Barbara Roos has earned the unofficial title of “Gala Matriarch” at the JDRF Georgia Chapter, and for good reason. For years she has led the charge, collaborating with staff and community leaders to ensure that the most effective chairs, honorees and committee members are recruited for their Hope for a Cure Gala.
Barbara and her husband Duke became involved with JDRF when their daughter Debby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of twelve. Twenty years later, the family suffered the ultimate loss when Debby passed away from complications related to the disease in 1996. “This disease has broken my heart, never to be mended,” Barbara says. While many would have moved on from JDRF at the passing of a loved one, Barbara and Duke have remained dedicated volunteers for more than three decades, touching the lives of others in their daughter’s memory. “It is an insidious disease that changes your life,” Barbara says. She and her husband plan to continue the fight until T1D is fully conquered, so that the day will come when no one will have to endure its wrath. “I can’t bear the thought that one more mother has to confront T1D. Trust me, this is a battlefield I will never leave,” she proclaimed in a recent speech.
It makes sense that Barbara is deeply involved with the Gala. She is a well-known senior designer with Bold American Events in Atlanta. Her planning expertise and in-kind donation of her services result in a visionary Gala year after year. She has also helped organize other chapter events including Walk kick offs and annual meetings. “I strive for perfection and I love my job,” Barbara says about her career. It shows in each unique experience and lasting memory she creates. She acknowledges that she does not do it alone and credits her professional friends, clients and talented team for joining her in the mission to find a cure for T1D.
Not only does Barbara donate her own services, but she knows how to persuade other highly influential individuals and companies to do the same. “Barbara is very business savvy,” says Trey Moore, Executive Director of the Georgia Chapter. “She is an excellent procurer of in-kind and donated items. She keeps her eye on the bottom line. She acquires Gala sponsorships and annually secures a fully donated pre-Gala patron party. Barbara routinely over-delivers on every commitment made.”
Barbara’s deep involvement with JDRF is shared by her family. She and Duke were the first recipients of the Living & Giving Award at the Georgia Chapter years ago. Duke is enormously committed, sitting on the Chapter Board of Directors for sixteen years in various roles. He also leads Team Roos at Atlanta’s Walk to Cure Diabetes, having raised as much as $50,000 in one year. Her son Alan and daughter-in-law Mary, along with their children Elizabeth and David, are also involved with the Walk. Elizabeth spoke with Barbara at the Gala one year; they received a standing ovation.
Barbara is one of the most well-respected volunteers at our Georgia Chapter, and has been for thirty years. With utter grace and perseverance, she is determined to help annihilate the disease that took her daughter. When asked what a cure would mean to her, Barbara simply says, “Everything you can imagine.”