October 18 - 31, 2014
JDRF has ‘License to Cure’ diabetes BY CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI
Danielle Jass speaks slowly and succinctly. An active soccer and volleyball player, the 15-year-old Perry High School freshman is taking honors English, biology and geometry to prepare herself for a future in medicine. With the exception of a square “pod” attached to her arm, it’s hard to tell she’s diabetic. Two years ago, Danielle was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that causes a person’s pancreas to stop producing insulin. It will be two years this month that she began using the OmniPod System, a discreet, tubeless insulin pump. “It was hard to really grasp,” she says about her diagnosis. “It’s such a big change, but you can’t let it get to you. You just have to embrace it. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s not something you can cure.” Danielle says she feels comfortable with her diagnosis thanks to JDRF, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes research. To raise money to help ﬁnd a cure for type 1 diabetes patients like Danielle, JDRF is hosting its annual gala, this year dubbed “One Night—License to Cure,” on Saturday, Nov. 8, at Montelucia Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley. Tickets are $500 for the James Bond-themed event and can be purchased at dsw.jdrf.org/ events/promise-ball-gala/. The evening will feature live and silent auctions, casino gaming, a martini bar and
SUPER FAN: Danielle Jass and her father, Ron, are big sports fans. STSN photo by Tim Sealy
performances by Scott Keo, a Michael Buble tribute performer, and Frank Caliendo, comedian and impressionist. Guests will enter the venue on a “live” red carpet. “You walk on a red carpet and once you’re inside the big doors at the end of the ‘red carpet’ there’s a live model,” says Tammy Crawford, gala co-chairwoman and member of the Southwest Board of Directors for JDRF. “It’s like you’re walking in on a live model’s dress. It’s just a cool effect.” Crawford, too, is an advocate for the cause. Her 25-year-old son, Spencer, was
diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 9. “I’ve been involved with JDRF on a million levels—nationally on the research side; locally on the board,” Crawford says. “This is the second time I’ve chaired the gala.” Danielle, who moved to Gilbert in June from Tucson with her dad, Ron, and brother, James, is hoping to work with JDRF and a partnering organization, Scottsdale-based Camp Soaring Eagle. Her experience with the camp made her diagnosis a bit easier to handle. “I go to the camps all the time,” she
STUDENT: Danielle Jass is a student at Perry High School. STSN photo by Tim Sealy
says. “When I was there, I was greeted by people who have been diabetic their whole life, but they’re my age. They came up to me and they were pretty much going through the same thing I was going through. Everyone there was so warm and inviting. They all wanted to be friends and talk to you. I want other kids to feel the same way.” Christina Fuoco-Karasinski is the executive editor of the SanTan Sun News. She can be reached at christina@ santansun.com.