Thursday, August 27, 2009

Celebrity Link to Type 1 Diabetes Further Connects the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Georgia Chapter and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Georgia

/PRNewswire/ -- For Laura Putnam and her children, this past Saturday night will be one to remember for a very long time. Thanks to the efforts of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGA), a family from Columbus, GA had a brush with fame - an in-person meet-and-greet with the Jonas Brothers in Atlanta.

Putnam, a BCBSGA employee with two of her three children (Tommy, 11 and Lauren, 14) diagnosed and living with type 1 diabetes, was chosen as the on-site JDRF Ambassador family for BCBSGA's efforts supporting the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes at Centennial Olympic Park on Oct. 17. When JDRF heard about the family's love for the Jonas Brothers, they went to work, securing them four tickets and a special chance to meet their idol, Nick Jonas, who is an active spokesperson for JDRF as he too is diagnosed and living with type 1 diabetes.

"The JDRF organization and BCBSGA have been there for us during our family's most difficult moments," said Laura Putnam. "Being able to attend the Jonas Brothers concert and meet them in person was an extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime gift for my children. Nick Jonas is so open about his diabetes and is such a role model for my kids - he encourages all children to be dedicated to their health, openly pursue their dreams and never let anything slow them down."

"JDRF is immensely appreciative of BCBSGA's continued participation," said Clanci Jordan, Executive Director. "This is corporate citizenship at its finest. BCBSGA's commitment enables us to accelerate research to find a cure for diabetes. Insulin is not a cure, merely life support for the estimated 3 million Americans suffering from type 1 diabetes and its complications. Research is the only answer."

More than 7,000 walkers representing local corporations, families, schools and other organizations are expected to participate in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes in Atlanta, where there will be live music, Moon Bounces, and a variety of food and entertainment. On-site registration begins at 8 a.m. and the entire walk is approximately three miles long. The fundraising goal of the Walk is to realize more than $2 million for research to find a cure for diabetes and its complications. Local JDRF Walk Sponsors include: BCBSGA, Cisco, AT&T, Melvin S. Roos & Co., InterContinental Hotels Group and Delta Airlines.

"At BCBSGA, we choose to align with organizations that support our core health initiatives and have a track record for delivering on their promises, which ultimately result in a measurable affect on the community - JDRF does this and so much more," said Monye Connolly, President, BCBSGA. "It is our mission to have a direct impact on the well-being of the customers we serve and the overall health of our communities."

The Columbus walk on Oct. 3 will be host to approximately 1,000 walkers and is expected to raise $120,000. This year two new walks have been added in Georgia: a North Metro Atlanta Walk in the Johns Creek area will take place Oct. 4 and is anticipated to have 3,000 walkers raising $350,000; and in Augusta a new site will be host to the walk on Nov. 7.

In addition to wide-spread corporate support, entire families from kids to grandparents take part in the fundraising efforts of the Walk to Cure Diabetes - many are affected, but even those who are not among the 14 million Americans with a personal connection to type 1 diabetes participate. Currently, there are approximately 500,000 Georgians living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

The celebrity connection doesn't stop with Nick Jonas, actor Kevin Kline is the National Chair of JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes. Mr. Kline has been a celebrity JDRF advocate for the past four years.

"Those of us who are blessed with good health must do all we can to help support the research community in their search for a cure for juvenile diabetes," said Kevin Kline. "The daily regimen of finger pricks and injections of insulin, combined with the constant dread of complications, are burdens that no child should have to endure."

JDRF Walks are held in more than 200 cities worldwide. Nearly 500,000 people nationally walked last year and raised $94 million to cure diabetes.

JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes National Corporate Partners include: Advance Auto Parts, Albertsons, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., Discover Financial Services, Ford Motor Company, Fresh Market, Lifescan, Marshalls, Old Orchard, UBS, Turner and Walgreens. Unite to Cure Diabetes partners are: Delta Air Lines, and Medtronic MiniMed.

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