F | E | D

Olympic Gold Medalist, Diabetic Gary Hall Jr. Will Be Featured Speaker, MC for JDRF May 8 Fund-Raiser

Despite being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just months before the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Hall won or shared four swimming medals in those games and is training to compete in this summer's Olympics in Athens.

More than 500 people are expected to attend JDRF's fifth annual fund-raising gala, which will be held at the Marriott City Center in Denver. Last year, the gala raised more than $340,000 for research toward finding a cure for type 1 diabetes, which affects more than 1.3 million Americans. Each year more than 13,000 children are diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S.

Honorees for this year's gala will be David Spira and his wife, Shirleyan Price, of Denver, and their 18-year-old son, Jeremy, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 7. For years, Spira and his wife have been active in JDRF and the search for a cure for the disease, and he has served on the local JDRF board for over five years.

The Spira family, including Spira's parents, Seymour and Jeanette, and sisters and brothers-in-law, Leslie and Mark Lopez and Ellen and Fred Fulkerson -- have pledged a $150,000 challenge grant to JDRF, to underwrite a JDRF grant made to Dr. Ronald Gill of the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes.

When Hall was diagnosed with diabetes, doctors told him he wouldn't be able to compete again. He aggressively researched the disease and its affects, however, and sought out specialized medical care to help manage the disease. Hall returned to a rigorous training regimen in time to enter the U.S. Olympic Trials and qualify for four Olympic events in 2000.

In Sydney, Hall won an individual gold in the 50-meter freestyle, sharing it with his teammate and training partner, Anthony Ervin. He also won gold and silver in the relays and the bronze medal in the 100-meter freestyle.

Hall currently is training for this summer's Olympic Games in Athens and is in a position to make history. If he wins as many medals in Athens as he has won in his previous two Olympic appearances, he would surpass the American record of 12 for most medals won over an Olympic career in any sport.

The 29-year swimmer was born in Cincinnati and attended the University of Texas.

The JDRF annual gala features live and silent auctions -- more than $100,000 worth of goods, services and vacation packages -- plus entertainment from the Boulder-based band, Firefall.

Annually, more than $1 million raised locally is directed to support clinical care and research at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.

About JDRF: JDRF, the leading charitable funder and advocate of juvenile (type 1) diabetes research worldwide, was founded in 1970 by the parents of children with juvenile diabetes -- a disease which strikes children suddenly, makes them insulin-dependent for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications. Since inception, JDRF has provided more than $680 million in direct funding to diabetes research. More than 80 percent of JDRF's expenditures directly support research and research-related education. JDRF's mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. For more information, visit the JDRF web site at www.jdrf.org or call 800-533-CURE.

For further information, please contact Janice Kercheville or Nancy Walters, both of Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, +1-303-597-0036.

Source: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

DENVER, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Olympic gold-medal winner Gary Hall Jr. -- and type 1 diabetic -- will be a featured speaker and emcee at the May 8 Dream Gala of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Rocky Mountain Chapter.