Research fund to host annual Granite Gala

NASHUA – Every day someone pricks their fingers and hopes for the best. They take their shots and hope they work. They wonder if a tingle in their arm is just a cramp or the beginning of nerve damage, if a little blurriness in their eyes is normal or the start of blindness.

Type 1 diabetes may be able to be controlled, but so far, can’t be cured. And so the fear, uneasiness and discomfort that accompanies the disease goes on.

That’s why people like Deborah Bradley, and others who work for and support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, never give up trying to get that one extra dollar that might make the difference in finding a cure and ending the dangerous and life-altering epidemic of Type 1 diabetes.

“I have three uncles with Type 1 diabetes, so I have a personal connection to the cause,” said Bradley, special events coordinator for the JDRF. “It means constant checking (of blood sugar) and discomfort. And when I see kids who’ve just been diagnosed, it takes them awhile to get used to the process of taking shots every day and checking their sugars. And to realize they can’t do some things that other kids can do.

“To me, the people who have to live with diabetes, it’s a full-time, ongoing job. It really does kind of crimp your style and your life.”

The JDRF of Manchester will hold its eighth annual fundraiser for the cause Saturday, March 28, from 6 p.m.-midnight at Sky Meadow Country Club in Nashua.

More than 3 million people in America have Type 1 diabetes, and more than 13,000 children are diagnosed each year, according to www. Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes and insulin-dependent diabetes, happens when the body’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Without an appropriate amount of insulin the body can’t move the glucose in food into other cells throughout the body. Once the cells in the pancreas are completely destroyed, the glucose just stays in the blood, wreaking havoc on all the organ systems of the body. If a person with diabetes allows their blood sugar to get too high or too low, there are serious consequences, which can include coma and death. And it can happen in an instant.

“There are some kids who come in, and they are heroic about it,” Bradley said. “And they make the best of it. But there are some who are intimidated or shy about it. They are reticent about talking about it, or telling their friends about it. . . . It’s a tremendous responsibility to put on their little shoulders.”

Last year, the JDRF in Manchester raised about $280,000 with the Granite Gala and are hoping to match or surpass that this year. Bradley said 85 cents for every dollar donated goes directly to fund research.

And that research includes looking for cures, treatments and complications of diabetes, according to Nationally, JDRF received $156 million n funding in 2008, which went toward paying for 1,000 projects, including 39 clinical trials.

This year’s gala theme is Passport to Cure, and Bradley promises some new attractions for this year’s gala.

“In addition to the live and silent auctions, we’re going to have a new kind of auction,” Bradley said. “An auctioneer will just call out different dollar amounts from $100 to $10,000 dollars. And whatever amount a person is comfortable donating, they just raise their paddles. We’re really hoping this will be fun and give us an extra boost.”

At $200 a ticket, people not only get a catered meal and live music, but they also get a chance to bid on auction items that include a trip to Martha’s Vineyard and Disney vacations.

“We have been so overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who donated items,” Bradley said. “We’ve just been so blessed.”

Among the other auction items is a signed basketball from the Boston Celtics, a signed baseball from the Boston Red Sox and Red Sox tickets. Further, several area museums donated family packages as well.

“After working with nonprofits for about eight years,” Bradley said, “I can say it’s just a very tight-knit community. We all give what we can to each other.”

For ticket information, call the JDRF office at 222-2300. For more information, visit