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American Diabetes Association kicks off Kiss-a-Pig Saturday
Makin Bacon in the Boro represents Bulloch County
Makin Bacon photo
The Statesboro team in the 23rd Annual Kiss-a-Pig campaign for the American Diabetes Association is pictured. Back row from left: Colette Gale, Phil Sumner, Sheila Sanchez-Vesga, Julie Lumpkin and Lora Bowen Akins. Front row from left: Dr. Howard Gale, Penny Harris, Todd Williford and Hope Sumner. - photo by Special

The largest diabetes awareness and fundraising campaign of the year for the American Diabetes Association, Kiss-a-Pig, launches on Saturday at 3 p.m. on the Main Stage on River Street in Savannah.

Once again, a team from Bulloch County will compete.

Presented by Bi-Lo, the 23nd Annual Kiss-a-Pig Campaign, "Once Upon a Swine: A Fairy Tale World Without Diabetes," is sponsored by Anne Whitton Bolyea Legacy Fund, Wet Willie's, Morrison Dental Associates, Land Rover, Wells Fargo, Bojangles' Healthy Options, WSAV-TV and radio station WRHQ.

A contest among community leaders to raise money, Kiss-a-Pig is a regional campaign with competitors from throughout southeast Georgia. At the end of the three-month campaign, the team with the most money kisses a live pig, honored by the American Diabetes Association as the original source of insulin.

This year's teams represent a diverse mix of professionals from Chatham, Bulloch and Liberty counties.

Representing Statesboro and Bulloch County will be a team known as "Makin Bacon in the Boro."

The team is led by Todd Williford, the principal of Mattie Lively Elementary. The other team members are:

- Penny Harris, ALESCO;
- Julie Lumpkin, Portal Elementary teacher;
- Hope Sumner, Sallie Zetterower Elementary assistant principal;
- Phil Sumner, Po-Jo's;
- Lora Bowen Akins, Sea Island Bank;
- Dr. Howard Gale, Ankle & Foot Associates;
- Colette Gale, Sallie Zetterower Elementary teacher; and
- Sheila Sanchez-Vesga, East Georgia Radiology.

Makin Bacon has scheduled a book signing with Bobby Deen, a son of Paula Deen, for his recipe book "Bobby Deen's Everyday Eats" for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 21, at Books-A-Million in the Statesboro Crossing shopping center, 343 Henry Blvd. Books-A-Million pledges to donate 10 percent of all sales during the event to the American Diabetes Association.

The winner of the competition will be announced on May 16 during a gala at the Hyatt Regency Savannah.

For more information about the 22nd Annual Kiss-a-Pig Campaign, visit

Approximately 29.1 million Americans have diabetes. That's about in in every 11 people.

Eighty-six million Americans — more than one in three adults — have pre-diabetes. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 30 percent of them will go on to develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

Total medical costs and lost work and wages for people with diabetes costs $245 billion
annually. The risk of death for adults with diabetes is 50 percent higher than for adults without diabetes.

Today, 4,660 people will be diagnosed with diabetes and 200 people will die. Today, diabetes will claim 200 limbs. Today, diabetes will cost America $671 million. About 8.1 million Americans have diabetes and don't know it.

During American Diabetes Association ALERT, Tuesday, March 24, the ADA's nationwide campaign to find the undiagnosed, free screenings and diabetes literature will be available at locations throughout Southeast Georgia and Coastal South Carolina.

For more information on diabetes, ALERT or the Kiss-a-Pig Campaign, contact Maria Center at or (912) 353-8110, ext. 3091.


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