NORTH BAY – On February 23, 2006, approximately 50 prominent community and business leaders were invited by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to kick off the 2006 (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes. Bob Goulais, JDRF Corporate Co-Chair and Chief of Staff for the Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) welcomed the group and spoke of his own community’s way of life and combined it with the importance of water, kindness and this morning’s breakfast.
Goulais went on to thank the dedicated volunteers, families and young diabetics that have been working so hard over the last eight years to support diabetes research. “Over the last eight years this group with the help of the Nipissing communities has raised over $500,000. And I am proud to announce this year’s goal of $200,000 for JDRF Nipissing” announced Goulais. Special guest Anthony Rota, Liberal re-elect MP, congratulated the JDRF Volunteers and staff for a job well done and passed on his wishes for their continued success. Both Goulais and Rota are type 2 diabetics and have supported JDRF for several years.
Mac Bain, JDRF Co-Chair, sitting North Bay City Councillor, and Martyn Funeral Home, addressed how “exciting times are in diabetes research. The cure is being developed in JDRF-supported laboratories throughout the world. We are literally in the homestretch of a historic achievement—the first-ever cure for a chronic human disease.” Bain also explained with the joy of becoming grandparents, the reality of how great the risk that their grandchild would also be diabetic was daunting. Bain’s wife has Type 1 Diabetes.
Robert Hindle, Chairman of the JDRF Board was the Keynote Speaker and brought to the Nipissing JDRF words of not only praise for the area but of how the “advances with JDRF research are so compelling that we have reached a unique moment in the history of diabetes science. Hindle says stem cells hold out hope for so many. “This research could open up a potential cure for all diabetics,” Mr. Hindle, a Montreal businessman, developed diabetes at age 11. Despite taking good care of himself, eating properly, exercising regularly and controlling his insulin, his kidneys began to fail in his mid-40s as the disease attacked his circulatory system.
Mr. Hindle’s brother donated a kidney to save his life and “it was a fluke that the same day a compatible pancreas came available. There’s a lot that has to go right if you’re looking at a whole organ transplant.”
“The importance of stem cells,” Mr. Hindle says, “is that I was, and still am, the only one in Canada to have had this transplant of a living kidney with a pancreas. It is urgent to pursue the full potential of making a cure available to so many other diabetics.”
JDRF Nipissing is under the umbrella of the National Capital Region Chapter based in Ottawa. The Regional Manager was also in attendance to speak to future of Nipissing. “The growth of Nipissing from a volunteer walk site to staffed site with more and more communities wanting to join the fight is remarkable. The future will see a North Eastern Ontario Board of Directors to help with this growth.”
The 2006 Youth Ambassador, Mackenzie Reid, told his own personal challenges as he enters teenage years. “Although this has been an adjustment for me, it has not been a great change in my life-style as I have been dealing with Juvenile Diabetes (Type 1), indirectly, for all my life. You see, my father has Juvenile Diabetes (Type 1) as well. I am lucky in a way, as I have someone very close to me that I can compare experiences with and learn from as well. (He’s learned a little too!)”
“A total of 87 years of injections, and finger poking is sitting in this room today” offered Venise Levesque the JDRF Family Chair. “They are why you are today, why we work so hard to raise money to support diabetes research. We don’t want them to live any longer than they have to with this terrifying disease.”
Type 1 diabetes is the most severe and unpreventable form of the disease, affecting infants, children teens and adults. Since its Canadian inception in 1994, the Walk is responsible for raising over to $48 million for diabetes research and in 2006 the hope to raise $6.5 million nationally. Walks take place in approximately 100 sites including Community Walks which are run by dedicated and passionate volunteers who use the power of the Walk to raise money locally.
JDRF has launched From Research to Reality: The Campaign to Accelerate the Cure for Diabetes, allowing JDRF to complete the journey to a cure in as few years as humanly possible. The international goal is $1 billion. Of that, JDRF Canada has committed to raising $100 Million in the next 4 years.
Bain encouraged the guests that the most “fun and inspiring way to help raise money for JDRF is by participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes.” This walk is the largest in the world in which over 45,000 Canadians come out, raise funds, and celebrate the fact that we all just took one giant step closer to realizing the JDRF goal of a cure for this disease.
Local sponsors include the Best Western, 102 the Fox, Anishinabek Nation, The North Bay Nugget, Creative Impressions, Kelsey’s Restaurant, CTV.
For more information contact Susan Schouwstra, JDRF Nipissing, at 744-0160 or firstname.lastname@example.org