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Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to Honor Duane DeSisto of Insulet Corporation and Senator Edward M. Kennedy at 27th Annual Hearts & Heroes Gala

WELLESLEY, Mass., May 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The New England Chapter - Bay State Branch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide and the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 research, will host its 27th Annual Hearts & Heroes Gala on Saturday, May 16, 2009 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. JDRF will pay tribute to Duane DeSisto, President and Chief Executive Officer of Insulet Corporation, as Honoree while the Nancy Jones Diabetes Champion Award will be given to U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The black tie event is expected to raise $1.5 million for research to find a cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.

Insulet Corporation is an innovative medical device company dedicated to improving the lives of people with diabetes. The company's OmniPod Insulin Management System is a revolutionary, discreet and easy-to-use insulin infusion system that features two easy-to-use parts with no tubing and fully-automated cannula insertion. Through the OmniPod System, Insulet seeks to expand the use of insulin pump therapy among people with insulin-dependent diabetes. Founded in 2000, Insulet Corporation (Nasdaq: PODD) is based in Bedford, Massachusetts. Insulet began a local partnership with the JDRF New England Chapter - Bay State Branch in 2006 when they became a Bronze Research Sponsor of the Main Event Gala. Insulet has continued to support and attend the Gala every year. In 2008 they expanded their support by partnering with JDRF on a national level by sponsoring multiple Walk to Cure Diabetes sites throughout the country, including the Boston Walk.

Duane DeSisto has served as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Insulet since 2003. Previously, he served as the company's acting Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer. Prior to joining Insulet, Mr. DeSisto was with, Inc., a business solutions provider for the pulp and paper industry, serving in various positions including President, Chief Executive Office and Chief Financial Officer. Previously, Mr. DeSisto served as Chief Financial Officer of FGX International Holdings Limited (formerly AAI-Foster Grant, Inc.), an accessories wholesaler. From 1986 to 1995, Mr. DeSisto served as Chief Financial Officer of ZOLL Medical Corporation, a medical device company. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Providence College and a Master of Business Administration from Bryant College.

JDRF will also pay tribute to Senator Kennedy for the significant impact he has had through public policy and research support in the lives of people with diabetes. In his nearly 40 years of service, Senator Kennedy assisted in many victories for people with diabetes including vital support when he voted in 2008 to re-authorize the Special Diabetes Programs under the Medicare package which included a two-year extension of the Special Statutory Funding Program for type 1 diabetes research. Previous funding through this program has lead to real advances in many areas of type 1 research. Another important piece of legislation is the passing of the 2007 landmark Senate bill that lifted bans on stem cell research in America. Senator Kennedy has been and continues to be a steadfast supporter of stem cell research and the possible advances this type of research could have in the world of diabetes.

Senator Kennedy is currently Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He also serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he is Chairman of the Seapower Subcommittee. In addition, he is a member of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee and the Congressional Friends of Ireland, and a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Senator Kennedy is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Virginia Law School. He lives in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, with his wife Victoria Reggie Kennedy. Together, they have five children--Kara, Edward Jr., and Patrick Kennedy, and Curran and Caroline Raclin.

"In the fight against diabetes, we have one vision: to find a cure. Duane DeSisto, Insulet Corporation, and Senator Kennedy are true champions in the hearts and minds of all of us with loved ones who have type 1 diabetes," said Heidi Daniels, CFRE, executive director, JDRF New England Chapter. "Due to their unwavering commitment and passion, our mission will be accomplished."

In addition to the award presentations, the Hearts & Heroes Gala will include a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception, seated dinner, live and silent auctions, and dancing to the sounds of The Marsels. FOX25 News Anchors Maria Stephanos and Mark Ockerbloom will serve as event emcees.

About JDRF

JDRF is the leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 research. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly, and can be fatal. Until a cure is found, people with type 1 diabetes have to test their blood sugar and give themselves insulin injections multiple times or use a pump - each day, every day of their lives. And even with that intensive care, insulin is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications, which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation. Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.3 billion to diabetes research, including more than $156 million in FY2008. In FY2008, the Foundation funded more than 1,000 centers, grants in laboratories, hospitals, and industry, and fellowships in 22 countries. For more information, visit the JDRF Web site at or call 781-431-0700.

Note to editors:

The honoree and other guests will be available for photo opportunities from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM during a pre-Gala reception the night of the event in the Regis Room on the third floor. In addition, the honoree and event emcees will also be available for photo opportunities at 6:45 PM in the Grand Ballroom. For more information, contact Lauren Shields at 781-431-0700 x18 (office), 508-269-1569 (cell), or

    Contacts: Lauren Shields, Public Outreach Manager, 781-431-0700 x18
              (office), 508-269-1569 (cell), or

              Darcy Keane, Lazar Partners, 646-871-8487,

SOURCE Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF); Insulet Corporation
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