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ISPAD Hero Award 2019

David Panzirer

has won the ISPAD Hero Award for 2019


David Panzirer is a Trustee of The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. David is the grandson of Leona Helmsley and was appointed as both a Trustee and an Executor of the Helmsley estate upon her passing in 2007.


A former real estate executive, David’s personal passion – improving the lives of those with type 1 diabetes (T1D) – has led Helmsley to become the leading funder in the battle against T1D. Months before his grandmother’s death, David’s oldest child Morgan was diagnosed with the relentless autoimmune disease, followed more recently by his daughter Caroline’s diagnosis in 2017. David’s vision is for no parent to ever feel helpless in the face of a T1D diagnosis, which drives a targeted grantmaking program to fund innovative work with the potential to advance our understanding of the disease and improve the lives of those living with it today.


Taking on long-term, high-risk projects that others will not or cannot fund, Helmsley’s T1D Program strives to ease the burden of managing the disease while continuing to search for the elusive cure. David serves as a leader in fostering collaboration with all other funders in the space, such as NIDDK within the NIH, JDRF, the Diabetes Research Institute, and the American Diabetes Association, as well as stakeholders in industry, academia, private philanthropy, government, and patient communities.


Prior to joining the Helmsley Charitable Trust, David enjoyed a 10-year career in New York City as a commercial real estate broker. His knowledge of the city and deep understanding of the real estate business allowed him to develop a trail of success as Vice President of Leasing at RFR Realty, LLC. David previously spent five years working as a project manager and director of operations at several Helmsley entities. David began his career with a technical education in air conditioning, heating and refrigeration from the Lincoln Technical Institute, and takes great pride in every aspect of his fulfilling and wide-ranging career. 


David was not able to attend the ceremony to receive the prize in person during the 45th Annual ISPAD Conference in Boston, USA, and has sent this acceptance speech:


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