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NFL's Jay Cutler, Eli Lilly Team To Tackle Diabetes

October 9, 2009: In 2007, when Jay Cutler was quarterback for the NFL's Denver Broncos, he constantly felt fatigued, lost 35 pounds and at one point thought he might be dying. Cutler was later diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a disease he now fights with as much vigor off the field as he plays with on the field.

Cutler, now in his fourth NFL season but first with the Chicago Bears after a trade during the off-season, has teamed with Eli Lilly and Company, a worldwide leader in diabetes research, to release Jay Cutler on Diabetes,  a webisode series that follows Cutler as he deals with disease while raising awareness and funds in the search for a cure. The webisodes are an extension of Cutler's alliance with Eli Lilly that began while he was with Denver.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to properly control blood sugar levels.

The first three episodes were unveiled Oct. 8 in conjunction with the Chicago Bears. The videos are part of Cutler's work with Lilly on the Touchdowns for Diabetes camp scholarship program.

Future episodes will be launched in November during American Diabetes Month and will focus on Cutler's efforts to connect with kids and families affected by diabetes.

In the first episodes, Cutler describes being sick but not knowing what was wrong, as he played through his first season as Denver's starting quarterback. "I kept it a secret for a while, obviously a lot longer than I should have," Cutler says in one of the webisodes. "I thought it was something I was just going to bounce back from. A part of me just didn't want to know . . . I didn't know if I was going to continue to be able to play football."

As part of his campaign, for every touchdown pass Cutler throws during the 2009 season, Lilly will send a child to diabetes camp by donating $1,000 to the American Diabetes Association's "Camp Scholarship" fund through the Touchdowns for Diabetes program. And for every pass Cutler completes in 2009, Lilly will donate $100 to the ADA Camp Scholarship fund to allow even more kids the chance to attend camp next summer.

Through the Bears' first four games, Cutler has thrown eight touchdown passes, run for another TD and completed 83 passes, which Lilly said already would send 17 kids to camp next summer.

"It's there every day, no matter where you go," Cutler said. "You wake up with it, you go to sleep with it. Over time, you get used to it, and it becomes part of you. I'm not to that point yet. I'd like to use my story to be able to inspire kids that get diabetes. They think it's the end of the world, they think can't have dreams, do what they want to do. But that's entirely false."

For more information go to http://www.jaycutlersix.com or the American Diabetes Association.

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