FuelCo Raises $20,000 for Diabetes Research Institute

Plans to expand fundraising promotion to addition retail outlets

THORNWOOD, N.Y. -- In six weeks, FuelCo, which operates various retail and convenience stores throughout Connecticut and New York, sold $20,000 worth of scannable cards recently to benefit the cure-focused work of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).

Available in increments of $1, the cards were sold at the register and then hung on a special wall or window at the store with the name of the buyer.

After the success of the fundraising campaign, which ran in 15 locations of the company's more than 150 Shell, Mobil and BP stations in the Northeast, Sammy M. Eljamal, president of Thornwood, N.Y.-based Wholesale Fuels, a FuelCo subsidiary, leveraged a few sites to see what having strategic locations could do for the DRI.

Eljamal plans to expand the fundraising promotion to more retailers and the company's outlets across the United States.

"People asked questions; they were impressed with our efforts and wanted to participate individually," said Eljamal. "One customer handed a cashier $100, but asked for only one card. This is only the beginning. We hope to raise millions for the [DRI] so that the scientists there can find a cure for diabetes."

Eljamal learned about the DRI's important research after participating in the annual Shell Key West Fishing Tournament, which also benefits the organization.

"I was personally affected by hearing from a young boy, Matthew Sanchez, whose daily life includes needles, finger pricks, constant vigilance and fear," he said. Matthew, 12, is the son of Crystal Blaylock Sanchez, president of Blaylock Oil and lead organizer of the fishing tournament, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2013.

"We must cure this disease and fast," said Eljamal.

Eljamal pledged $20,000 instantly and vowed to pay it personally if the scannables didn't sell; however, with the dedication and support of general manager Hani Sadallah, the promotion was a success.

"Sometimes all it takes is one person. Sammy Eljamal was inspired after coming down for the tournament last year, and he is determined to take this fundraising campaign to a whole new level in the year ahead," said Blaylock Sanchez, who also serves on the board of directors for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

"I am so grateful for companies like Shell and FuelCo for supporting the DRI and the search for a cure. Sammy is part of a big family, and we hope to have more of the Eljamals participating in the future. I've known his uncle Mickey for over 10 years," she said.

All funds raised through the FuelCo campaign support the DRI, which leads the world in cure-focused research.