Friday, March 8, 2013

“With a Little Help From Our Friends,” we can fight type 1 diabetes

That’s not only a paraphrased line from a great Beatles song but also the theme of this year’s Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Promise Ball 2013.

JDRF is an organization founded in Philadelphia 42 years ago by Lee Ducat, whose son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was nine years old. She asked his doctor at The Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania if the diagnosis meant her son would be dependent on insulin for the rest of his life. When he responded that things could change if they had money for research, Ducat’s mind was made up. She threw a cocktail party on May 21, 1970 - and JDRF was born.

Since then, the organization has awarded more than $1.7 billion to diabetes research and has become the leading global organization focused on Type 1 diabetes. The organization’s mission is to encompass every life stage: stopping or slowing the disease’s progression in people newly diagnosed, reversing it in those who have lived with it for years, avoiding or reversing complications, and preventing the disease in people at risk and in future generations. JDRF’s leadership, research funding and advocacy efforts have led to many innovations in the fight against Type 1 diabetes and are a true source of inspiration to all of us.  That’s why we chose to partner with them.

As part of our own mission, UnitedHealthcare works to build and maintain strong relationships in our local communities and work collaboratively with like-minded organizations that share our commitment to help people live healthier lives. Partners like JDRF. We’ve been involved with their Walk to Cure Diabetes and Promise Ball for the past several years. In 2009 and 2010, I was corporate chair for the Walk to Cure Diabetes. The latter year, JDRF named our key accounts director for Eastern Pennsylvania Volunteer of the Year for his pivotal role in raising more than $4 million for the event – the most in its then 40-year history in Philadelphia.

This year, the Eastern Pennsylvania/Delaware chapter has delighted us by naming UnitedHealthcare and me as the 2013 honorees at this year’s Promise Ball. We couldn’t be more proud! It is a great honor to be recognized by an organization that began with such a passionate, dedicated woman and is now run by volunteers equally determined to find a cure. The 2013 Promise Ball is expected to provide more than 600 of the Philadelphia area's most prominent business leaders, professionals, and community members a high-energy, yet elegant, evening of dinner, a silent and live auction and dancing to the sounds of the Fab Four, the ultimate Beatles tribute band, with fantastic opportunities to support Type 1 diabetes research. The event will take place Saturday, April 27, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia.

Come join us, I can guarantee there won’t be any singing out of tune!

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