The ongoing effort by Georgia Southern football coach Jeff Monken and Statesboro businessman Bubba Hunt to earn the right to kiss a pig resumes Saturday with a "Porker Run" to benefit the American Diabetes Association's 2011 Kiss-a-Pig campaign.
The Porker Run actually is a Poker Run with the first bike out of Sinkhole Customs at 11 a.m. and the last bike in at Locos Grill & Pub by 2 p.m.
All money gathered as part of the annual ADA event - which is the association's largest fundraising effort of the year - will be used to find a cure for diabetes and improve the lives of people affected by the disease.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 26 million Americans are living with diabetes and another 79 million are at risk for developing the disease - It is the nation's fifth deadliest disease, killing more than 220,000 Americans each year, and the leading cause of heart disease, stroke, adult blindness, kidney failure and non-traumatic amputations.
For the first time in the Kiss-a-Pig event history, Bulloch County is represented, as Monken, Hunt and the rest of the Statesboro team attempt to out-collect more than 15 other groups throughout the Coastal Empire.
"For years, only the greater Savannah area has participated. This is the first year the Statesboro area has gotten involved. The area includes Bulloch, Screven, Evans and Candler Counties," said Broni Gainous, campaign manager for the Statesboro Team - Gainous works for Statesboro Parks and Recreation. "We really, really hope the celebrity of ‘Bubba' [Hunt] and Coach Monken can be used to benefit the American Diabetes Association. We hope that this effort really takes off."
Registration for Saturday's Porker Run begins at 10 a.m. at Sinkhole Customs, 9433 Hwy 301 South. It is a $20 donation for the first hand and $5 for each additional hand. First prize is $200 for the best hand, $50 for second best and $50 for worst hand. The finish will be at Locos, just off the bypass and Fair Road.
All of the participating teams' efforts will culminate May 7 at a celebratory gala, when the most successful fundraising group is granted the privilege of kissing the pig -The program uses a pig, said Gainous, because insulin, used to treat diabetes, was originally derived from the animal's pancreas.
The fundraiser's two most recent winners have raised more than $20,000 - Beaufort Memorial Hospital CEO Rick Toomey raised $21,000 last year and Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling collected $27,000 in 2009.
Hunt hopes the Bulloch County community can surpass both winning efforts.
"We are not sure what to realistically expect," he said. "But our goal is to reach $30,000."
For more information about the Porker Run or the Kiss-a-Pig fundraiser, call Maria Center at (912) 353-8110, ext. 3091.