Join the Birkie Skiers for Cures program as we partner to raise awareness and funds for organizations that support health issues affecting many in the skiing community. For the past four years, 2009 through 2012, Birkie Skiers for Cures partnered with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and raised more than $300,000. Our next three-year commitment is to JDRF. the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes research. See our press release, below.
We look forward to working with our skiers, friends, families, and spectators to make Birkie Skiers for Cures a major contributor to JDRF's efforts to prevent, treat, and find a cure for type 1 diabetes.
PRESS RELEASE - April 24, 2012:
American Birkebeiner Announces
Partnership with JDRF
(Hayward, WI) The American Birkebeiner, through its “Birkie Skiers for Cures” program, is proud to announce a new charitable partnership with the JDRF, the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by type 1 diabetes by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing type 1 diabetes.
“We are really excited about our new partnership with JDRF to raise funds to find a cure for and help manage Type 1 diabetes that strikes so many young people. I know several active young people, ages six to 30 who face the daily challenge of managing diabetes though diet, exercise, and insulin injection,” says Ned Zuelsdorff, Executive Director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation.
“I am personally touched by the disease,” adds Zuelsdorff, “after being diagnosed in 1973 at the age of 22. I was a runner at that time and the disease led me to try cross-country skiing that winter to help control the disease. Thanks to encouragement from members of the Wausau (WI) Nordic Ski Club, I bought a pair of Toppen Turlett wooden skis and began the journey that led me to the Birkie event, and ultimately my present job. I am really looking forward to our three-year partnership with JDRF and hope that many cross country skiers get involved with the Birkie to help us stop diabetes.”
National Multiple Sclerosis Society - Wisconsin Chapter
Birkie Skiers for Cures Raises More than a Quarter-Million Dollars
Skiers who participated in the American Birkebeiner’s Skiers for Cures program through this year’s event made sure the Birkie’s four-year partnership with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society wrapped up in spectacular style. Nearly $70,000 was raised from the 2012 event alone, bringing the total funds generated since 2009 to more than $300,000.
A majority of the money raised in 2012 came from the auction of 20 entries to the 2012 American Birkebeiner and Kortelopet as well as the sale of “Skiers for Cures” collectible pins that qualified the skiers who wore them for special prizes. Opportunities to ski privately with six-time Olympic medalist Vegard Ulvang, attend his presentation about his 2011 expedition to the South Pole, and enter to win a trip to the 2013 Birkebeinerrennet in Norway, generated additional funds.
The money raised will support research toward treatments and a cure for multiple sclerosis, a disease that affects 2.1 million people worldwide and has an especially high incidence rate in the Upper Midwest as well as in Northern European countries. So far that research has led to breakthroughs in identifying genes that contribute to MS susceptibility and in developing new areas of investigation, such as the potential for nerve repair and strategies for testing whether vitamin D supplements can prevent disease development.
MS is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body and stops people from moving. Symptoms vary, ranging from numbness and tingling to loss of cognition, blindness, and paralysis. Most people with MS are diagnosed in the prime of life between the ages of 20 and 50.
“The support of MS research by the American Birkebeiner’s Skiers for Cures program has been invaluable. The success of the last four years is due to the generosity and exceptional efforts of the American Birkebeiner organization and its executive director, Ned Zuelsdorff, along with the dedication of Nordic ski enthusiast and MS researcher Dr. Ian Duncan who helped create the partnership between MS and the American Birkebeiner,” said Colleen G. Kalt, president and CEO of the National MS Society’s Wisconsin Chapter.
“Under their initiative and with the support and generosity of the amazing Birkie skiers who participated in the Skiers for Cures program over the past four years, people worldwide who have been diagnosed with MS will benefit tremendously.”
Susan G. Koman - Wisconsin Affiliates
The American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation, host of the largest cross country ski race in North America and skiers participating in the Ski for the Cure® during 2006, 2007 and 2008 raised more that $84,000 for Minnesota and Wisconsin Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Minnesota and Wisconsin Chapters of the Arthritis Foundation, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LIVESTRONG®).