Berrie Center Benefactor Michael Sapraicone
“I’ve Been Lucky in Life”

Meet Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, patient and benefactor, Michael D. Sapraicone. Once, after watching children play with the toys in the waiting room, he sent over iPads in hopes of improving the experience. Next came the iWatches, when he learned how people wearing Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) could track their glucose levels on the small device. Mike, as he likes to be called, sponsors the Berrie Center’s annual Summer Fun program and says of his life, “I’ve been very lucky and it’s important to give back. If I can bring a smile to a little kid’s face, why wouldn’t I want to help out? I like to do it.”

Mike, who has had type 2 diabetes (T2D) for the last 10 years, says he’s grateful to his care team at the Berrie Center—especially to his doctor, Co-Director Robin Goland, MD, the J. Merrill Eastman Professor of Clinical Diabetes at Columbia, who helped improve Mike’s diabetes management regimen. Thanks to Dr. Goland and team, he says, he has lost weight, started walking a mile a day and significantly lowered his A1C. “She’s probably the nicest person I’ve ever met in my life,” said Mike, 62, a father of five who was born and raised in Queens.  “Before I met Dr. Goland, I was always scared to go the doctor because I thought I’d get yelled at. Dr. Goland never does anything except talk to me nicely and explain things to me.  She always seems to find the good in my bad. It’s a pleasure to go to my visits.”

Mike is the president and owner of a company called Squad Security, founded in 1992 and now a global security company with a long roster of multinational clients. Before that, Mike rose through the ranks of the New York City police department to Detective First Grade, an elite designation for the department’s most senior and experienced men and women. All 800 Squad Security employees are current or retired law enforcement, which is Mike’s niche in a business that does everything from providing transportation to top executives—to escort consumer products from the manufacturer to distribution center. “Anything that requires investigation or protection,” said Mike whose company provides security each year for the Columbus Day Parade, “we’re pretty much a one-stop shop.”

The Berrie Center is on Mike’s long list of favorite philanthropic endeavors that also includes Holy Cross High School in Flushing NY and Tomorrow’s Hope, a Catholic organization that gives scholarships to young people in the Rockville Centre diocese on Long Island. “We’ve been involved in a million things over the years,” he said about himself and wife Eileen, a New York State Family Court Judge. “My parents weren’t wealthy by any means, but they always taught me that you should try to do the right thing.” 

He continued, “I have a really great life, no complaints at all. It’s been a really good run so far, and Robin makes it easier.”