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Liberty kicks off Kiss-A-Pig campaign
Candidate transforms into Albus Porkledore
Ivey Sarvis Jr. prepares to check Albus Porkledore’s (aka Jon Long) blood glucose level as Team Liberty co-campaign managers Rene Harwell and Donna Cochrane watch. Team Liberty launched its Kiss-A-Pig campaign Thursday afternoon at Liberty Regional Medical Center. This year’s theme is “Harry Porker and the Blood Sugar Prince.” - photo by Phgoto by Patty Leon

Planned activities:

March 23

ADA alert day at LRMC will include free screenings from 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

March 26
Golf Tournament at Sapelo Hammock

April 10
Annual Dorchester sporting clay event
Team Liberty’s signature event which has raised in excess of $300,000 for the ADA. For more information, call Deborah Wells at 369-9491. For accurate results, refrain from eating two hours before being tested. Only consume water or diet drinks.

April 24
Sunbury  Crab-cake cook-off

May 14
Pink Hair Day at LRMC

May 15
Motorcycle “Porker” Run

Sporting a wizard’s robe, long white hair, a flowing beard and plastic snout, Liberty County Hospital Authority Chairman Jon Long expressed his desire Thursday to kiss a pig. Long is this year’s Team Liberty candidate for the American Diabetes
Association’s Kiss-A-Pig annual campaign and these days, he’s going by Albus Porkledore.
Long addressed a crowd during the campaign’s launch at the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce’s After Hours event at Liberty Regional Medical Center.

This year’s Kiss-A-Pig theme is “Harry Porker and the Blood Sugar Prince.” The moniker Albus Porkledore is a twist on Albus Dumbledore, one of the main characters from the Harry Potter series.
Liberty County has participated for 14 years in the Kiss-a-Pig campaign, which benefits the ADA. The fundraiser is entering its 18th year of raising awareness of types 1 and 2 diabetes, known as America’s “silent killer.”
Long said he was approached by 2006 candidate and Chamber Executive Director Kenny Smiley.
“And when he asked me about doing it, I agreed,” Long said. “The chamber has been a great supporter of the hospital and the business community and I was glad to do it.”
According to Maria Center, the ADA Savannah chapter director, Liberty County is recognized throughout the region as hosting the most creative and successful fundraising events.
In 2009, Kiss-A-Pig candidate Jason Rogers and Team Liberty raised nearly $80,000. In 2008, candidate Danny Creasy raised the bar, breaking all previous records and raising $160,000.
“We are, of course, very proud about what Danny (Creasy) accomplished when he was the candidate,” Long said. “He certainly represented Liberty County very well and we hope to raise a lot of money, whether we come in first or not. The money we raise is going to a good cause, but of course we want to finish first.”
The team that finishes in first place gets to kiss Hamlet the pig. Pigs are part of the campaign because they were the original source of insulin in diabetes research.
Long said he is going to dedicate the team’s effort to his uncle who died in September. Long said he had diabetes.
Rene Harwell, director of marketing at LRMC and Long’s co-campaign manager, said the team actually has a couple goals this year.
“In addition to raising money, we want to raise awareness of diabetes and its associated complications,” she said.
The team plans to meet with Liberty County School System officials in hopes of getting students involved. Harwell said Liberty Elementary Principal Chris Anderson, who raised several thousand dollars last year, is already creating a stir.
Donna Cochrane, chief nursing officer and co-campaign manager, said the hospital treats a lot of diabetes patients. She said they are going to get the employees involved and LRMC CEO Scott Kroell agreed to dye his hair pink if the hospital can raise $10,000 by May 14.
“We are having hospital employee appreciation week that same week and it ends that Friday,” Cochrane said. “It’s becoming an internal challenge as well to see who can raise the most money. It’s something that allows all the employees to get involved.”
Except for 2008, Team Liberty’s toughest opponent has been Team Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools. The teams have raised so much money they normally compete in a category by themselves. However, there will be about nine other teams representing Beaufort, S.C., Savannah and Tattnall County.
The official ADA Kiss-A-Pig launch is at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at Rousakis Plaza on River Street.

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