December 1st, 2007 We are thrilled to honor Seattle-based retailer Nordstrom as JDRF Northwest’s first local hero in the fight against type 1 diabetes. As JDRF Northwest marks the 25th anniversary of the Nordstrom Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes event on May 20, 2007, we owe a great debt of gratitude to the Nordstrom organization, family, and employees.

In the early 1980’s, three local families founded the JDRF Northwest Chapter to provide hope for their children with type 1 diabetes. Ray Johnson, one co-founder and then an executive at Nordstrom, often ran with colleagues from work. Together the Nordstrom employees hatched the idea for a new road race, Nordstrom Beat the Bridge, which would raise funds and awareness for diabetes research. Just over 1,000 runners gathered at Husky Stadium in Seattle in 1983 for the first race against the raising of the University Bridge.

“It was a work of love, and we made a lot of mistakes,” says Johnson of first race, “but it has gathered steam every year.” Johnson recalls that then-president John Nordstrom created the t-shirt designs in those early years. The t-shirts have changed, but Nordstrom’s commitment to diabetes research has continued every year.

Indeed Nordstrom Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes has raised over $9 million since 1983 and has grown to one of the largest 8k races in the country. JDRF Northwest hopes to reach the $10 million mark to fund diabetes research at the 25th anniversary event in 2007. And the Nordstrom organization and employees have donated their time, talents, and financial support every step of the way.

“We are proud of how committed our employees have been over the past 25 years to Nordstrom Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes,” said Brent Harris, Nordstrom executive vice president and regional manager for Washington/Alaska. “Along with the dedication of JDRF Northwest, local businesses, and the community, everyone involved plays a vital role in raising the funds needed to bring us closer to finding a cure for diabetes.”

About Nordstrom: Headquartered in Seattle, Nordstrom, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading fashion specialty retailers, with 155 U.S. stores located in 27 states. Learn more at