About 350 supporters of the William Sansum Diabetes Center turned out on Saturday, August 26 for the 15th annual Taste of the Vine fundraiser held on the idyllic Summerland bluff grounds of QAD Inc. The center netted about $125,000 from the event for its research, care, and education programs.
Guests mingled on the expansive deck and grounds at QAD, enjoying the panoramic ocean views while sampling offerings from fine food and beverage purveyors. Cutler’s Artisan Spirits, Santa Barbara’s only distillery, was among the 37 food and beverage purveyors serving up tastes, with proprietor Ian Cutler personally serving his delectable spirits.
In her role as Mistress of Ceremonies, Executive Director Ellen Goodstein exuded the passion she brings on a daily basis to this critically important organization. She introduced Charles Mattocks, executive director of Reversed, a reality show about diabetes that premiered this summer on the Discovery Life Channel. Mattocks shared his enthusiasm for raising funds for diabetes, a disease that doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
Board President Dr. Alex DePaoli shared some of the center’s exciting research projects, including developing an artificial pancreas. After 10 years of effort, the first device went on the market earlier this year. This hybrid artificial pancreas measures the blood sugar continuously and automatically adjusts basal insulin levels. Work continues on developing more advanced features. DePaoli also referenced the center’s work with diabetes and pregnancy, which has led to significant improvements in the health of both mothers and infants.
Lastly, he shared his excitement for the Mil Familias Project, which aims to reduce diabetes among the Latino population. For the next 10 years, 1,000 Latino families in Santa Barbara County will be followed to help determine why the incidence of diabetes is higher among this ethnic group. The project is run by a consortium led by the center that includes UC Santa Barbara, the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Westmont College and Lilly Diabetes. With $1.25 million in seed funding, the project just began last month. In a recent study of 400 Latino residents in the County, 7 percent of participants not knowing they had the disease tested positive and a whopping 42 percent were prediabetic, which means they have a one in three chance of developing diabetes in the next three to five years.
Teen star Jackson Gillies, a Type 1 diabetic himself, wowed the crowd with a couple of his songs, and in between, shared his gratitude to the William Sansum Diabetes Center for all that it does.
The center (formerly known as the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute), is not part of Sansum Clinic, but was founded by Dr. William Sansum in 1944. It is a leading research institution that also provides direct clinical care to patients, including free services to thousands of Santa Barbara County residents. It also offers free education programs to the 50,000 county residents impacted by the disease.
For more info about the center, go to sansum.org.
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By Gail Arnold