The stars aligned once again for the 10th Annual ‘Swing to Cure’ Diabetes golf event on May 21 at the University of Michigan Golf Course in Ann Arbor. Perfect weather, a full field of golfers, and appearances by University of Michigan football celebrities (including Coach Jim Harbaugh, just hours prior to boarding a plane to South America for a mission trip) made for an uplifting outing that raised $104,000 for diabetes research.
Varnum attorney Rich Hewlett started the fundraiser with his late wife, Chris, in 2007 and has been at the helm ever since. A former UM quarterback, Hewlett is supported each year by current and former UM coaches and teammates who bring star power to the charity event.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Hewlett said. “The forecast all weekend had been for rain but on Monday morning the clouds disappeared and gave way to perfect golfing weather. I am so grateful for all my UM friends and family members. Thanks to Coach [Lloyd] Carr, Coach [Gary] Moeller, and especially Coach Harbaugh, who shared comments and met with golfers prior to leaving for his mission trip. It’s truly humbling and inspiring to see the community come together for this event.”
The Hewlett family has been involved in raising funds and awareness for juvenile diabetes research since oldest son, Jeff, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age four. Jeff, who graduated from UM two years ago, now serves as host of the event, along with younger brother, Joe, a senior at UM and member of the football team.
Between sponsorships, player fees and monies raised in both silent and live auctions, the event has raised more than $800,000 over the past ten years. All proceeds from the event benefit the University of Michigan Diabetes program and JDRF-Metro Detroit/Michigan Chapter.
In addition to past and current members of the UM football team, the event also featured a live broadcast by WTKA and coverage by Detroit News writer Angelique Chengelis. The dinner program included comments by Dr. Peter Arvan, endocrinologist and researcher at UM, as well as Jeff Hewlett and other young people whose lives are affected by Type I diabetes.
“This event means a lot to me and my family, not only because of the money we’re raising for research, but every year, to see the support from my friends, family and teammates is gratifying,” Hewlett said. “It is a special day to me and my family.”
Varnum and the Hewlett family were the lead sponsors of this year’s event. The outing included 18 holes of golf, a boxed lunch on the course, dinner following golf, live and silent auctions, and photo opportunities with UM football celebrities. For more information about the event, visit www.swingtocurediabetes.com.
Hewlett is a partner on Varnum’s Litigation and Trial Services Practice Team, where he focuses on business litigation and construction law/litigation. He currently serves as president of the Board of Directors of JDRF Metro Detroit/Southeast Michigan Chapter.