Seeking The Cure

What do actress Halle Berry, author H.G. Wells, and hockey legend Bobby Clarke have in common? All are or were famous, all had type 1 diabetes – and all, to anyone’s knowledge, never kissed a pig.

Only in Edmond could kissing pigs and funding diabetes research cross paths, where pig fever descends upon the city every spring in the form of Edmond Memorial High School’s “Swine Week.”

Swine Week marks off seven days in which Edmond Memorial students go moneymaking crazy as the school plunges into a massive fundraiser. Organized by the student council, the fundraiser picks a different charity recipient every year. Pledges are made, events planned, decorations put up, and students pick a theme and a goal. Then, they go nuts.
Swine Week started in 1986 when the school’s students began fundraising to help subsidize a fellow student’s medical expenses. At that time, Memorial High’s web site reads, “the principal challenged the students to raise $5,000, and pledged to kiss a pig if they succeeded. They did, he did, and Swine Week was born.”

“The entire week, they did all these crazy stunts to raise money. I was blown away by what they put together. It really takes over all of Edmond,” relates Renee MacDonald, Executive Director of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF) Central Oklahoma Chapter. JDRF was the lucky charity chosen this year to benefit from Swine Week’s fundraising bonanza. JDRF is a non profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes.

This year’s Swine Week ran March 9-13. At the final assembly, the speaker was drowned out by cheers before finishing announcing the total funds raised that week – a whopping $326,000.

Eighty-five cents of every dollar donated to JDRF goes directly to research. The foundation funds research projects all over the country to further the quest to discover a cure for diabetes.

JDRF will continue its fundraising efforts at the Oklahoma State University campus (900 North Portland) on May 30, where thousands will participate in the Central Oklahoma Chapter’s annual Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Beginning at 9:30 a.m., walkers will swarm the campus, raising money for the foundation while enjoying food, music and fun.

“This is the second year for the walk to be at OSU-OKC,” says Dr. Jerry Carroll, President of Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City. “We are excited to host the walk again and for the OSU-OKC campus to be filled with JDRF walkers looking forward to the day that diabetes is cured.”

Over 23 million people in the U.S. suffer from diabetes. While science has found ways to buy time for sufferers, no cure is on the horizon.

That’s why continued research is so important, says MacDonald. She and others at JDRF won’t rest until a true cure for diabetes is found.

To participate in the May 30 Walk to Cure Diabetes, or for more information about the Foundation, log on to the JDRF website at www.jdrf.org

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