Swift Charities, the charitable arm of Swift Transportation, today donated $15,262 to The Waylon Jennings Fund for Diabetes Research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
Throughout November - Diabetes Awareness Month - The Waylon Fund was Swift's "charity of choice." Half of November's proceeds from thousands of driver donations, as well as matching contributions from Phoenix-based Swift, were collected to benefit TGen's diabetes research in the name of country music legend Waylon Jennings.
In a letter to Swift drivers, Jennings' widow, Jessi Colter, urged them to remember her late husband, who died in 2002 of complications from diabetes, a disease that affects nearly 26 million Americans.
"Waylon Jennings was truly one-of-a-kind. Often thought of as an 'outlaw' and a mentor to a new generation of country and rock acts inspired by his spirit and individualism, he was above all someone who stood strong in the face of adversity," Colter said in her letter. "I am so pleased to announce TGen's new partnership with Jerry Moyes, the founder, chairman and CEO of Phoenix-based Swift Transportation. With the help of Swift Charities and Swift drivers from across the country, The Waylon Fund will spur innovative research at TGen to find better treatments for diabetes."
Jim Stone, Executive Director of Swift Charities, said his company's drivers were eager to answer Colter's call to action.
"Diabetes is one of many health issues that needs greater attention, and we at Swift are proud to partner with another Phoenix-based institution, TGen, to advance biomedical research in this critical area," Stone said. "To be able to do that in conjunction with Jessi Colter, and do it in the memory of Waylon Jennings, that is a real honor."
"TGen's research into diabetes will allow physicians to more accurately predict who has the greatest risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and related complications, while also identifying targets for treatment of the disease," said Dr. Johanna DiStefano, Director of TGen's Diabetes, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases Division.
Dr. DiStefano leads a team of scientists working in five areas of research: diabetes and heart disease, diabetic nephropathy, diabetes and obesity, diabetes and liver disease, and diabetes and individualized treatment strategies.
"TGen is extremely grateful to the Swift Transportation family for supporting The Waylon Fund for Diabetes Research," said Michael Bassoff, President of the TGen Foundation. "This gift from Swift Charities is reflective of the dedication and generosity of Swift employees nationwide who individually contributed to help accelerate TGen's diabetes research."