Drive Against Diabetes recently announced its debut and fund-raising campaign to raise awareness of juvenile diabetes, an autoimmune disease also known as Type 1 diabetes.
The campaign includes a cross-country tour featuring Sgt. Craig Schultz, a New York State corrections officer, driving a Cat skid steer loader more than 4,000 mi. from New York to Los Angeles. Proceeds from the Drive Against Diabetes campaign will be awarded to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF).
The Drive began Sept. 1 from New York City and will continue until Schultz reaches Los Angeles. The route, which spans approximately 4,000 mi., will take Schultz through several metropolitan areas such as Cleveland, OH; Indianapolis, IN; St. Louis, MO; Kansas City, KS; Denver, CO; Flagstaff, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; and Palm Springs, CA.
A comprehensive listing of towns and cities along the route can be found on the Drive Against Diabetes Web site. Drive Against Diabetes supporters also will be able to track Schultz’s progress via the Caterpillar Web site. Donations can be made through the Drive Against Diabetes Web site and at participating Caterpillar dealers and The Cat Rental Store locations along the route. School districts along the route also have been invited to participate in the fund-raising effort.
Juvenile diabetes affects more than 1 million children and adults in the United States. The disease, which usually strikes in childhood, causes a person’s pancreas to stop producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. People with juvenile diabetes must take multiple injections of insulin daily or receive insulin through a pump just to survive.
The disease carries the constant threat of devastating complications including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and amputation. It may result in drastic reduction in quality of life and shortening of the average life span.
Schultz’s father, Harold, was an insulin dependent diabetic. The disease had a daily impact on the lives of Craig and his two brothers. In August 1998, Harold died at the age of 61.
“My father’s passing was particularly difficult for me and my family,” said Schultz. “Although I’ve been active in my community and volunteered my time for JDRF, I always had this feeling in my heart that I could do more. Now with the support of generous organizations such as Caterpillar and its dealer network, I now have the opportunity to make a greater contribution and aid in the fight of this devastating disease.”
Prior to becoming a corrections officer, Schultz owned a landscaping business, for which he quickly became skilled with a skid steer. In addition to his landscape work, Schultz used his skid steer to plow snow from church parking lots and the driveways of senior citizens free of charge. He also assisted in the cleanup of Buffalo streets on several occasions.
“My father purchased my first skid steer for me,” said Schultz. “While conceptualizing the idea for the Drive Against Diabetes, I thought of how I’ve used my skid steer to help others in the community. Taking my contributions a step further, I thought what better way to honor my father and help those with juvenile diabetes than by driving a Cat skid steer cross-country to raise money for research.”
“At Caterpillar, we strive to contribute toward a global environment in which all people can work safely and live healthy productive lives, now and in the future,” said Glen Barton, chairman and CEO of Caterpillar Inc. “We are a proud supporter of the Drive Against Diabetes and its positive effort to eradicate a disease that poses significant long-term health issues.”
Schultz will be driving a Cat 236 skid steer loader donated by Caterpillar and Syracuse Supply Company in Syracuse, NY. The skid steer is specially equipped with the Caterpillar Product Link System, which is a satellite technology-based product that provides two-way information between machine on-board systems and Caterpillar dealers/customers.
“The dedication of JDRF volunteers, who have seen first-hand the devastation of juvenile diabetes and its complications with loved ones, is paramount in JDRF’s effort to find a cure through research,” said Peter Van Etten, president and CEO of JDRF. “We commend Craig Schultz and the Caterpillar team for undertaking a journey that will generate national awareness as well as support JDRF’s research funding.”
About Drive Against Diabetes
Drive Against Diabetes is a year-long campaign to raise awareness of Juvenile Onset (Type 1) diabetes. The JDRF will be the beneficiary of all proceeds from Drive Against Diabetes events.
Sponsored by Project Future in Wheatfield, NY, and supported by the Town of Wheatfield, NY, the Drive will consist of appearances at events in the northeast during the summer of 2003, culminating with a cross-country tour in the fall.
For more information, visit www.driveagainstdiabetes.com or visit , www.CAT.com.
About Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Founded in 1970 by parents of children with juvenile diabetes, the JDRF is a nonprofit, non-governmental funder of diabetes research. Since inception, JDRF has provided more than $600 million to diabetes research worldwide.
The organization’s mission is constant: to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.
For more information, call 800/533-CURE or visit www.jdrf.org.