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Gratitude for Generosity: Brian and Kate Groat’s Journey with SDRI

SDRI is immensely grateful to our generous donors, Brian and Kate Groat, who were profoundly supported in their journey with diabetes in pregnancy.

Living with type 1 diabetes for over 30 years, Kate wanted to be proactive in minimizing any risks or health complications when planning for her first pregnancy. Thankfully, Kate was referred to SDRI by a relative of Brian’s who knew the Institute was a global expert for care during diabetes in pregnancy. Shortly after Kate became a patient of SDRI, the couple regularly flew from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara to attend monthly appointments with the late Lois Jovanovic, MD, a pioneer in establishing protocols for diabetes in pregnancy treatment.

“She (Dr. Jovanovic) was a sparkplug of bright red lipstick and a wealth of information,” Kate noted. “She was exceptionally brilliant and advised me of things that weren’t even on my radar.”

Early on in Katie’s pregnancy, Dr. Jovanovic set clear health goals to help keep her blood glucose levels in a targeted range to keep both mother and baby healthy. With the guidance of Dr. Jovanovic, Kate maintained an A1c of five throughout the gestation of her pregnancy. Kate knew managing her diabetes in pregnancy wouldn’t be easy, but with Dr. Jovanovic’s mentorship and Brian’s steadfast involvement, she was up to the challenge.

“The biggest worry I had as a physician was that our babies would have difficulty in utero if they were exposed to high blood sugar levels,” said Brian.

Brian and Kate quickly learned they could also rely on the diabetes expertise of Kristin Castorino, DO, who was mentored and worked alongside Dr. Jovanovic for many years. The SDRI team was prompt and answered every call, email, and concern throughout their journey, added Kate. “It was so impactful for us to have Dr. Castorino, knowing she had all the same information and tools as Lois,” Brian added.

After many visits with SDRI and her local physicians, Kate gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Emma, who is now 10 years old. With the continued care of Dr. Castorino, Kate and Brian were later able to conceive two more children, Annie, age 5, and Calvin, age 3.

The care Kate received at SDRI throughout her pregnancies inspired the Groat’s to give back to the organization that helped them become parents.

“There is nothing more important in our lives than our children, so we want to give to those who do such critical work supporting women who just want to have kids,” said Brian.