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August 28, 2016
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Carnival for a Cure

While I posted yesterday that Nick Jonas was in New York Sunday for the Diabetes Research Institute's Carnival for a Cure, I didn't mention much about the event itself. Billed as "New York City's largest indoor carnival," the event was a cross between a street fair and an arcade, aimed largely at the under-twelve crowd. Three walls of the Metropolitan Pavillion were lined with inflatable mazes, slides, and bounce rooms, and a human-powered "mechanical bull". Several street-fair games-of-skill, aimed again at the under-twelve set, occupied a block of canopies in the center of the room. Prize tickets were given to the winners, and by the end of the afternoon almost every family there was wrangling multiple shopping bags of toys. The food court included coffee for the grown-ups and bottled Wat-aah (water) for all, as well as a selection of kid-friendly foods with the carb counts conveniently posted up front. Other tradesfolk and performers clowned around, demonstrated juggling, and provided face painting, temporary tattoos, balloon art, friendship bracelets, and military-style dog-tags.




For the grown-ups, there was the Bayer HealthCare booth showcasing the entire range of Bayer home glucometers, a nurse/CDE, raffles, and a silent auction. Auction items included guitars signed by Nick Jonas and by Taylor Swift, signed sports memorabilia, spa days, and a number of other prizes. Raffle prizes included signed glucose meters and meet-and-greets. Meanwhile, the "wheel of fortune" at the Bayer booth allowed everyone to spin for pedometers, free meters, and autographed Jonas Brothers CDs.


Front and center of this all was the main stage, emceed by Diabetes Research Institute Foundation president and CEO Robert A. Pearlman. At intervals, the "all Jonas, all the time" background music would be interrupted by the announcement of raffle winners, and towards the end of the day, Nick Jonas himself.


While the goal of Carnival for a Cure was to raise funds for the DRI's research efforts, there was significant presence from, and investment by, event sponsor Bayer Diabetes. In addition to their information booth and prize wheel, Nick's appearance was made possible through his partnership with Bayer, and there was at least one Bayer representative on the event committee.


That said, it should be no surprise that the group of people in the Nick Jonas interview room included representatives from Bayer Diabetes. It was here that my contact, Suzanne Jacobson of MSL Group, introduced me to Susan Yarin, Director of Global Communications for Bayer Diabetes Care. Not only are Susan and Holly Schachner (Director of Medical Affairs) responsible for managing Bayer's presence at events such as the Carnival for a Cure, but they were interested when later, I told them that I had blogged about the Contour USB meter, that it was not all glowing praise, and why.


While I'm mentioning some of the movers and shakers here, I should also mention here Lori Weintraub, DRI Foundation's Vice President of Marketing & Communications. In addition to doing a lot of the event's legwork, Lori was managing credentials, playing hostess to the media, and in general doing everything she could to make the event a fun, financial, and media success. One of the keys to that success has been getting entire families involved. Not only were several children involved in the presentation to Nick Jonas, but the DRI children routinely get involved in the activities and the fundraising that is necessary to supporting the technical activities of the Institute. In some respects, this is similar to the way children with diabetes get involved in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, but from what I saw and heard it sounds like DRI youth get involved much earlier in the event planning stages.


Which brings me back to the kids -- preschoolers crawling through an inflatable playground, teenagers trying to outrun each other at the inflatable "bungee run", kids with hoards of prize tickets collecting all sorts of fun toys for later, and of course all of them looking to get close to their idol, Nick Jonas. You could tell they were having a good time.


Big thank-yous to everyone who provided me the opportunity to attend a fun family event.


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