Gail Daruvala was the first DRWF member and a committed supporter of the charity.
The American poet Maya Angelou once said “The difference between charity and philanthropy is the distance of the soul… to be philanthropic is to give something, to be charitable is to give one’s own heart.”
I’m sure many would agree this sums up our wonderful friend Gail Daruvala who recently passed away. Gail, who had type 2 diabetes, was an avid supporter of DRWF since the charity’s inception 20 years ago, regularly reminding us that she was our first member.
Gail felt passionate about raising awareness of diabetes and making sure others had support in managing theirs. The research that DRWF funds was always important to Gail and she often commented on how vital it was, not only to people with diabetes now but future generations. In addition to being very generous with regular donations and spreading the word about our work, Gail often provided raffle prizes for our fundraising efforts, would delight in taking part in quizzes and cookery demonstrations and eagerly throw herself in to all sorts of activities at our educational retreats.
Gail attended almost every one of our 17 Diabetes Wellness Weekends and travelled all over the country with us to attend this annual event. She always actively took part in each session, engaging with the speakers, asking lots of questions and would often take centre stage much to the amusement of her fellow delegates.
Gail was also a regular on our “Active with Diabetes” Walking Holidays, where we enjoyed Gail’s company, wisdom and observations on our many hikes through the beautiful landscape of the UK. In later years the walks became a little too challenging for her, but that didn’t stop her whole-heartedly taking part in the Tai Chi, Pilates and Nordic walking classes we held.
In 2016 Lee Calladine and Claire Levy from DRWF were delighted to join Gail’s family and friends in Twickenham to celebrate her milestone 80th birthday, where, once again Gail asked for donations to be made to DRWF.
Lee said: “We were always in her mind and for that we are truly and eternally grateful. Gail had a unique wit, a twinkle in her eye and an inner warmth that meant you couldn’t help but love her. She called everyone she met ‘my dear’. She was from the ‘old school’, a kind, caring, warm and genuine soul, who as Maya said, “gave of her own heart.”
“As you can see Gail has played a huge part in DRWF’s first 20 years. Thank you for being part of that journey Gail. We will strive to carry on the work you have helped support this far. It goes without saying, that we are going to miss you very much, but you will always be part of our DRWF family.”