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Six Flags, JDRF partner to fullfill million wishes for cure

Date: 2/24/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

AGAWAM -- On May 2, over 700 people will gather in the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's (JDRF) annual Promise Ball to honor those fighting this disease and those who work tirelessly to find a cure.

This year, the JDRF will present Six Flags President Larry Litton with its highest honor, the Star of Hope Award, for his consistent work on behalf of the foundation and his efforts to help raise $1 million at this year's ball.

"It is a true honor to be recognized by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and to be a part of the 2009 Promise Ball," Litton told Reminder Publications. "As I have become more involved each year with this great organization I have come to realize just how many families and individuals this terrible disease touches. JDRF is the world's largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 diabetes research and since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.3 billion to research. To be honored by these outstanding individuals is in a word, humbling."

Bethany Spada, special events manager at JDRF, noted that the organization is aiming to keep its Promise Ball "million-dollar" streak alive this year. She noted that for the past two years the ball has raised over $1.1 million.

Eight-five percent of funds raised for the JDRF goes to research.

Melissa Pinkerton, public relations manager for Six Flags New England, explained that Six Flags personnel is assisting Litton in his fundraising efforts for the Promise Ball by reaching out to local businesses throughout the Pioneer Valley.

"Six Flags New England has a longstanding relationship with JDRF and we see the amazing work they do first hand so it is an honor to assist with their fundraising opportunities for the 2009 Promise Ball," she said. "Their team is built of the most dedicated, passionate, driven people and we are fortunate enough to be able to work side by side with them."

Six Flags New England partners with the JDRF each fall to host the Western Massachusetts Walk to Cure Diabetes, Litton noted.

"The JDRF walk is a true highlight of our year when thousands of walkers donate their time and money to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to find a cure," he said. "There is an energy that surrounds this event every year that is so contagious. We look forward to focusing that same energy to raising additional money for the 2009 JDRF Promise Ball."

The ball is a black-tie optional event featuring live and silent auctions, a cocktail reception, a multi-course dinner and live entertainment.

For sponsorship opportunities, an auction preview, ticket options, volunteer opportunities and event details, visit their Web site at

Additional questions about the 2009 Promise Ball may be submitted via e-mail to