Diabetes Makes a Great Holiday Gift

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Okay, not literally. But if you’re looking for a creative way to show your support, consider making a donation to Zip the Cure, an effort organized by a 15-year-old young woman with Type 1 named Monica Oxenreiter. Monica lives in Pittsburgh and has had Type 1 since she was 13 months old. Her brother, John, was diagnosed when he was eight. Monica got in touch with me a few weeks ago to tell me about her project, which aims to raise a $100 donation for JDRF in every zip code in the country. Here’s what Monica told me:

I came up with a great idea to raise money:  RAISE $100 IN EVERY ZIP CODE OF THE UNITED STATES!  So JDRF approved my idea as a third party fundraiser, my parents formed a non-profit, and on a shoe-string budget, we created an awesome website that will show graphically when a zip code is “sponsored”.   When we are finished selling this map, we will have raised 4.2 million dollars for research to find a cure for Juvenile Diabetes.  I think this is the first time anyone has tried a project like this.  We have no paid staff and all of our proceeds will be donated to JDRF.  We went live on November 14, 2009, which is World Diabetes Day.  I hope you are still reading at this point and I hope you will visit www.zipthecure.com to see what our project is all about.

I think that’s pretty awesome —  it reminds me of Stephen Colbert’s “Better Know a District” series, but with a much more philanthropic aim.  So I want to encourage people to check out Monica’s project and make a donation in their zip code (or, if your zip code is taken, make one for a different area — think of it as “one nation under diabetes”). Not only will you be supporting JDRF — which may be on your holiday donation list to begin with — but you’ll be making a real difference to Monica and her family.

Oh, and here’s a video of a speech Monica gave at the JDRF gala in Pittsburgh when she was thirteen:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsjWUPHszR0[/youtube]

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