Laila Ali to "Kiss Diabetes Goodbye" during November's American Diabetes Month®

November 3, 2008

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is teaming up with celebrity health role-model Laila Ali as the spokesperson for a new promotion - Kiss Diabetes Goodbye. Developed to reinforce the Association's outreach efforts to raise awareness about the seriousness of diabetes throughout American Diabetes Month, Kiss Diabetes Goodbye,, invites consumers to help raise a total of $1 million in one month for diabetes research, advocacy, and education programs in the community.

During American Diabetes Month, which is observed during the month of November, the American Diabetes Association is asking the American public, "Why Should You Care About Diabetes?" and has unveiled findings from a new survey that sheds light on the need to care about diabetes,

"Throughout November, we will be promoting Kiss Diabetes Goodbye via several channels, including national advertising, direct mail, Association e-Newsletters, Association message boards, and donated online media. The goal is to raise $1 million in one month to support research and community programs that will help change the future of diabetes."  Stewart Perry, Chair of the Board of the Association, said. "With the help of Laila Ali, we hope to involve a large audience of adults and children throughout the country."

To help the American Diabetes Association reach its goal, the V8 brand has agreed to provide a matching gift for every dollar raised up to $100,000. Other campaign supporters include Eli Lilly and Company, Roche and the collaboration of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company and AstraZeneca.

Laila Ali, the daughter of boxer Muhammad Ali, is known in her own right as a world class athlete. She also recently competed on television's popular "Dancing with the Stars" and is a host with wrestler Hulk Hogan of the athletic competition reality show, "American Gladiators."  Recently, she was named Health and Lifestyle correspondent for CBS' The Early Show. Her long standing commitment to healthy living and personal best allows this campaign to transcend genders, ages and cultures as diabetes is an issue facing all of America.

"This is a wonderful campaign that can really make a difference if America truly takes action", says Ms Ali. "I'm such a believer in having children learn early about being active, eating well, and having a positive attitude, that it was easy to say "yes" to the ADA in lending my support to Kiss Diabetes Goodbye!"

Through a dedicated web initiative, the ADA will encourage consumers to make a donation to the Association, forward "kisses" or e-cards to their family and friends, sign a petition to the new US President in support of Americans with diabetes and share stories of inspiration from people battling diabetes.

Why Should You Care about Diabetes?

Diabetes is growing at an alarming rate with nearly 24 million children and adults living with this disease and another 57 million Americans at risk for developing the disease. Diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, and amputation, yet one-fourth of people who have diabetes don't even know it. Since 1987, death rates due to diabetes have continued to rise, while the death rates due to heart disease, stroke and cancer have declined.

Diabetes is associated with an increased risk for a number of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications, which include:

  • Heart disease and stroke - Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
  • Blindness - Diabetic retinopathy causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year making diabetes the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age.
  • Kidney disease - Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2002.
  • Amputations - More than 60% of non traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)