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Pucker up: Local duo vies to kiss a pig
Cartee, Ball to participate in American Diabetes fundraiser
W Kiss a Pig file
In this photo from the 2011 Kiss-A-Pig event, Statesboro's Bubba Hunt puts on lipstick in his wedding dress outfit as he prepares to kiss Reba the pig. Hunt and GSU football coach Jeff Monken raised the most money for the American Diabetes Association in the event last year. - photo by Herald File

    What is the asking price to share a romantic moment between man and swine?
    Fourteen teams of people from around the region have kicked-off a 3-month-long fundraising effort to find out.
    The American Diabetes Association’s 20th annual Kiss-A-Pig Campaign officially began last weekend at Rousakis Plaza in Savannah. The yearly charity event once again will ask participants to collect donations benefitting the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and culminate with top money earners locking lips with a live pig during an announcement ceremony in Savannah this May — the portly guest-of-honor was chosen as the event’s focus by the ADA to pay homage to the original source of insulin.
    For a second consecutive year, and just the second time ever, two of Statesboro’s own have been announced as participants in the altruistic competition.
    The pair consisting of Ogeechee Technical College President Dr. Dawn Cartee and Statesboro philanthropist David Ball will join the fray this year, attempting to keep the Kiss-A-Pig title close to home.
    The local duo will try to follow with a win of their own the 2011 victory of first-time Bulloch County contestants Georgia Southern University Football Coach Jeff Monken and Statesboro businessman Tim “Bubba” Hunt.
    With the help of the Bulloch County community, Monken and Hunt raised approximately $36,000 last year through donations and a variety of fundraising events — runners-up raised approximately $20,000.
    Hunt and Monken puckered-up for Reba, the pig, during an announcement ceremony in Savannah’s Hyatt Regency Ballroom.
    The campaign as a whole collected more than $260,000.
    This year, ADA supporters hope for even more. To achieve that goal, Cartee and Ball will need to play a large role.
    “Kiss-A-Pig is a great, fun way to do some serious work,” said Cartee, who in addition to her role as President of Ogeechee Tech serves on the Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Statesboro. “The work of the ADA is vital to diabetics everywhere, and if I can help the cause in some small way, it is the least I can do.”
    “We encourage everyone to support Kiss-A-Pig and all the related events,” she said.
    According to Matthew Gainous, an OTC educator who serves as chairperson for the Ogeechee Tech American Diabetes Association Committee and will manage the Cartee/Ball campaign, several local events currently are lined up to raise money.
    Events include: the Duck for Diabetes Duck Race (Sunday, April 15), which will allow people to purchase rubber ducks and have them race at Splash in the Boro’s Lazy River, an annual Grillin’ in the Grove Barbeque Contest (Saturday, May 5) at Ogeechee Technical College Pecan Orchard, The Auction & Calcutta (Wednesday, May 16) at Spring Hill Suites and the Kiss-A-Pig Golf Tournament (Thursday, May 17) at Forest Heights Country Club.
    Individuals can bid during the auction for a chance to golf with Monken and former Georgia Southern greats.
    Cartee and Ball will compete this year with 13 other regional groups.
    The winner of the Kiss-A-Pig contest, the largest fundraiser of the year for American Diabetes Association, will be announced Saturday, May 19.
    “Dawn and David have done so much for this community and we just hope people will come out and support their fundraising efforts,” said Gainous in a release issued by the ADA.
    According to event officials, all funds raised during the Kiss-A-Pig campaign will be dedicated to curing diabetes and improving the lives of all people affected by the disease.
    Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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