St. Albert rocks diabetes again
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 11, 2012 06:00 am
Events like Rockín August are irrefutable demonstrations of the giving and caring nature of the people of St. Albert, especially when it comes to supporting worthy causes both in our community and in our province.
Finishing up today, the annual festival of international cars and music caps another successful summer event that has become a staple of St. Albertís landscape. But itís about more than just old wrecks that have been restored to pristine condition and more than resurrecting the glory days of just going for a cruise.
On average, Rockín August raises approximately $100,000 per year for the Alberta Diabetes Foundation. While last yearís weather didnít co-operate with the festival and drove fundraising down to $70,000, organizers this year set a goal of $150,000. Buying one button at a cost of $3 goes a long way towards helping doctors and researchers trying to arrest the progression of diabetes in Alberta.
The numbers arenít pretty. According to Statistics Canada, in 2011, almost 150,000 people in Canada had been diagnosed with either Type I or II diabetes, with 18,000 more men than women living with the disease. That number is expected to balloon to 236,000 people by the year 2016, according to Diabetes Compass. The disease is the sixth-highest leading cause of death in Canada. It is also one of the leading causes of vision loss and limb amputation.
The Alberta Diabetes Foundation (ADF) is one of the organizations trying to investigate new ways of treating the disease. With the money it receives, the ADF funds researchers in their studies towards better understanding both types of diabetes and what can be done about them. Money also goes the Alberta Diabetes Institute (ADI), a world-class research facility where research takes place, all in the hopes of finding a cure.
Every year the ADF thanks the organizers of Rockín August for their donation, which they deserve. But behind the scenes are hundreds of others who help make the events possible, such as corporate sponsors, almost all of which are local, service and community groups that help with organizing and recruiting volunteers, the volunteers themselves and the car enthusiasts who bring their rides out to the show and shines, that in turn lures the public out to take a peek and buy a button.
The focus of the event might have changed slightly ó in 2010 it was decided money from Rockín August would stop donating for equipment costs and instead fund two researchers to work towards a cure. But what has not changed is the passion for the event and what it represents. From the organizers who spend each year putting together an event that encompasses almost the entire city, to the corporate sponsors who lend their names, money and products to help make the event a success, to the volunteers who dress up in their 1950s best and sell buttons, Rockín August is a summer event that is embraced by the entire community. And with each button sold, the odds of curing diabetes improve.
While we donít yet know the final total of funds raised, we do know what the organizers and the greater community have done for those with diabetes. And for that, they deserve everyoneís thanks.