Yael (Gail) Sackstein was born in Queens, NY in 1939 to Raya, a Russian immigrant, and to Yekutiel, who died shortly before she was born. Yael married in the late 1950's and was a kindergarten teacher in Brooklyn, NY. She was blessed with two daughters, Elana and Dena. While pregnant with Dena in 1970, she developed gestational diabetes and was unable to rid herself of this disease and soon required insulin. She became divorced in 1975 and Yael and the girls settled in Bucks Country, PA where she worked three jobs - a social worker in Trenton, NJ, a Hebrew School instructor and Youth Group advisor. The high stress life of multiple jobs and single motherhood hindered proper management of her diabetes. As a result, by the time she was 60, she began to suffer end-stage symptoms of diabetic retinopathy and soon thereafter loss of renal function. She moved to Arizona to be closer to her children and grandchildren but in her final years, she was struggling physically. Yael lost nearly all her sight and mobility and was on dialysis by 2007. She made the brave decision to discontinue dialysis treatment on January 5 and moved to Hospice of the Valley on January 9 where she received wonderful care. She lost her battle with her illness on January 17, 2009 when she died peacefully in her sleep.
If you would like to make a donation to Gail's Memorial in support of diabetes research, please click here.