Educate. Empower. Prevent.

Division of the J. Moss Foundation

My Story

My name is Marlayna. This is my story….


It’s my life’s journey towards becoming who I am today.  Since it is rather long, I have broken it into chapters, so you can read it at your leisure. Each step along the way has had its own particular relevance to me today.

It begins like this….

I guess from some perspective, it could be considered odd.

I was lucky. I found my passion in 2002. At the time, I probably would have described it as merely needing to find an answer to a question that I couldn’t seem to shake WHY?

I found that the more I searched for an answer, the more questions I seemed to find. Then before I knew it, I had turned a chapter in my life and my previous career ambitions had come to an end. A new chapter had begun; one that would be the beginning of my story and would lead me to the life I choose to live today.

I’m beginning to see that my life is written very much like a book, but I’m not the only author. Last month a scene was written into my life that concluded with a blank page, an empty slate and a question; it was my opportunity to create, with intention, the next steps my life would take.  Now that my actions have chosen the path, I wait with anxious anticipation to see how my co-author will direct me through it.

Before I show you how my chapter ended, I want to go back and share how my story had begun.


Last month, I was sitting at a table in Union Square in San Francisco. It was a beautiful sunny day. I watched as people sprawled across the grass to eat or read a book. Despite the busy intersections and numerous construction projects underway, everything felt so still and peaceful. I remember thinking in that moment, how much I enjoyed living life.

After sitting there for about 5 minutes, I began talking to the lady at the table next to me. She had recently rescued her puppy from an animal shelter and wanted to acclimate him to city noises, so they were waiting in the square while her boyfriend was getting an eye exam.  She was killing time; I was enjoying my vacation time, so naturally…we chatted.

It started off like any other normal conversation. What’s your name? Where do you live? What do you do? I recited my answers thoughtlessly, like I had hundreds of times before. Then it happened. When I told her what I do for a living, she paused, and overtly examined me from head to toe. Then with a very puzzled look on her face, she uttered the same 3 letter word that started my journey 9 years ago. Why?”


It actually happens pretty frequently. People are curious to know why I have chosen to dedicate my life to preventing diabetes. As I mentioned in the beginning, I suppose from some perspective, it could be considered odd. Why would a 30-something year old, petite woman be so passionate about preventing diabetes that she would start a diabetes prevention, non-profit organization. This is particularly perplexing to people when I reveal that I do not have diabetes, nor do my sibling or parents.

I think it’s all a matter of perspective. Where some may say, “why you”, my perspective has always been, “Why not me”.

Although I’ve answered the question, WHY, countless times, this time was different.  This time, the answer didn’t feel like a simple exchange or conversation. It felt like a prelude into what would become a new chapter for me, a better story my life was about to live. 


The moment the words escaped from my lips, I knew I was only telling a portion of the story. The part people wanted to hear. The part I felt comfortable telling.

The truth is that few things about preventing diabetes are comfortable or easy; but they are necessary.

Prevention is a process, not a pill. It’s about long-terms solutions, not band-aids. It’s a choice to live life, not to have it taken from you.  Prevention is not where you simply end up, it’s something you arrive to and strive to.

I have learned that the prevention process usually has 3 stages:

1stThe Beginning– WHY it started, such as: genetics, environment, self-esteem, or abuse

2ndThe Catalyst– WHAT happened to propel them towards prevention

3rd The Motivation-WHO keeps them on the path to success

As I sat there in Union Square, answering the question “WHY”, it occurred to me for the first time that my answer was incomplete. All these years, my story began in the middle. It began with the catalyst. It wasn’t the answer to the WHY, it was the WHAT.

 Click here to read the next section…

THE CATALYST – What I thought was the beginning

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