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Wellington Community Members Unite for Diabetes Research Through 'Jungle Safari' Benefit

Wellington, FL - January 22, 2008 - The winter season in Wellington brings charitable people together for great causes, and the 2008 diabetes 'Jungle Safari' fundraiser gala is no exception. Numerous notable community leaders have come together as the event's Planning Committee to ensure the night is a success and assists in another step toward finding a cure for diabetes. US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management, is the event's presenting sponsor.

Ashley and Joe Maguire are the event chairs again this year, and Joan and Lou Jacobs are the honorary chairs. The Planning Committee is composed of numerous volunteers, including Karen and Bob Cavanagh as Chairmen Emeritus, Marie and Michael Bianchini, Ginny and Paul Farber, and Debbie and Mark Plaxen as Vice Chairmen. Amy Rockwerk is the event's Creative Director.

"It is amazing to see the number of outstanding community leaders from Wellington who have come together for a great cause," said Mr. Maguire, event chairman. "Diabetes is a very real epidemic that needs more attention. Hundreds of people, right here in our own community, are living with this disease. The statistics are alarming."

He continued, "Our event is raising money for a very deserving organization. And, I am convinced that when a cure for diabetes is found, the DRI will be the organization that discovers it." Mrs. Maguire, who is the current Mrs. Florida International 2008, also has devoted her platform to diabetes research.

The Cavanaghs chaired the first local diabetes fundraiser five years ago and passed the reins to the Maguires last year. However, their initial involvement was spurred by the fact that Mr. Cavanagh has been a Type 1 diabetic for 27 years.

"Instead of wishing and praying for a cure, we felt we had to do something to help it along," explained Mrs. Cavanagh. "We wanted all the money we raised to go toward research. Now, working with the DRI is really a dream come true because they do phenomenal work, and I truly believe they will find a cure for diabetes sooner than later."

The Bianchini's son was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes just over a year ago, and he receives treatment from the Miami-Miller School of Medicine. Mrs. Bianchini noted that the DRI's treatment methods differ from typical doctors and hospitals in that they look at all aspects of the disease and focus on life instead of syringes and insulin shots.

"DRI gives you hope and helps you learn to live a normal life, instead of just saying, 'Here is some insulin, learn to deal with it," Mrs. Bianchini said. "I'm very pleased with the work that the DRI is doing and the magnitude of what they're doing."

She continued, "It makes me feel so good that here are people who do not have the disease, but they are willing to take the time and energy necessary to support research efforts. I am thankful for the generosity of everyone, for their emotional and financial support."

The Plaxen family has a history of diabetes, and their lives were touched by the disease last year when a close family friend passed away with the underlying cause of death being a diabetes-related illness.

"It's such an amazing organization. DRI is on the cutting edge, and it's something we wanted to be part of. We're thrilled to be involved," described Mrs. Plaxen. "There are millions of people afflicted by diabetes these days, and if we can eradicate it, so many lives would change."

Ginny Farber, who first became involved with Diabetes Carnivale last year, noted that she was impressed with the enormous advances the DRI has made in finding a cure for diabetes, as she is truly dedicated to this cause. She said that this year her goal is to "raise enough money for a cure."

Other members of the Planning Committee include Herta and Frank Suess, Angela and Jerry Fonda, Susan and John Domenico, Robin and Tom Fleming, Lew Blatte, Regi and Todd Higley, Andi Eliwatt, Melinda Cohen, Debbie Preiser, Cindy and Kevin Wilkinson, Susan Giddings, Susan and John Domenico, Leslie Garcia-Furey, Betty Buglio, and Mair and Scott Armand.

The Diabetes Research Institute, a center of excellence at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, is a recognized world leader in cure-focused research. Since its inception in the early 1970s, the DRI has made significant contributions to the field of diabetes research, pioneering many of the techniques used in islet transplantation. From innovations in islet isolation and transplant procedures to advances in cell biology and immunology, the DRI is now harnessing the power of emerging technologies to develop new cell-based therapies to restore insulin production.

To learn more about the Diabetes Research Institute, please visit http://www.diabetesresearch.org. For information about Jungle Safari, or about sponsorship, please contact Sheryl Sulkin at 954-964-4040.


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