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"Hard hat" workers help fund diabetes research

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Posted at 12:43 PM, May 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-17 12:43:37-04

On May 21, 2016, ten softball teams comprised of Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council affiliates will take off our hard hats and work boots, put on our baseball caps and cleats and use our time and talents at the All Trades Softball Tournament to raise money for Blue Print for Cure.

It's possible that you have never heard of the "building trades unions" but I'm sure you are familiar with us. We are unionized construction workers or "hard hats" you see working on the construction of high-rise apartments, factories, office buildings, highways, bridges, schools, hospitals and houses. 

We are also the crane operators and the truck drivers who deliver supplies to the construction sites. In other words, we are the builders of our great nation.

Too often, our members are negatively identified with commercials selling alcohol, a scruffy cartoon character or men who harass women passing by construction sites. 

In reality, we are men and women who are concerned and caring citizens in almost every community in the United States that have a goal: to raise money to fund a research center that can find a cure for diabetes. 

Blue Print for Cure is a campaign run by Building Trades Unions throughout North America, to raise money for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

Diabetes is one of the five major causes of death in the United States. Over twenty-four million Americans, including three million children, suffer from it. Diabetes can lead to blindness, heart failure, kidney failure, amputations, coma and even death. 

Since the softball tournament began in 1990, it has raised over $624,477. 

Last year, through their efforts and the generous contributions of many others, the tournament raised over $20,000 for this worthy cause.

These funds were added to the monies raised in 289 other communities in the United States and Canada in 2015. Since its inception, the Dad's Day campaign has raised over $52 million for diabetes research. 

Thanks to our efforts over the past twenty-seven years, the dream of one day finding a cure for diabetes has arrived. Since its completion in 1994, the Diabetes Research Institute has risen to the position of being the number one research facility in the world. 

In 2015, the institute tested the DRI BioHub. The BioHub is a bio-engineered "mini-organ" that mimics the native pancreas to restore natural insulin production in people with type 1 diabetes. Within days after a transplant procedure, a patient may be able to discontinue insulin therapy, as they begin producing insulin on their own for the first time since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It is responsible for ground breaking research involving cell transplantation that has done away with insulin injections completely in some diabetic adults. 

The institute also includes a special treatment center that handles the particular needs of patients and their families. Patients have the opportunity to take part in clinical research studies which help them manage their own diabetes and also provide important research data that can help people around the world who have diabetes. 

A model child care center is part of the Diabetes Research Institute. It provides a positive curriculum stressing social development, family enrichment and education for the parent, child and entire family. Most importantly, the child care center gives children the chance to develop without social stigmatism associated with diabetes. 

A recent quote by Camillo Ricordi, MD Scientific Director at DRI, says it all "We will cure diabetes. This is not a prediction; it is a promise."

We realize that none of this would be possible without he support we have received from the general public as well as building trades workers in Michigan. We want to thank everyone for helping make the Diabetes Research Institute become a reality.