Local dealerships help find cure for diabetes

In honor of National Diabetes Month in November, local dealerships will contribute $1 for every Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicle sold to the Iacocca Foundation’s JoinLeeNow ( www.JoinLeeNow.org) fund-raising campaign to raise money for diabetes research. This partnership will run through the end of 2006.

“Diabetes strikes all demographics, from those living in our area, nationally and around the world,” said Gary Dilts, senior vice president of sales for the Chrysler Group. “We are proud to have our dealers donate $1 for every Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicle sold, to do our part to help this great cause and find a cure for those suffering from this devastating disease.”

The following local dealerships will participate in this campaign:

Strandquist Motor Company; and

Lou Bachrodt Jeep.

These dealerships will help the Iacocca Foundation achieve its goal of finding a cure for diabetes, a disease that kills more than 200,000 people in the United States annually and causes health complications including blindness, amputations, heart disease, nerve damage and kidney failure. The Iacocca Foundation’s JoinLeeNow initiative is halfway to reaching its goal of funding a clinical trial for a potential cure for type 1 diabetes, a treatment that has been found to successfully cure diabetes in mice.

“I promised my late wife that I would help to find a cure for type 1 diabetes in my lifetime,” said Lee Iacocca, chairman of the Iacocca Foundation. “I feel like we are finally close. I’m very grateful for everything the area dealerships are doing to help us reach our goal.”

Launched in August 2004, JoinLeeNow has raised $6 million of the $11 million it needs to fund a clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital that will be conducted by Dr. David Nathan and Dr. Denise Faustman. The first phase of the clinical trial program will test a potential cure for type 1 diabetes.

In type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the islet cells of the pancreas, which are the cells in the body that produce insulin. Dr. David Nathan and Dr. Denise Faustman are testing a treatment to stop the immune system’s destruction of the insulin-producing cells. Dr. Faustman and other researchers have demonstrated in the lab that once the destruction of the insulin-producing cells is reversed, the body appears to be capable of regenerating these cells.

The clinical trial is based on research by Dr. Faustman that has been almost exclusively sponsored by the Iacocca Foundation for the last six years. This research has significant implications not only to the future of diabetes treatment, but also to other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and lupus.

For more information about the Iacocca Foundation and diabetes, or to make a donation, go to www.joinleenow.org.

About the Iacocca Foundation

With the proceeds of his best-selling autobiography, Lee A. Iacocca established the Iacocca Foundation in 1984 in honor of his late wife, Mary K. Iacocca, who died from complications of type 1 diabetes. Since 1984, the Iacocca Foundation has given more than $20 million to diabetes research. More information is available at www.iacoccafoundation.org.

From the Nov. 23-29, 2005, issue

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