Diabetes Research Institute Foundation Asks Supporters To "Name Sam's Elephant" And Win A Stay At Disney World

Jul 03, 2012, 12:09 ET from Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Around the world, one word is synonymous with family fun: Disney! And at Disney World, one name comes to mind for an elephant – until now! Just as Dumbo rose to fame on his giant ears, so will another prized pachyderm become known through the support of friends of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) as they submit names and win prizes. Participants of a special drawing will also have the chance to win a 5-night stay in a Disney Deluxe Villa! The "Name Sam's Elephant" contest has now launched and will continue online at DiabetesResearch.org/SamsElephant through July 13 at 5 p.m. EDT.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120405/DC83112LOGO)

Four feet tall and full of character, this colorful elephant caught the eye of Sam Billetdeaux, 22, in February while he and his family were in Miami, FL, at the DRI Foundation's Love and Hope Ball. They had spent the previous day touring the Diabetes Research Institute's labs, where, for the first time in his life, Sam found hope for a cure for the disease he has lived with since he was 8 years old – type 1 diabetes. Full of conviction and eager to support the DRI's work while at the gala, Sam placed a generous bid on the impressive creation of artist Marcie Ziv as it stood among other fabulous silent auction prizes, and won.

Though the unique pet doesn't need food and water, it does need a name, and Sam is challenging the world to come up with the perfect one. Appropriately, the group of people he'll approach first for suggestions will be the participants of the Children with Diabetes "Friends for Life" conference, for which he served as the inspiration 13 years ago. Sam's mother, Laura Billetdeaux, is VP of Education and Programs at the Children with Diabetes organization and the entire family has been involved since its inception.

At the upcoming conference, taking place July 3 – 8, families will have the chance to "meet" Sam's elephant and submit unlimited names for a $5.00 donation per entry. Those who choose to make a $25.00 donation will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing for a 5-night stay at one of five Disney Deluxe Villas! The person who offers the best name will win a $100 Walgreens gift card.

After the conference concludes, Laura and her husband, Neal, will travel with the elephant from Orlando to New York City, where Sam will determine his pet's moniker and announce the Grand Prize Winner. During the trek, all are welcome to tag along on the zany journey online at DiabetesResearch.org/ElephantBlog. Start following now. Don't miss your chance to Name Sam's Elephant - and win a stay at Disney World!  

The Diabetes Research Institute leads the world in cure-focused research. As the largest and most comprehensive research center dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to shrink the timeline toward the discovery of a biological cure for this disease.  Having already shown that diabetes can be reversed through islet transplantation, the DRI is building upon these promising outcomes by bridging cell-based therapies with emerging technologies. The Diabetes Research Institute was created for one reason – to cure diabetes – which is and will continue to be its singular focus until that goal is reached. For the millions of people affected by diabetes, the DRI is the best hope for a cure.  For more information, call 1-800-321-3437 or visit DiabetesResearch.org.

SOURCE Diabetes Research Institute Foundation