Ontario Teen is Driving Force Behind $250,000 Fundraiser for JDRF

Chase Pelletier and the Academy of Martial Arts join forces to help fight diabetes through 12-Hour Martial Arts Marathon, "Karate Chops Diabetes"

Oct 25, 2012, 09:00 ET from JDRF

BRAMPTON, Ontario, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- JDRF is pleased to announce a new fundraising initiative for people living with diabetes, Karate Chops Diabetes – a twelve-hour, action-packed martial arts marathon hosted by The Academy of Martial Arts (AMA). Through this program, AMA has committed to raise a minimum of $250,000 in support of JDRF. The fundraising event will be open to the public and held at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ontario, on November 24, 2012 from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

The driving forces behind the event are father and son, Dave and Chase Pelletier. Living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) since the age of 10, 16-year-old Chase is now a nationally-ranked go-kart racer and has a first degree black belt in Goju Karate. He has made it his young life's mission to raise funds and awareness for diabetes. Chase and Dave travel the country racing and visiting diabetes clinics and sports camps to share their message that diabetes doesn't have to put your dreams out of reach. Karate Chops Diabetes is a result of their mutual passion for karate and their involvement with AMA.

"Despite having diabetes, I am determined to accomplish anything I put my mind to," said Chase Pelletier. "It just made sense to take something my dad and I love, like karate, and turn it into something that benefits the millions of others living with diabetes. Thanks to the support of AMA and sponsors like Animas® and OneTouch®, we are able to do just that."

During the half-day event in Brampton, 160 participants with varying belt degrees will split up into teams across 16 rings showcasing techniques in Goju Karate, Tai Chi, Kobudo, and Ju Jutsu, including sparring and grappling continuously for 12 hours. The event will also house a huge demonstration floor showcasing various martial arts weapons, including the ancient Samurai Sword, as well as giving the event's top sponsors an opportunity to participate in entertaining self-defense classes for the audience. Additionally, 88 participants will attempt to set a Guinness World Record for the most people simultaneously performing a Kata – a pattern of specific moves designed to defend against multiple attackers.

Leading up to the event in November, which is also Diabetes Awareness Month, Karate Chops Diabetes will also feature an online "virtual" board break at www.KarateChopsDiabetes.com, offering site visitors the opportunity to participate and share their diabetes breakthroughs. For every sponsored virtual board created and broken, a donation will be made to JDRF to help reach the $250,000 program goal.

"We are excited about the Karate Chops Diabetes initiative, which will help JDRF fund critical diabetes research for those living with the disease across Canada, and around the world," said Shelagh Barry, Regional Manager, JDRF Peel Chapter. "It is because of the dedication and support of families like the Pelletier's, as well as the commitment of organizations like AMA who are inspired by the opportunity to support our goal, that JDRF is able to continue on our mission of finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications through the support of research."

To learn more and see how you can get involved, visit www.KarateChopsDiabetes.com.

This initiative is proudly sponsored by Animas Canada distributor of Animas® insulin pumps, and LifeScan Canada, manufacturer of OneTouch® blood glucose monitoring products.

About Chase Pelletier
Chase Pelletier is a 16-year-old Brampton, Ontario native who has been racing go-karts since the age of 10, and training in karate since age five. He was diagnosed with T1D just one month after his first competitive go-kart race. Since then, diabetes has done anything but slow Chase down. In fact, he currently ranks among the top 10 karters in Canada and recently achieved Shodan (black belt) status in Goju Karate through the AMA after 11 years of training. Chase's passion for racing and karate is only matched by his passion for making a positive difference in the diabetes community. Chase visits hospitals and diabetes camps across Ontario, spreading inspiration and encouragement to children facing the challenges of diabetes. He has been a guest speaker at three international diabetes conferences and was presented with the Inspiration Award in 2011 by the Canadian Diabetes Association. Chase is also a JDRF Youth Ambassador.

About JDRF
JDRF is the leading global organization focused on T1D research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970 (1974 in Canada), JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion (US) to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education. For more information, please visit www.jdrf.ca.

About Academy of Martial Arts
The Academy of Martial Arts (AMA) is a united community of five individual dojos that focus on both the physical and mental aspects of Martial Arts. AMA teachings are provided through a number of disciplines, including Karate, Kobudo, Ju Jutsu, Tai Chi, Japanese Sword and Pilates. 

For more information, please visit www.amadojo.net.

About T1D
In T1D, a person's pancreas stops producing enough insulin to survive. People with T1D must currently monitor their blood sugar levels and administer insulin via shots or an insulin pump, multiple times every day. Even vigilant management does not ward against T1D complications, such as heart attack, stroke, blindness and amputation.