JDRF Leadership Fraud: After hundreds of thousands of dollars are missing, where do we go from here?

Editor's Note: This article was originally written by patient expert Kim Benjet.

I was aghast yesterday when I received an e-mail from my JDRF Chapter Executive Director about an alleged fraud that had occurred at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's National Office. The incident was reported in yesterday's NY Times. According to the NY Times, a National Director and National Manager are being investigated for defrauding JDRF through a scheme of false receipts.

I'm glad that the JDRF internal audit uncovered what many are calling a fraud that involves hundreds of thousands of dollars missing. The individuals in question have been terminated, and JDRF has requested an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney. The email I received from my JDRF Chapter emphasized that appropriate action was being taken, that JDRF uncovered it and that their "controls" apparently worked.

It's unfortunate that there is no formal statement on the JDRF National website yet. This is not something that can be swept under the carpet. Yes, I know all organizations may face theft, but JDRF had a stellar reputation up to this point.

Families like mine work hard to raise money that we entrust to JDRF to spend on RESEARCH

But will this news stop me from continuing to support JDRF?

Absolutely NOT. JDRF remains the largest funder of type 1 diabetes research aside from the U.S. Government. Having worked on numerous JDRF events, I'm confident that the organization is committed to being a good steward of our donations. I remain impressed by the low overhead of events such as JDRF's Walks and Galas. And I'm excited about the research that is funded -- Novocell's breakthrough stem cell research in mice was partially funded by JDRF (see Dr. Bill Quick's blog about the research).

Yesterday's news angers me, but the work goes on.