This one’s for Josh

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 18, 2003

This one’s for Josh……and the millions like him

It was more than enough to make even the most macho man shed a tear.

If there is indeed no crying in baseball – a point pounded home by actor Tom Hanks when he portrayed the crusty, ex-pro turned coach Jimmy Dugan in the 1992 hit movie, A League of Their Own – then, on the flip side of the coin, men can cry in the game of golf.

Such was the case exactly one week ago when David Lane of Murfreesboro picked-up the microphone to begin the post-tournament portion of the fourth annual Josh Lane Golf Classic at Beechwood Country Club, an event that benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

&uot;This is not about me, or is this about you,&uot; said Lane as he addressed a banquet room full of golfers who had just placed the finishing touches on 18 holes of golf on a hot, summer day.

He continued, his voice choked with emotion, &uot;This is about my son, Josh. He has diabetes.&uot;

The room, that just prior to those words was abuzz with chatter, fell deafly silent. One didn’t have to look very hard to see grown men and women moving their hands to their eyes to wipe away the moisture.

David Lane is a man on a mission. He is a compassionate man when it comes to the health of his 11-year-old son. If he had his wish, there would be no fifth annual Josh Lane Classic because he would know that a cure for Type 1 diabetes has been found. But until that day arrives, expect David to visit each and every business in the Roanoke-Chowan area and beyond, seeking donations, sponsors and teams to participate in this golf event named in honor of Josh.

And what an event it has turned out to be over the course of the past four years.

Last year, the Josh Lane Classic became the largest, single-day golf tournament in northeastern North Carolina where 140 golfers jammed Beechwood’s sprawling 18-hole course. The event went one team better (four additional golfers) this year as a record 144 &uot;ball-strikers&uot; rolled-up their proverbial sleeves, wiped the sweat and went out and had some serious fun.

&uot;We had to put teams on a waiting list for the first-time ever,&uot; said Lane. &uot;I guess that’s a sign we’re growing.&uot;

Another sign of growth comes in the amount of money raised. It its first three years, the Josh Lane Classic flirted with the $30,000 mark, only to come up just short. However, 2003 was a much different story. Not only did the event break the $30,000 barrier, it came darn near close to reaching $40,000. While the numbers are still being counted, all indications are that the 2003 Josh Lane Classic will exceed $35,000.

That money will be used to fund ongoing research projects throughout the nation.

A few examples of those research projects are a $6.3 million JDRF Diabetic Retinopathy Center at Penn State University. There, during a five-year study, researchers will deal with one of the most debilitating complications of diabetes – diabetic retinopathy, a degenerative eye disease that affects millions of individuals.

Another $6.25 million has been awarded to the Medical College of Wisconsin to study, identify and uncover the functions of the susceptibility genes.

Gene transfer technology and islet transplantation are the main two study areas of diabetes research the University of Pennsylvania, who received $15.5 million from JDRF.

In another effort to find a cure for diabetes, the JDRF launched a $4.1 million, three-year study of islet transplantation. That effort is to study why some patients’ immune systems reject donor islets. Successful islet transplantation can restore normal insulin production in people with Type 1 diabetes.

JDRF is the leading charitable funder and advocate of juvenile (type 1) diabetes research worldwide.

The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.

Type 1 diabetes is a disease that strikes children suddenly and requires multiple injections of insulin daily or a continuous infusion of insulin through a pump just to survive.

Insulin, however, is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications that may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation.

JDRF funding and leadership is associated with most major scientific breakthroughs in type 1 research to date, such as islet transplantation.

In fact, JDRF funds a major portion of all type 1 diabetes research worldwide, more than any other charity.

JDRF provided $100 million to diabetes research in FY 2002, and is responsible for more than $600 million in direct funding since it was founded.

Because of its focus on a cure, JDRF funds research with the greatest impact throughout the world, leading to results as soon as possible.

JDRF is driven by results and successes in three major cure goals: restoring normal blood sugar, preventing and reversing diabetes-related complications, and preventing diabetes.

Working toward these goals, JDRF has taken the lead in nurturing human clinical trials in such critical areas as the development of transplant tolerance and alternative sources of insulin-producing cells for transplant.

In a typical year, 85 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.

Because of its unwavering focus on its mission to find a cure, for the fifth year in a row JDRF has received an &uot;A&uot; rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy, the only such rating for any international diabetes organization.

JDRF also received top rankings from other independent sources that rate charitable giving, including Forbes magazine, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, The Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney magazine, and Charity Navigator.

JDRF was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with type 1 diabetes.

As a result, JDRF volunteers have a personal connection to type 1 diabetes, which translates into an unrelenting commitment to finding a cure.

These volunteers are the driving force behind more than 100 locations worldwide that raise money and advocate for government spending for type 1 diabetes research.

David Lane, along with his wife Deborah, is the local advocate for JDRF. Don’t be surprised when he shows-up at your door seeking help for his cause. My best advice would be to open-up your wallet and help all you can. Not for David’s sake, but for Josh, and the millions of other diabetics worldwide.