Tampa Attorney Raises the Bar in Fundraising for Diabetes

Tampa, Fla. – Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP healthcare attorney Erin Aebel is the top participant fundraiser for this weekend’s 2013 Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, the signature fundraising walk of the American Diabetes Association.

Diabetes is genetic in Aebel’s family, but somehow she managed to dodge the bullet. Her nine-year-old daughter Lillian, however, was not so lucky. At just four years old, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. “I am a type A personality; everything in my life is controlled. When my daughter was born with this chronic disease, it traumatized and changed us,” said Erin Aebel. “Now I am on a mission to do whatever I can to make sure she has a good life.”

That mission includes not only fundraising, but also lobbying in Washington, DC, advocating for better treatment and understanding for students with diabetes in Florida schools. This year, Aebel took the entire family to lobby in Washington. “Every other year we do our call to Congress; we meet with our representatives about the importance of continuing the funding.”

While there, they met with Congresswoman Kathy Castor and top officials from Senators Nelson and Rubio's offices, about how to help children with the disease. “There is discrimination because people aren't properly educated,” said Aebel.  “Schools mean well but they don't understand. For instance, they've changed the law in Florida to allow staff other than nurses help kids with diabetes test their blood sugar at school or give shots, which should be a relief that other people can now be trained. Instead though, schools are so scared of liability they are making the kids do things they don’t need to be doing, like insisting that the school nurse is the only person who can assist them. Getting the message out to schools about what the law allows is sometimes challenging,” said Aebel.

Aebel and her entire family will be walking with the Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP team at the Step Out Walk in Tampa Bay on November 9th, 2013 at the University of South Florida. “Erin Smith Aebel is the definition of Champion to Stop Diabetes,” said Carly Cady, executive director for the American Diabetes Association.  “Not only is she one of the top individual fundraisers for the Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, she is also currently serving as the Chair of our Community Leadership Board.  She is one of our most passionate and tireless volunteers - lending a hand or leading an effort whenever we need it,” said Cady. 

Aebel also served as Walk Chair for two years. “When Lillian was diagnosed, we were devastated, but I am not the type of person to go into depression; I go into overdrive. I am not a scientist so I can't find a cure, but I am a health care attorney and I can raise money and awareness,” she said.

Step Out has been taking place for more than 20 years and has raised more than $175,000,000 to Stop Diabetes! More than 120,000 participants from 120 walk events across the country came together last year to raise over $24 million. Step Out participants are committed to walk and raise money in this inspirational event not because 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, but because they walk among us in our lives and at the event.

Erin Aebel is certified as a health law specialist by the Florida Bar and is the co-chair of the health law department at her law firm.  Her clients include physicians, physician group practices, diagnostic imaging centers, pharmacies, clinical laboratories and medical spas.  She regularly advises clients on Stark and fraud and abuse, HIPAA and licensure issues arising from joint ventures, acquisitions and changes of ownership.  Aebel regularly prepares and negotiates physician employment agreements, physician recruitment agreements, medical director agreements and sales and mergers of health care providers.  Aebel received her J.D., cum laude, from Loyola University and her B.A., magna cum laude, from Loyola University.

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Founded in 1925, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP is a full service business law firm with more than 225 attorneys practicing in Toledo and Columbus, Ohio; Tampa and Sarasota, Florida; and Charlotte, North Carolina.

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