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Metrolina Region ‘hopes’ for a cure
Nov 19, 2018

Many, if not most of us, can think of someone affected by type 1 Diabetes – there are about 1.25 million people living in the U.S. with it today. That’s why BB&T’s Metrolina Region has made it their mission to fight for a cure with the help of a great annual event.

BB&T was the honoree at this year’s 18th Annual Hope Gala hosted by the Greater Western Carolinas chapter of JDRF in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Nov. 3. JDRF is a nonprofit organization that funds type 1 diabetes research and advocates for regulation favorable to medical research that makes it easier to market new medical devices. The Hope Gala is JDRF’s largest signature event.

As honoree, the BB&T Hope Gala Committee secured sponsorships, contributions and auction items on behalf of BB&T to help raise money for JDRF – a responsibility for which the committee takes pride. After all, supporting JDRF is nothing new for the Metrolina Region, which has championed the organization’s cause for years.

“We do this because we believe we can make a significant impact in the fight to end type 1 diabetes (T1D), and JDRF is the global leading funder of T1D research,” said Aileen Mackall, regional corporate banker and JDRF committee member. Mackall, herself, is a huge advocate for diabetes research – her husband lives with the disease every day.

In total, the Metrolina Region helped raise over $1.4 million this year for JDRF.

“There are no words I can say to thank each of you enough for everything you have done for JDRF over the past year to help make Gala a huge success,” said Jamie Hayes, JDRF executive director. “BB&T is truly an amazing company, but that is because it has amazing people working for and leading it.  You are all such wonderfully kind, generous people, and it has been just a joy to work alongside each of you for this great cause.”

But it’s not just a singular, centralized group that has taken part in this effort. BB&T’s Hope Gala Committee had representation from all across its Metrolina Region, including Regional President Wes Beckner, Regional Corporate Banking Manager Chris Hill, Mackall, Commercial Real Estate Manager Martin Fahsel, Grandbridge President Matt Rocco, Sterling Capital Group Manager Stewart Boswell, Scott & Stringfellow Managing Director Darby Henley, McGriff Insurance Agency Executive Ray Sanders, Investment Regional Sales Manager Tom Smith, Retirement & Institutional Services New Business Development Officer Ben Yeakley, Market President George MacBain, Wealth Division Manager Ralph Borrello, Retail Banking Manager Liz Kakacek and Wealth Regional Director Mark Maraffi. Many of the region’s financial centers also participated in the campaign to raise money this summer.

Beckner acknowledges how the mission of JDRF helps us fulfill our own mission at BB&T.

“BB&T is proud of its association with JDRF and honored to play a small role in their world-wide efforts to help end type 1 diabetes,” Beckner said. “While JDRF works every day to change the reality of this disease for millions of people, BB&T works to make the communities in which we work a better place to live. These two parallel missions are hand-in-glove, and our work to support JDRF is important not only to us as a corporation but to our associates and clients as well. We were very excited about our involvement with this year’s Hope Gala, and we’re so proud of the tremendous response of our region to support this important cause.”

In addition, Beckner and Borrello, Hope Gala corporate chairs, received the 2018 Living and Giving Award for their commitment in helping fund type 1 diabetes research. Market President George McBain accepted the award on behalf of Borello.

To learn more about JDRF, visit

Images provided by Greater Western Carolinas chapter of JDRF.

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