For Diabetes Awareness Month in November, Celtics players achieved a #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes campaign record 64 dunks, each generating a $1,000 donation from Sun Life to support the Greater Boston YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program. Donations for dunks were doubled on World Diabetes Day, November 14, when the Celtics played the Toronto Raptors, recognizing Sun Life’s support for both teams from its U.S. and corporate headquarters in Wellesley, Mass., and Toronto. Although the talented players blew past the 40 dunk goal set for the campaign, Sun Life donated for all 64 dunks. Fans also rose to the challenge on social media, far surpassing the 10,000 hashtag goal with each generating $1 for the campaign. Along with a $25,000 match from the Celtics organization, #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes raised a grand total of $102,000.
In the November 23 game versus Atlanta, the Celtics scored a single game high of 9 dunks, and Al Horford and Jayson Tatum lead with 14 dunks each throughout the month of November.
“We have been fortunate enough to partner with these two community pillars on a number of programs, all with a focus on diabetes awareness, support and prevention, and encouraging healthy living,” said Neil Haynes, CFO of Sun Life Financial U.S. and board member of the YMCA of Greater Boston. “Research shows these programs can help people lower their risk for diabetes by 57 percent, and we want to help more people have access. The Celtics and fans really delivered this November, and we’re thrilled with the results for the Greater Boston YMCA.”
The YMCA of Greater Boston Diabetes Prevention Program is a year-long educational course for at-risk adults, based on curriculum developed by the CDC. People learn how to take charge of their health with emphasis on nutrition, fitness, and general healthy lifestyle habits.
“We strive to offer much needed support to our local communities, and with the help of the #SunLifeDunk4Diabetes campaign we’ve been able to keep our Diabetes Prevention Program going strong,” said James Morton, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston. “These partnerships play an integral role in our many community programs, teaching both adults and children about health and wellness.”
Through a tough stretch of opponents and away games in November, loyal Celtics fans kept the campaign momentum going with engagement on social media, and sharing stories of how diabetes has impacted their lives.
“We have such incredible fans who not only cheer on our players, but engage so enthusiastically in our community programs,” said Ted Dalton, senior vice president of Corporate Partnerships for the Boston Celtics. “Sun Life has been a great partner in moving these programs forward and finding ways for the fans to be involved and make a difference.”
#SunLifeDunk4Diabetes has now raised $392,000 since it started in 2014. The campaign is part of Sun Life’s support of the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program nationally, which Sun Life helped launch in Boston, Hartford, Conn. and Kansas City, Mo., in 2014. Since the program’s launch, more than 61,000 people have participated at over 1,100 Ys across the country. Sun Life is also working with YUSA to bring the Diabetes Prevention Program to employers and their workforces.
Sun Life is strongly committed to the fight against diabetes. In addition to community support in partnership with the Celtics, Sun Life conducts a similar program with the Kansas City Royals, and maintains a partnership with the American Diabetes Association to support education and engagement initiatives. Sun Life also offers the Team Up Against Diabetes Grant Program, which funds grassroots organizations focused on diabetes education, management and support. To date, Sun Life has donated more than $17 million globally to the diabetes cause, and $1.8 million to programs focused on diabetes prevention in the U.S.