Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian Monday announced a $3 million gift from the Iacocca Family Foundation to expand a program for type 1 diabetes at the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center.

In appreciation of the gift, Hoag is naming the Mary & Lee Iacocca Program in Type 1 Diabetes to honor the foundation’s mission to fund diabetes research that could lead to a cure for the disease and alleviate its complications.

Onetime Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Corp. executive Lee Iacocca, who died in 2019, established the foundation in 1984, after his wife, Mary, died from complications of type 1 diabetes. Since its inception, the Iacocca Family Foundation has funded more than $40 million in promising research projects.

“We could not be more grateful to the Iacocca Family Foundation for supporting Hoag’s role in becoming the preeminent, trusted destination for comprehensive type 1 diabetes care in Orange County,” said Flynn A. Andrizzi, president of the Hoag Hospital Foundation.

“This gift facilitates research and educational programs to expand our knowledge of diabetes prevention and management and will help provide truly comprehensive, connected and customized care for the lives of people living with diabetes and their families,” Andrizzi said.

Hoag’s Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center offers traditional clinical services, dietitians, nurse educators, health coaches, support groups, pump trainings and a specialized pharmacist, as well as access to cutting-edge technology through clinical trials.

“Through the Mary & Lee Iacocca Program, patients with type 1 diabetes have an Orange County hub for patient-centered care across their entire lifespan,” according to a hospital statement. “From supporting pediatric patients and their families, to successfully transitioning adolescents into young adulthood, to navigating healthy pregnancies and to reducing long-term complications in older populations, the program provides care that is tailored to an individual’s personality, cultural upbringing and values.”

Lee and Mary Iacocca’s daughters, Lia Assad and Kate Hentz, said they are carrying on their parents’ legacy by establishing the program on the West Coast on behalf of the family’s foundation.

“Until we find a cure, it feels right to help people with diabetes through a program that has an immediate impact on their day-to-day lives,” Hentz said.

Assad, an Orange County resident, agreed.

“It’s important to me that families right here in our community have the resources and support they need,” she said.

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