October 22, 1999

Diabetes research getting high-octane celebrity help

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Country music star Mark Collie and former Miss America Nicole Johnson will be at VUMC to raise awareness of diabetes.

Diabetes research getting high-octane celebrity help

Two celebrities who happen to be insulin-dependent diabetics will visit VUMC next week to highlight the importance of diabetes research and awareness.

The first event, Progress Toward a Cure, will feature former Miss America Nicole Johnson, who has spent the last year touring the nation to raise awareness of diabetes. Registration begins at 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 25, at the University Club.

Mark Collie's annual Race for the Cure celebrity stock car race, which benefits the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center, will be held two days later on Wednesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Nashville Speedway. Free tickets to the race are available for VUMC staff and faculty.

"VUMC has long been committed to the research and treatment of diabetes," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs. "These events contribute to both of those goals by educating people about diabetes and raising money for further research into the disease."

For the past year Johnson has been partnered with Eli Lilly and Co. for her nationwide speaking tour called The Search for the Missing Millions, a diabetes campaign aimed at helping people identify and control diabetes.

"I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 19 years old," said Johnson.

"The Search for the Missing Millions gives me the opportunity to reach millions of Americans who are not aware that they may be at risk for serious complications, either because they are not diagnosed or they are not in control of their blood sugar."

Country music singer Mark Collie will also attend that diabetes awareness event to promote Race for the Cure, his annual celebrity stock car race.

Last year's race raised $270,000 for the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center, a number that is expected to rise as the race gets more popular.

"They are doing great things in the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center and I am very proud to help keep those things going," said Collie, who has been insulin-dependent for 17 years.

The free tickets to the celebrity-studded stock car race are available through the Marketing Department. Anyone seeking tickets should call 936-0301 or stop by the Courtyard Cafe on Monday, Oct. 25, from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.