The Diabetes Research Institute is one of those places that, walking through its halls, you feel inspired. (I feel the same way when I walk through the Joslin Clinic in Boston – true diabetes magic happening there.) The people there are focused solely on finding a cure for diabetes, and that’s a mission I can truly get behind. Today, the DRI’s Tom Karlya is sharing some information on the Reason to Believe campaign.
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Kerri: Hi Tom! You and I have worked together in the past, and I’m very familiar with your passion for finding a cure for this disease that both your kids and I share. For those who don’t know, what is the Diabetes Research Institute and what is your role there?
Tom: Thanks Kerri, over the years it has been exciting to work alongside you to help the diabetes community.
The DRI is the largest and most comprehensive research center in the world with a multidisciplinary team of scientists passionately committed to curing diabetes in the fastest, safest and most efficient way possible. We are solely dedicated to curing diabetes by finding a biological cure – restoring natural insulin production in patients. This has been and will continue to be our singular focus until that goal is reached. And it will be reached.
Kerri: I’ve heard a lot about the Diabetes Diplomats, and I know that outreach effort has engaged an amazing group of people. Who are the Diabetes Diplomats, and what are they all about?
Tom: This program was created so people with, and even without, diabetes can run programs right in their own community. Kids, adults, Grand Parents, workers, students, all get involved. School site events, community involvement events, and even personal fund raising pages can all be used to both educate and help raise funds. Big events are great; the Diabetes Diplomats are more grass roots and local where the person running the event is the central point. It is so easy even kids in Kindergarten have been the central point of a Diabetes Diplomat program. We are using our Reason to Believe Campaign as a jump start for everyone to hear about the program and get involved. Fifth Season American Idol Finalist and Actor Kevin Covais is our spokesperson, we are thrilled with everyone who is getting involved.
Kerri: For Diabetes Month, I’ve seen the amazing Reason to Believe campaign that the DRI has kicked off. Can you tell us more about that campaign, and what the goal is?
Tom: Clearly managing diabetes is so crucially important but the idea of a cure is just as alive today as it ever has been. Curing it has been and will continue to be our singular goal. With that idea in mind there is a Reason to Believe. The notion of a cure is not pie-in-the sky. It is real. I invite anyone to visit the DRI and touch hope … this hope is real and anyone telling you it’s not is wrong. Is it tomorrow, no it is not. But if more places collaborated and more money was spent on research that will actually make a difference; I assure you we would get there much quicker. People DO believe in a cure and the very reasons are the loved ones they have living with diabetes. People can click here to learn more and see some incredible videos of people who have a Reason to Believe.
Kerri: How can the amazing diabetes online community get involved in this campaign? We want to help!
Tom: The most important thing to know and to remember is that this is only commencing this month and will continue all the way through November 2012 so people can surely start to get involved now. If the DOC could help spread the word about the program, THAT would be incredible. People all around the country, and even in a few foreign countries, are informing us of their Reason to Believe Diabetes Diplomat projects. But with the DOC’s help we could do so much more.
School site ideas are fabulous. Easy, quick, educational, and raise funds while having fun. One Principal from Pennsylvania stated that this program was the finest he had seen in all of his years as an educator. Walkathons, dress crazy day, caps for a cure day, team jersey day, and pajamas at school day are all some of the fun ideas. Community events like being involved in a marathon; selling scannables (contact me, I’ll explain) in retail stores, and in one huge candy store (Deborah Ann’s in Connecticut) they are holding a sweepstakes BUT ALSO explaining why candy is not ALL OFF LIMITS to people with diabetes as a teachable moment. Pro Golfer Kelli Kuehne has connected us with Clemmy’s Ice Cream who is donating 50 cents to the DRI on every pint of their sugar free ice cream they sell in Florida in November. Pro bowler Ryan Shafer is also involved in a really fun event that bowlers are all involved in his hometown. We have had incredible help from our sponsors Animas, LifeScan, Diabetes Health Magazine, and Children with Diabetes. Anyone who wants help can email me personally at email@example.com and ask me how to get started.
In closing, I just want to add my thanks Kerri for giving us some of your valuable time and space here at Six Until Me to help us get the word out. You continue to not only inspire us at the DRI, but also inspire and educate the world on so much in your unique style. I am so privileged to call you a good friend as well. Thank you.
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Thank you, Tom, for your tireless advocacy and kind words. Don’t stop believing.
*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*