NEW YORK, Oct. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- JDRF, the leading research and advocacy organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research announced today that Jeffrey Brewer, Mary Elizabeth and Jeffrey Bunzel will be honored at the JDRF 43rd annual Promise Ball. The event will take place on October 28, 2015 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.
"We have a great deal to celebrate tonight, and I am privileged to honor individuals who are so important to JDRF and to recognize them for their many contributions," said Derek Rapp, JDRF President and Chief Executive Officer. "As a volunteer, I benefited from my work with Jeffrey Brewer for many years, and as a fellow former board member alongside Mary Elizabeth, I saw firsthand that she is intelligent, effective, and informed at all times. I am grateful for the unwavering support that all three honorees have given JDRF for well more than a decade. I am pleased that they and JDRF will continue to work together toward our shared vision of a world without type 1 diabetes."
Mr. Brewer is the former CEO of JDRF and current CEO of Bigfoot Biomedical, a Silicon Valley-based venture focused on optimizing the care of people with T1D by leveraging data, automation and smart devices to deliver improved health outcomes and ease the burden of living with T1D. He will be presented with the Carol Lurie Promise Award and is recognized for his outstanding commitment to JDRF's mission to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. Mr. Brewer's journey with JDRF began in 2002, when his son, Sean, was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 7. Mr. Brewer's devotion to find ways to combat the potentially life-threatening disease led him to become a volunteer with the JDRF New York City Chapter. He soon became a JDRF donor and eventual International Board Member as he realized how technology, such as the artificial pancreas, could become the treatment needed to help his son and others living with the disease.
"This is a very special occasion and I am so honored to accept the Carol Lurie Promise Award," said Mr. Brewer. "It's extremely rewarding to have the distinct pleasure of working with and meeting such committed people who are as passionate as I am to see a world without type 1 diabetes. There is a great deal of exciting research and development on the forefront funded by JDRF and I am confident we will turn type 1 into type none."
Mary Elizabeth and Jeffrey Bunzel, longtime supporters, advocates and volunteer leaders, will be presented with the Humanitarian Award at the annual event. The Bunzels' journey with JDRF began in 2001, when their son Eli was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 10. They have been an integral part of JDRF at both the local level, when Mary Elizabeth served as New York City Chapter Board President and then on the JDRF International Board where she served on the Executive Committee for six years, and was Nominating and Governance Chair. Jeffrey heads Equity Capital Markets for Deutsche Bank. Their commitment to JDRF's mission has been the primary focus of their philanthropic efforts and energy since Eli's diagnosis.
"So many of the advancements in treatment that Eli uses to care for himself today, and the promising research to cure and prevent T1D have been the direct result of JDRF's passion and laser focused commitment," said Mary Elizabeth. "Thanks to JDRF we are making significant progress toward better lives for those living with T1D. But we will not stop until we have the ultimate prize -- a cure."
The event, hosted by ESPN reporter and NFL analyst, Adam Schefter will feature a cocktail reception, dinner, and a live and silent auction. Jeni and Scott Halliday and Holly and David Sherr will serve as Gala Co-Chairs. This year's event will also feature a very special guest speaker; global superstar and eight-time Grammy award winner, Usher Raymond IV will step into the spotlight at the Promise Ball, not as an entertainer, but as a parent and philanthropist to share his personal T1D story and to encourage others to support diabetes research.
The New York Chapter's Promise Ball is JDRF's oldest annual event and one of the city's premiere events. Past honorees include Kevin Kline, Steve Ross, Barry Sternlicht, Mary Tyler Moore and JDRF founders, Carol & Erwin Lurie. Past performers include Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers, Dennis Miller and Jon Stewart. More than 600 corporate, social and entertainment leaders are expected to attend this year in support of JDRF.
Proceeds from the event will go towards research and treatments for T1D. Through the years, the Promise Ball has raised $67 million for diabetes research worldwide. The Gala raised more than $2 million last year.
About Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease that impacts millions of people around the world. The disease occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone essential to turning food into energy. Without insulin, glucose from food stays in the blood, where it can cause serious damage to all of the body's organ systems. It requires constant carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing, and lifelong dependence on injected insulin. With T1D there are no days off, and there is no cure.
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Our mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. To accomplish this, JDRF has invested nearly $2 billion since our inception. We are an organization built on a grassroots model of people connecting in their local communities, collaborating regionally for efficiency and broader fundraising impact, and uniting on a national stage to pool resources, passion, and energy. We collaborate with academic institutions, policymakers, and corporate and industry partners to develop and deliver a pipeline of innovative therapies to people living with T1D. Our staff and volunteers in the JDRF New York Chapter and in more than 100 locations throughout the United States and our six international affiliates are dedicated to advocacy, community engagement and our vision of a world without T1D. For more information, please visit jdrf.org or follow us on Twitter: @JDRF.