24/03/2011 - 00:00

Good story to spin on diabetes

24/03/2011 - 00:00

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TEAMS from a range of Perth businesses will don the lycra and sweat bands to compete in the Spin to Cure Diabetes competition this Friday to raise money for juvenile type 1 diabetes research.

TEAMS from a range of Perth businesses will don the lycra and sweat bands to compete in the Spin to Cure Diabetes competition this Friday to raise money for juvenile type 1 diabetes research.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation event, held at Central Park in Perth’s CBD, is a spin bicycle race in which teams try to rack up the most mileage in 40 minutes.

Among the organisations and individuals competing this year will be: a battle of the banks between Bankwest, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac; law firms Blake Dawson and Mallesons Stephen Jaques; reigning champion of the past two years, IBM; and even local politicians Roger Cook and Paul Papalia.

Each of the 19 teams is made up of five members, who ride as fast as they can for eight minutes each. The teams must raise at least $2,000 to qualify.

JDRF development manager WA Marizanne Roos said the key to the event’s success was its convenience as a lunchtime event, which meant workers only needed to be out of the office for an hour.

“We encourage industry friendly rivalry,” Ms Roos told WA Business News.

“If the corporates know other companies in their industry signed up, then they usually want to get on board as well and come and see if they can beat them.”

The event is one of four fundraisers JDRF holds each year to enable medical research into juvenile type 1 diabetes.

More than 130,000 people in Australia have type 1 diabetes, a lifelong autoimmune disease that destroys the body’s ability to produce insulin.

It is the fastest growing chronic disease in Australian children, with a 3 per cent increase in the number of new cases each year.

Long-term effects of diabetes include damage to the eyes, nervous system and kidneys.

The major WA juvenile diabetes researchers supported by JDRF are based at Princess Margaret Hospital.

“We work very closely with Princess Margaret Hospital in WA; we fund a lot of their research,” Ms Roos said.

The organisation started in the US in 1970, with the Australian branch formed in 1982. The WA branch has been in existence for the past nine years.

The main function of each state office is to organise and run the fundraising events.

The research team at JDRF’s head office in Sydney hands out the grants after researchers apply for the funding.

The WA branch of the organisation is run by just two people but is supported by a corporate state committee of 12 volunteers within the corporate market who assist with events and fundraising.

Ms Roos said a group of 10 to 15 key volunteers also help out on the day of each event to ensure they run smoothly.

The other major fundraising events are a gala ball held each July, Walk to Cure Diabetes held in October, and Ride to Cure Diabetes, a bike-riding event in South Australia’s Barossa Valley attracting teams from all over the country.

Last year, JDRF contributed $9.8 million to Australian diabetes research.

The fundraising events have the added value of acting as a catalyst for gaining awareness of the disease and initiating conversation and action to beating it.

Last year, the federal government committed $5 million towards a type 1 diabetes clinical trial network, an international network of researchers exploring ways to prevent, delay and reverse the progression of type 1 diabetes.

 

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