Press Release: Major fundraising gift announcement

Eli Lilly and Company Foundation to Fund World-Class Diabetes Treatment and Care Program at Riley Hospital for Children

Announcement comes on eve of World Diabetes Day

INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 13 – The Riley Children’s Foundation has received a $10 million gift from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation that will serve as a transformational catalyst to establish a world-class pediatric diabetes treatment and care program at Riley Hospital for Children.

Dr. Ora Pescovitz, president and CEO of Riley Hospital and a nationally renowned specialist in diabetology and endocrinology, says Lilly’s gift marks a turning point for diabetes research and care.

“We are working to create an internationally renowned diabetes treatment care and research program at Riley. With the generosity of the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, we are now closer to realizing our vision of making momentous advances in how we diagnose, treat and even prevent pediatric diabetes,” Pescovitz said. “We are honored to partner with Lilly and the IU School of Medicine in this endeavor.”

About Lilly’s gift 

Lilly’s gift will be used to recruit internationally recognized diabetes specialists who will establish a preeminent program in pediatric diabetes research. This research will complement Riley’s program in clinical pediatric diabetes taking place within the Indiana University School of Medicine.

The gift also will help to establish the Eli Lilly and Company Center for Pediatric Diabetes at Riley Hospital for Children and the Indiana University School of Medicine. The center encompasses the basic scientific research programs at Riley and IU. In addition, a facility within the clinical care program will provide education and care to the families of children with type 1 diabetes. The facility will accommodate nursing, nutrition, medical social work staff and ancillary services to deliver state-of-the-art diabetes care.

Finally, Lilly’s gift will help Riley create a national model for pediatric diabetes care delivery. The current model for providing support to both families and medical professionals is inadequate.

Riley’s history in pediatric diabetes care

Riley Hospital is home to one of the largest and most highly regarded pediatric diabetes clinical programs in the country, treating more than 1,800 children with diabetes each year. The Pediatric Endocrinology Section of the Department of Pediatrics at Indiana University and Riley Hospital has achieved national respect and a growing international reputation for excellence in its clinical services and clinical research in the area of type 1 diabetes. Its programs have expanded exponentially in the past decade and have reached a critical state in the pursuit to establish a world-class center for pediatric diabetes.

Riley also is part of the Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium, an international group coordinating efforts to identify individuals’ risk of developing diabetes. Moreover, the Riley Pediatric Diabetes Program was among the first in the United States to introduce the use of a pediatric insulin pump, which freed parents of diabetic children from having to administer insulin shots.

“This gift will allow Riley to ascend to an elite status in pediatric diabetes research and care,” said Kevin O’Keefe, president and CEO, Riley Children’s Foundation. “Indiana children and families have reason to celebrate this milestone in our state’s history. Research at Riley Hospital by IU School of Medicine physicians will lead to advancements not only in treatment, but in identifying children at risk for diabetes –and finding a cure.”

Lilly’s history in diabetes care

Lilly introduced the world’s first commercially available insulin product for treating diabetes, then a fatal disease, in 1923. In the most significant breakthrough in diabetes care since then, Lilly introduced the world’s first human insulin in 1982. Just last year, Lilly with its partner, Amylin Corporation, introduced Byetta®, the first in a new class of medicines known as incretin mimetics, to treat type 2 diabetes.

“There is no group of patients with whom Lilly has a longer and deeper history than those suffering from diabetes,” said John Lechleiter, Lilly president and chief operating officer. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to juvenile diabetes and advances a mission that began more than 80 years ago. Our gift to Riley is another defining moment in our goal to arrest the progression and impact of diabetes in patients across society.”

Today’s announcement comes on the eve of World Diabetes Day, Nov. 14. First established in 1991, World Diabetes Day commemorates the birthday of insulin pioneer Fredrick Banting and serves as the primary global awareness campaign of the diabetes community. November also is American Diabetes Awareness Month, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association.