JDRF Expresses Profound Loss at the Passing of Helaine Shiff, co-founder of JDRF Canada

Toronto, May 1, 2019 – JDRF Canada is deeply saddened at the loss of one of its founders, Helaine Shiff.  

“Helaine was a remarkable woman and her legacy to our community will live on forever,” said Dave Prowten, President and CEO of JDRF Canada. “She never let up and continued to the very end to help JDRF move towards our goal of a world without type 1 diabetes.”

Helaine was a tireless champion of our community and relentless in her commitment to achieve a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D). When her son, Lorne, was diagnosed, Helaine and her husband Allan channeled their efforts to find a cure. With the goal of funding the best and brightest researchers around the world, Helaine and Allan Shiff pooled resources and worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for young Canadians living with T1D. Their persistence paid off and JDRF Canada was founded in 1974.

“JDRF International is truly a global organization because of individuals like Helaine Shiff, who tirelessly worked in support our vision of a world without type 1 diabetes,” says Aaron Kowalski, President and CEO JDRF International. “We are forever thankful to the Shiff family and vow to continue working in partnership with our affiliate in Canada to carry on the work that Mrs. Shiff and her family started more than 40 years ago.”

Focused on excellence and achieving results, the Shiff Family was instrumental in shaping JDRF to become the leading T1D research organization it is today. As T1D trailblazers, they helped propel research forward, establishing Canadian investigators as some of the best and brightest in the field.

“As a founder of JDRF Canada, Helaine Shiff and her family helped forge one of JDRF’s most vital and valued international partnerships,” explains Mary Elizabeth Bunzel, JDRF International Chair of Chancellors. “She continued this commitment to creating a world without T1D as a beloved member of our Chancellors. We send our deepest sympathy to the entire Shiff family.”

Today, Helaine’s legacy continues with Lorne – Chair of JDRF Canada’s Board of Directors and a prominent volunteer in Canada and globally for the past 30 years – following in their footsteps to advance JDRF’s mission to ease the burden of others living with T1D.

Join us in paying tribute to Helaine Shiff to honour her life and continue her legacy at jdrf.ca/helaine.



About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research. Our goal is to raise funds to support the most advanced international type 1 diabetes research and progressively remove the impact of this disease from people’s lives – until we achieve a world without type 1 diabetes. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners and is the only organization with the scientific resources, regulatory influence, and a working plan to better treat, prevent, and eventually cure type 1 diabetes. JDRF is the largest charitable supporter of type 1 diabetes research. For more information, please visit jdrf.ca.         


Media contact
Soledad Vega
Manager, Marketing and Communications
JDRF Canada


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