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Plymouth couple to be honored for supporting diabetes research

Sean, Moira, and Lauren Stanford.
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Sean, Moira, and Lauren Stanford.

Moira McCarthy Stanford and her husband, Sean Stanford, have been advocates for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation since their youngest daughter, Lauren, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 6 years old.

Now the dedication of the Plymouth couple is being honored by the foundation’s New England chapter at its 34th annual gala on May 14 in Boston. Lauren Stanford, now 24, is a health-care lobbyist in Washington.

“The progress and improvements in Lauren’s life that is the direct result of [the foundation’s] fund-raising and advocacy has been astounding,” said Moira Stanford, a freelance writer.

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Her involvement began not long after Lauren’s diagnosis, she said, when she and her older daughter were at Marshalls in Plymouth and they were asked whether they wanted to donate $1 to diabetes research.

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“I said, sure, and my daughter, who was 10, said, ‘Don’t you think you should do more than that?’” Stanford said. “A light went off in my head, and I contacted JDRF.”

The Stanfords’ involvement started in 1997 when they began a Boston Walk fund-raising team, raising $486 then and hundreds of thousands of dollars since. In 2000, Moira Stanford joined the foundation’s New England chapter’s board of directors, serving as advocacy team chairwoman and president. In 2007, she received the foundation’s International Volunteer of the Year award. The Stanfords were named chair family for the organization’s biennial Children’s Congress in 2005.

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Lauren and Moira Stanford on bikes at JDRF ride in Wisconsin last year.

Moira Stanford has also traveled the country giving motivational speeches on diabetes, and the family regularly participates in the foundation’s Ride to Cure Diabetes, for which she recruited so many new riders that she earned its Yellow Jersey for top recruiter and the Rose Promise Jersey as the most dedicated rider.

The experience of diabetes in the family, she said, “challenged our family to do things we might not have otherwise,” adding that one of her greatest thrills came last year “when Lauren and I finished the 100-mile JDRF ride in Wisconsin together.”

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Her volunteering ways, she said, “gives me hope, and when you have a child with a chronic disease that takes constant intervention, hope is a powerful tool.”

Paul E. Kandarian can be contacted at pkandarian@aol.com.