Sanofi US’s Own Laura Fields – ‘Dancing for Diabetes’
Like many other people, you can find me doing the occasional tune-in to “Dancing with the Stars” as celebrities put on their dancing shoes and work with professionals to pull off seemingly impossible dances. There’s a reason the show is in its thirteenth season – people love dancing and they love watching stars do something out of their comfort zone.
So, when I heard that one of my colleagues, Laura Fields, was participating in a diabetes fundraiser similar to “Dancing with the Stars,” I knew I had to talk to her about it and feature her on Discuss Diabetes. And, the upcoming Dancing for Diabetes event, in which Laura is participating, is right here in Bridgewater, N.J., home to Sanofi US.
The event will take place on October 27 and is part of an annual fundraising dinner for the New Jersey-based Diabetes Foundation. The competition pits employees from some of New Jersey’s many pharmaceutical companies against each other in a dancing competition, with Laura representing Sanofi US, of course. She told me that when she heard about the opportunity she simply couldn’t pass it up.
“The President of the Diabetes Foundation, Roberta Schmidt, contacted me through LinkedIn, because my LinkedIn profile identifies me as working in the diabetes business unit at Sanofi US. She was looking for a new way to attract local industry partners to this annual fundraising event who have a shared commitment to diabetes and I thought it was a terrific idea,” Laura said.
Laura danced competitively throughout her childhood but only began taking ballroom dance lessons a few years ago when she and her husband were preparing for their wedding dance. Helping out a diabetes charity by dancing was an offer she couldn’t resist.
“I am impressed by the Diabetes Foundation,” Laura said. “The Diabetes Foundation is an intimate group of patient advocates dedicated to improving the lives of people with diabetes and it’s happening right here, in our own backyard. I think the Diabetes Foundation was smart to identify this creative way to engage New Jersey-based healthcare companies in their mission.”
Laura said the Diabetes Foundation has three primary means of assisting patients. Their main objective is to provide medication assistance for diabetes patients that are underinsured or don’t have insurance. They also work with patients to help them navigate the healthcare system and find more permanent solutions. Additionally, the Diabetes Foundation also offers peer-to-peer education opportunities and helps send children with type 1 diabetes to Camp Nejeda.
As excited as Laura is about raising money for a very worthy organization, she is also excited to show off her dance moves with a swing routine. Each contestant has been partnered with an Arthur Murray professional dance instructor, who donated the free instruction for 10 lessons to hone their routine.
“My instructor is very dedicated and very focused on technique,” Laura said. “Now that we have the routine down, we’re focusing a lot more on technique, which is fun for me. Preparing for this fundraiser has renewed my interest in ballroom dance so much that I decided to officially enroll in the Arthur Murray School and enter into additional competitions.”
Laura is quite candid that she is enjoying the practice for the competition because it provides her with a fun way to burn calories in her efforts to achieve a healthy weight. She said her grandmother has type 2 diabetes and her uncle developed insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes in his 40’s. Knowing that diabetes runs in her family, she sees the need for more physical activity in her life.
“I’ve really struggled with weight myself. They say if you can find a type of exercise that you enjoy, you are much more likely to stick to it,” Laura said. “For me, I’m getting a workout in that hour. My instructor says I burn a similar number of calories as to what I would burn on an elliptical… and I’m laughing the whole time! I never thought exercise could be this fun!”
Now that she has had most of her practices with her instructor, Laura said the only thing that she is nervous about is her costume. As for the dancing, she’s more than ready to swing around the dance floor.
“I’m actually really excited about it,” Laura said. “It’s something I like to do and enjoy. Just being active and getting out there has been the best part of this whole experience. In fact, this has motivated me to get to the gym more frequently and seek out similar forms of exercise through dance such as Zumba classes. Now I just want my co-workers and friends to support me so that the Diabetes Foundation can continue to help people with diabetes receive the support and medication assistance they need and deserve.”
Laura most certainly has my support and I can’t wait to see how she does. We will make sure to update you on how she fared and how much money the dancers raised. If you’d like to attend the event or donate to the Diabetes Foundation, click here for details. Good luck, Laura… we’re pulling for you!
All the best,