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Lakewood Hospital celebrates sixth annual ‘Starry Night’ benefit for diabetes patients

Lakewood Hospital celebrated its sixth annual Starry Night fundraiser on Aug. 5 beneath the starlit tents on Belle Avenue.

Proceeds from the event went to Lakewood Hospital’s Diabetes Assistance Initiative, which provides medication and testing supply vouchers as well as educational scholarships to diabetes patients who otherwise cannot afford it.

“It’s an amazing program that is completely supported through philanthropy,” said Kristin Broadbent, the executive director of the Lakewood Hospital Foundation. “If we can help people manage their diabetes, it can keep them out of the emergency room and keep their health care costs low.”

Founded by Gina Gavlak in 2009, the program has already awarded $252,000 to more than 260 patients. According to Gavlak, who is the Diabetes Development coordinator at the Lakewood Hospital Diabetes and Endocrine Center, this year’s event would likely net $50,000 to $60,000.

Gavlak has also testified multiple times at the state level in support of the Diabetes Cost Reduction Act, which would require state-regulated private insurance companies to provide coverage for medically necessary diabetes equipment, supplies, medication and self-management education.

“Ohio is one of just four states that doesn’t mandate that private insurance companies cover diabetes education and testing supplies for people with diabetes,” said Gavlak.

In addition to a palm reader, a silent auction and plenty of gourmet food, the event also featured music from Dr. Mo, which is fronted by Monica Robins, the Senior Health correspondent for WKYC Channel 3 News. Robins, whose father passed away as a result of diabetes, was also the mistress of ceremonies for the event.

Among the more than 500 people in attendance were Dr. Sanjit Bindra and Dr. Kevin Borst, who head the Diabetes and Endocrine Center at Lakewood Hospital.

“Diabetes is not a disease that you can simply throw medicine at,” said Bindra, who has worked at the Center for almost five years. “It’s true that diet, education and exercise are key.”

Also in attendance was Janice Murphy, who has served as president of both Lakewood Hospital since 2010 and Fairview Hospital since 2007.

“This is such a good cause, it’s just so important for our community,” said Murphy. “The beauty of this event is that it’s a celebration for both Lakewood Hospital as well as for the entire city of Lakewood.”

Those who would like to contribute to the Diabetes Assistance Initiative should call the Lakewood Hospital Foundation at 216-529-7009.



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