updated: 1/22/2009 5:32:56 PM

NFL Quarterback to Join Lilly Campaign

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

Denver Broncos quarterback and Santa Claus, Indiana native Jay Cutler will become an ambassador for Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co.'s (NYSE:LLY) Inspired by Diabetes campaign. Cutler was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last spring. He will kick off his campaign activities during Super Bowl week in Tampa by visiting Tampa Bay-area All Children's Hospital to meet with families of children with type 1 diabetes.

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Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 22 -- Denver Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler is reaching out to help send children with diabetes to summer camps.

Cutler -- who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last spring and established himself as one of the National Football League's (NFL) top young quarterbacks with a Pro Bowl season in 2008 -- will become an ambassador for Eli Lilly and Company's Inspired by Diabetes campaign, Lilly announced today. Lilly is a worldwide leader in diabetes research and treatment that introduced the world's first commercial insulin as a treatment for diabetes in 1923.

Cutler will kick off his involvement in the campaign with activities during Super Bowl week in Tampa, visiting Tampa Bay-area All Children's Hospital to meet with families of children with type 1 diabetes. His message: encouraging people affected by diabetes to enter the Inspired by Diabetes global contest and help someone else in the process.

Inspired by Diabetes (inspiredbydiabetes.com) is a unique philanthropic initiative that uses art to provide diabetes summer camp scholarships for kids in the United States. Globally, the program contributes to a program that provides care for children with diabetes in developing countries.

The campaign encourages all people touched by diabetes, particularly children and their families, to share their stories through visual and written creative expressions such as art, essays, poems or photography.

By entering the competition, participants can have a direct impact on the lives of children with diabetes around the world.

For each entry into the contest from the United States, Lilly will donate money to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), in Cutler's honor, for scholarships for children from lower-income families to attend ADA diabetes camps. The ADA is the largest provider of camps for children with diabetes in the world and is the U.S. national advocate for Inspired by Diabetes.

"Cutler's story is an inspiration to us all - his resilience has been remarkable since he was diagnosed with diabetes last year," said George Huntley, Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association. "He has proven himself as a dedicated athlete, proactively managing his disease while building a successful career in the NFL. He is a role model to anyone who wants to follow their dreams. His work with Inspired by Diabetes can only encourage those affected by diabetes to share their creative expressions to show their support in the fight against diabetes."

The 2009 Inspired by Diabetes contest is underway and accepting entries until March 31. Anyone affected by either type 1 (formerly called juvenile diabetes) or type 2 (formerly called adult-onset diabetes) are encouraged to enter - people with the condition, their family members, friends or health care providers. The U.S. grand prize winners will win a trip to an Inspired by Diabetes celebration event at the ADA's annual meeting in June in New Orleans. Entry forms and complete contest rules and regulations can be downloaded from inspiredbydiabetes.com.

Inspired by Diabetes is also a global campaign, with more than 25 countries participating. For each entry from around the world, Lilly provides funds to support the care of children with diabetes in the developing world through the International Diabetes Federation's (IDF) Life for a Child Program, which provides access to diabetes care in some of the world's poorest countries.

After losing about 30 pounds during the course of the 2007 season, Cutler was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the spring of 2008 and since has made it his mission to demonstrate to children that they can still succeed with diabetes. Through the Jay Cutler Foundation, established after the 2007 season, Cutler works to help charities and organizations that have a profound effect on helping people in need.

"Diabetes is the toughest opponent I've ever faced, but I wasn't going to let it slow down my career. And kids don't have to let it stop them from reaching for the dreams," Cutler said. "I'm honored to join the Inspired by Diabetes campaign to help people tell their stories of dealing with diabetes -- and help kids who need it. This is a great way to reach people affected by this condition, and I'm looking forward to connecting with more families dealing with the ups and downs of this lifelong challenge."

In 2008, his second full season as the Broncos' starting quarterback, Cutler had a breakout year and was named to his first Pro Bowl. His 4,526 passing yards led the American Football Conference (AFC) and were third in the NFL, and his 25 touchdown passes were third-best in the AFC. A first-round draft pick from Vanderbilt University, Cutler became the Broncos' starter late in the 2006 season and was the first NFL rookie to throw at least two touchdowns in each of his first three starts. In total, he threw at least one touchdown in each of his first eight NFL starts.

Cutler is a native of Santa Claus, Ind., about a three-hour drive south of Lilly's Indianapolis headquarters, and won an Indiana high school state championship just a few blocks from the Lilly labs where insulin was first produced for mass patient use more than 85 years ago.

"It's always inspiring to hear stories of people living successfully with diabetes - but Jay is re-writing the diabetes record books by performing at such a high level at one of the most challenging jobs in sports," said Matt Beebe, insulin brand team leader, Lilly USA. "We know Jay has already been an inspiration to countless people affected by diabetes, and we're humbled that he has chosen Lilly and the Inspired by Diabetes campaign to continue spreading his unique message of hope. By driving awareness of the Inspired by Diabetes initiative, we look forward to working together to improve the future for children with diabetes in need."

Source: Eli Lilly & Co.

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