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Vince Wilfork Brings Star Power to PiNZ

Vince Wilfork helped raise an estimated $175,000 for diabetes prevention and treatment Thursday, by hosting an annual NFL draft party at PiNZ.

An evening of Patriots sightings, signings and auctioned items drew a full house to Thursday, where fans helped Vince Wilfork raise at least $175,000 for diabetes research and prevention.

Accompanied by his wife, Bianca, Wilfork addressed the standing-room crowd, saying he was overwhelmed by the show of support. "Every one of you makes this thing special for me," he said.

The cause of diabetes research and treatment is close to him. Ten years ago, his wife said, his father died of complications from the disease. The money raised from the will go to Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.

The event sold out several days ago.

"This is amazing," Bianca Wilfork said, looking out over the audience. "This is our biggest crowd."

The crowd included young children, as well as longtime fans. Many traveled from Boston and other locations to see Wilfork up close. The line for his autograph drew several hundred people.

Beth Rayner-Zyskowski April 27, 2012 at 12:04 PM
That was my first & last time attending this event. I applaud Vince for his fundraising efforts but from a fan's viewpoint, it was a major disappointment.
David Breen April 27, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Hi Beth - Your point is valid. Vince's event over the years has grown from a 200 person fundraiser raising $35k to 800 people with corporate dollars being injected into his foundation for Diabetes research. Totals are not in, but we surpassed the $200k mark last night. With that being said, for the fan not involved in the corporate sponsorship side that comes in to meet Vince and the other players, (last night we had Faulk, Mayo, Stallworth, McCourty, Brown, Brace, Love, Slayer and Warren) it is becoming harder and harder to have those intimate up-close moments that as a fan we expect. I too noticed it last night. I have a meeting with Vince and Bianca next week to discuss the good, bad and ugly from the draft. We talk about the night and what we can fix. (For example the PA sound for the auction was awful - that was completely my fault). We do this post-meeting every year hoping not to make the same mistakes moving forward. I am not sure what the answer will be. It may be less ticket sales, leaving more opportunities for "corporate" sponsors - a CATCH-22 for the fan like yourself. I can tell you that Vince and Bianca were very grateful for the attendance and money generated, allowing them to continue shedding a light on Diabetes that took his dad at 62. Best, David Breen CEO, PINZ
Beth Rayner-Zyskowski April 30, 2012 at 12:03 PM
David, I appreciate the response. I did write to Vince and express my thoughts. One thing comes to mind for the future. Perhaps if the players didn't hide out in the VIP room for hours before any one of them makes an appearance, there would be more of a chance for fan interaction. I stood outside that room for 90 minutes before 1 player emerged - Ryan Mallett, who maybe signed & did pics for 10 minutes before he left, ditto Donte Stallworth. I didn't get a single picture or autograph and never got within 10 feet of Vince. I did exchange hellos with Kyle Love when he walked by me obviously on his way to do something, but I've met him before so I didn't try to interrupt him. And sorry, but as a diehard Pats fan, I need to correct you, it's not Slayer, it's Matthew Slater. I hope you can figure out a solution, and as I told Vince in my letter, I'll send whatever donation I can next year but I will not be attending this event again.

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