwell Banker, Gardner Company, Epic, Jacobsen Construction, Larry H. & Gail Miller, The McCullough Group, Wasatch Capital Resources, WCF Insurance, and Sysco among several other local organizations.

To learn more about JDRF Mountain Valley Chapter, click here.