Gary Hall, Jr.: Medaling in Diabetes (Continued)

On December 4th, I got back from Guatemala to attend a fundraiser for the Diabetes Research Institute and The Phoenix Swim and Sport Foundation, a not-for-profit charged with funding The Race Club, an organization that assists Olympic-bound swimmers achieve their dreams. I attend a lot of fundraising events but what made this particular one memorable is that this event was put on by my wife Elizabeth and some of our close friends.

When we first started sitting down to discuss the event a few months back we decided that since we planned on having this be an annual event that we should start small and build it. We were offered the use of South Beach's best eating establishment, the famous Joe's Stone Crab, by owner Steve Sawitz. And this kicked things off. We decided to call the event the Circle of Champions Charity Brunch and every year honor an athlete that has prevailed despite having diabetes. One year it may be a professional the next it may be an eight-year-old soccer player. The idea is to inspire others while raising money for diabetes research.

And thus the project began. Elizabeth spent so much time working on this. I gained a new respect for the thousands of volunteers that donate their time to the many dinners and walks across the world raising money for this worthy cause. It isn't easy. Our project was going to honor me... Elizabeth's idea, not mine. I donated the famous Everlast stars and stripes boxing robe that I wore out to the starting blocks of the 2004 Olympic games to be auctioned off. "How much should we start the bidding at?" I remember Elizabeth asking me. "I dunno. That robe has already cost me five grand. I should pay someone to take it
before I get in more trouble" (I was fined five thousand dollars for not wearing the team uniform, with the sponsor logo on it). "Okay, I guess we'll start it at $500. "

Our expectations were low. We had put together a few select items to be auctioned live. There wasn't a silent auction. "Keep it intimate, casual" was the mantra. We managed to sell close to 200 tickets for our first annual charity brunch. We raised over $50,000 dollars. The robe sold for $11,000. I couldn't believe it! I was so excited! Everyone was so excited! Our casual event was contributing to research that will lead to a cure for diabetes and it felt really great. In the past I have contributed in many ways to the cause, but this was creating something new. All in all, it was a great event, we raised a bunch of money, and everyone feasted on stone crabs on an intimate and casual Sunday morning at South Beach's finest restaurant. So, mark your calendar for next year's event on Dec. 5th. It's a good excuse to come down to South Florida for a good cause.

I would like to thank Steve and Brian from Joe's, Elizabeth and Lauren from the Diabetes Research Institute, and Jill and Robert. Robert lost his voice auctioning off the items in the best auctioneer display I've ever seen. Michele Pommier provided the models for the event presenting the gold chocolate medals to guests. Van Michael Salon did up their hair for the event. Thanks Bianca and Jeanie! And thanks to Jana Water for providing the beverages!

On December 6th I was in Orlando for a diabetes-related convention. Now I am heading to Japan for some swim clinics, then over to Europe for some business meetings, the holidays, and the New Year. I'm Gary Hall Jr. I'm busy. I have diabetes. And I'm happy to be involved in this dLife project.

Read Gary Hall Jr.'s bio.

Read Gary Hall Jr.'s expert columns here.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

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Last Modified Date: June 27, 2013

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