Last Saturday I walked the 2.2 miles of the State Fair Parade route with the JDRF float. The experience proved not only to be an opportunity to sunburn, but also a reminder of how important this organization is.
The tag line, or mission of JDRF is ingrained in my subconscious and it will flow from my mouth when prompted. “What is JDR..em..what do you do?”
“Well, the mission of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is to find a cure for diabetes through the funding (or support) of diabetes research and research-related education.” Then I can get into, “Over 80% of all JDRF expenditures go directly to research…” or another line repeated over and over and over on the phone and in person. But nothing strikes like the phrase, “Find a cure for diabetes!” yelled from the father of kids living with the disease.
We were sweaty, developing sunburns, and yet, excited. Not about the sunburns, mind you, but about the chance to just say, “FIND A CURE!” For the love of Christ, do something! These families should not have to live with this, not when a cure is out there, and we are closer than ever. That was portrayed in their voices.
Last Tuesday brought the Team Captain Kickoff Luncheon for the Walk to Cure Diabetes. We scrambled to prepare the room, and I passed on the stress of the event to my volunteers, as usual. We need to do this, we need to do that. Working an event means you don’t attend the event. Always thinking about the next step, means constantly moving boxes, answering questions, checking on registration, and taking care of any other logistical task that pops up. In the one moment in which the entire room was settled, our Family Walk Team speaker took the stage. She didn’t talk about raising money – how easy and fun it is and how to get started. She talked about when her children were diagnosed. She talked about the stress, the emotion, the uncertainty and fear of those moments. Her voice cracked in recollection, then she talked about the stress, the emotion, the uncertainty and the fear that every day brings. The anxiousness that accompanies every phone call, the fatigue that every early morning blood sugar check brings and the hope of a cure. Knowing her and her family, my heart fell into my stomach. I looked around the room, and attendees were moved to tears.
So that is what we did in the last few days. Well, we did many things, all those tasks that add up to large events, but the main thing we did, staff and volunteers, was walk and talk. From our end, that is all we can do. This time of the year we mostly talk about walking!
Please, find a cure.