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News Release

Red Sox Slugger Wily Mo Peña’s MoPeace Foundation and Joslin Diabetes Center Take a Swing at Tackling Type 2 Diabetes within Latino Population

BOSTON – May 29, 2007 – Boston Red Sox Wily Mo Peña and his MoPeace Foundation are teaming up with Joslin Diabetes Center’s Latino Diabetes Initiative for the Beisbol y Salud Latino Diabetes and Health Festival to educate Latino men, women and children about type 2 diabetes.

<P>This event also marks the fifth year anniversary of Joslin’s Latino Diabetes Initiative.  Peña will host an afternoon of music, food and education to help raise diabetes awareness in the Latino population on Thursday, May 31, 2007 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. at Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. 

The afternoon program, presented by Wily Mo Peña’s MoPeace Foundation with support from Abbott Diabetes Care and Joslin Diabetes Center, will focus on the Latino community, which is at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Diabetes, a disease which occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin or when the body does not properly use insulin, is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease and nervous system damage, which can lead to lower limb amputations. 

As the youngest and fastest growing community in both the U.S. and in Massachusetts, Latinos represent nearly seven percent of the total population of that state and greater than 14 percent of the population of Boston.  National data indicate that Latinos have a two-fold increase in the risk of developing type 2 diabetes over the Caucasian population.  Here in our own state, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that nearly 13 percent of Latinos in the Commonwealth have diabetes, compared with just 5.1 percent of Caucasians.  A clear genetic predisposition for the development of diabetes, combined with cultural and lifestyle factors, accounts for this increase in risk among Latinos.

The goal of the Beisbol y Salud Latino Diabetes and Health Festival is to educate Latino men, women and children about type 2 diabetes and encourage all to improve their health through nutrition and exercise.  During the event, members of Joslin’s Latino Diabetes Initiative (LDI) will talk about type 2 diabetes management and prevention in the Latino community.  Ongoing workshops for adults and children including “Staying Healthy with Sabor Latino” and “Things You Should Know to Prevent Diabetes” will also take place during the day.  Additional Spanish-language diabetes education materials, including Joslin’s recently produced educational CD, the audio-novella Rosa’s Story, will be available for participants.

Enrique Caballero, M.D., director of Joslin’s LDI, notes, “Joslin’s Latino Diabetes Initiative is thrilled to collaborate with Wily Mo Peña and The MoPeace Foundation on such a significant program for a population at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  At Joslin, the LDI provides culturally competent diabetes care, research and education to its patients, and we look forward to bringing these programs to area Latino patients and providers.” In addition, Joslin has a dedicated Pediatric Program for youth with diabetes or those at risk for diabetes.

The right-handed batting and throwing Peña is considered a pure power hitter known for his tape-measure home runs.  As a 22-year-old just entering the Majors, Peña hit an astounding 26 homeruns that season and earning a record for the fifth highest at-bat ratio of all time, which he still holds today.  Applying similar effort and prowess, he is now dedicating his free time to building awareness of his newly formed MoPeace Foundation and, in particular, to getting the word out about how at risk members of the Latino community are for developing type 2 diabetes.  Peña explains, “Peace is a universal greeting; MoPeace is about the power of education and exposure.  Whether learning how to prevent diabetes from Joslin or gaining life experience through participation in sports, I hope to see MoPeace bring people from all walks of life together in a positive and peaceful way.”

In addition to immediately providing greater access to information to the Latino community at large, long term plans for the MoPeace Foundation include providing grants to families with a child in need of necessary, but often unavailable healthcare services, as well as the development of a combination residential/retail building just outside Santiago in the Dominican Republic that would feature an Internet Café to provide children with easy and free access to the educational wonders of the worldwide web.

Peña concludes, "Combating diabetes is a cause close to my heart and to my family's because so many of us have been touched negatively by this horrible disease.  Any strength we can lend to the fight is our privilege, and we are honored to work with Joslin Diabetes Center."

In addition to Abbott Diabetes Care and Joslin Diabetes Center, sponsors for the Beisbol y Salud Latino Diabetes and Health Festival include Telemundo, El Mundo, Amerilatin Law and Neighborhood Diabetes.

About the Pediatric Section
Is your child recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or at risk for diabetes? Joslin’s Pediatric Program provides a family-based approach to your child’s care.   For more information, call the Pediatric, Adolescent and Young Adult Section at 617-732-2603 or visit http://www.joslin.org/.

About The MoPeace Foundation
The MoPeace Foundation, founded by Wily Mo Peña, Josh Zeide and Lorainne Soto, is dedicated to the general advancement of underserved and underrepresented children in the United States and Dominican Republic.  The MoPeace Foundation strives to implement community programs that raise the knowledge levels of children through the use of technology, education and the fostering of familiarity of different youth through sports.  The MoPeace Foundation aspires to assist the children of today in becoming the peacemakers of the world tomorrow.