Catholic School Boycotts Parade Over Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Funds

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 9, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic School Boycotts Parade Over Juvenile Diabetes Foundation Funds Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 9
, 2008

Chicago, IL ( — A Catholic high school in Illinois boycotted Sunday’s South Side Irish Parade because some of the money raised form the event will fund a group that supports embryonic stem cell research. The parade has been an annual event since 1979, but part of the funds go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which backs the controversial research.

Archdiocese of Chicago didn’t name the school with the concerns, but an official spoke with local media about the problems.

Mary Louise Kurey, director of the archdiocese’s Respect Life office, told the Chicago Tribune, "We live in a sinful world where there are many problems. We want to promote life saving cures of these diseases."

"That’s an extension of the respect life message. But we do want to make sure the organizations that are working toward this mission respect all human life," she added.

JDRF has come under fire for supporting embryonic stem cell research, which requires the destruction of human life for scientists to obtain stem cells.

William Ahearn, JDRF’s vice president of strategic communications, admitted to the Tribune that JDRF directed $5 million to the controversial science last year.

Kurey said urged the school to ask parade officials to choose an alternative — nothing that adult stem cell research has outpaced embryonic in terms of its effectiveness in helping patients.

"That type of research, praise God has been made obsolete because wonderful ethical alternatives have been found," Kurey said.

However, JDRF’s Ahearn told the newspaper that just $2 million went to adult stem cell research last year — with embryonic studies getting 250 percent more funding from the group.

Parade coordinator Mary Beth Sheehan told the newspaper she wasn’t aware of the concerns about JDRF and that the parade simply tries to find good charities to fund that help children.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation also came under criticism last April for heavily funding lobbying efforts to get the Senate to approve a bill to force taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research but failing to fund studies using adult stem cells to help patients with diabetes to be insulin free.

Publishing their findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association last Spring, scientists in Brazil showed great success with adult stem cells.

The scientists found that adult stem cell treatments helped 14 of 15 patients became insulin free.

Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, worked with the scientists.

"It’s the first time in the history of Type 1 diabetes where people have gone with no treatment whatsoever … no medications at all, with normal blood sugars," he says of the groundbreaking study.

That would seem like a real miracle for the millions of Americans who suffer from diabetes.

However, the JAMA article lists the sources of funding for the study and the researchers involved had to get funds from a private corporation and the Brazilian Ministry of Health.

That’s because the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation did not put any money behind it. Instead, they have spent countless funds lobbying Congress to fund embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to help any patients.