Like many families when first faced with type 1 diabetes (T1D), Sarah Lucas and her husband Don found themselves in unfamiliar waters, anxious and overwhelmed when their daughter Mary was diagnosed in 1998. “We weren’t certain what to do, but we knew we had to do something that would help us gain a foothold, and for our family that meant contributing to a cure,” Sarah says. In 2002, all signs pointed toward creating something big: the JDRF Greater Bay Area Chapter was in need of a signature event in Silicon Valley, the Ritz-Carlton was just opening its doors in Half Moon Bay, and the Lucas family was ready to launch Spring Fling as an event to raise awareness and funds for JDRF.
As an event designer and frequent hostess, Sarah had the skill set to create a large scale event. This combined with Don’s talent of encouraging people to put their philanthropic dollars toward a cure for T1D was a great start.Spring Fling began simply, as a golf tournament and dinner party, and evolved to include a lunch event for women, a shopping experience, celebrity guests and a welcome event. “Spring Fling was based on how we entertain in our home: relaxed, elegant, with a twist of the unexpected – always fun. This was the secret to the success,” she recalls.
From 2002 to 2014, Spring Fling entertained and educated thousands of guests, embraced themes from PopArt to vintage circus, and raised over $7.5 million. “The event provided comfort for those newly diagnosed, gave the children a day to be with others sharing their journey, offered friends the opportunity to support those in their lives struggling with the daily balancing act; this event provided joy, hope and community all in one,” Sarah says.
Founding and chairing Spring Fling is just one way that Sarah has made a difference. She has attended the JDRF Children’s Congress in Washington, D.C. with Mary, served as VP of Signature Events on the Greater Bay Area Chapter Board of Directors and chaired the Hope Gala in both 2010 and 2012. “Sarah is an inspiration to our chapter,” says Julie Rickert, Executive Director of the Greater Bay Area Chapter. “Her attention to detail and passion for our cause has kept us motivated to produce outstanding signature events that will raise the most money possible for T1D research.”
“The biggest lesson learned from Spring Fling is to use your talents and skills in whatever way is available, to be a part of the larger JDRF picture,” Sarah says. “We are pleased with the impact Spring Fling has made, the opportunities it has afforded my children to participate, and year after year proving the model that fundraising should be fun. We look forward to the new challenges ahead and to supporting JDRF’s efforts to turn ‘Type One into Type None” and have been honored to help pave that path.”