“Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. ”
— Karl A. Menninger
 
The JDRF Promise Ball is our annual black-tie affair, filled with enviable silent and live auction packages, decadent dishes, luxurious surroundings and beautiful gowns.  The Desert Southwest Chapter kicks off the year of formal philanthropic events.  Many non-profits throughout the Valley hold these events to raise a lot of money towards their programs and missions.  Each cause is important to someone impacted by it, but it is the duty of the foundation to ensure that the reason the event is held is not lost in the opportunity to be seen, but to make a difference.  To understand something bigger than a night, to be a part of something that impacts these and future generations.
 
JDRF galas have a programatic element that brings chills to those who witness it.  It is called Fund A Cure.  Fund A Cure is tailored like a live auction, but instead of bids to win a glamorous package, guests raise their bid cards to give a donation to type 1 diabetes research, with no trip, souvenir or piece of jewerly waiting for them when they leave.  JDRF is one of the most efficient non-profits focused on funding medical science in the world, with over 80% of all expenditures going to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes.  During Fund A Cure, 100% of the proceeds raised during the bidding go directly to research.  For someone to raise their bid card and give hundreds even thousands of dollars in just seconds time, means they want to give towards a dream of those that know type 1 diabetes very well, those that take the step to advocate for research by telling their story.
 
My guest post is from Scott Whyte, a member of the Desert Southwest Chapter Board of Directors and a close friend of mine.  He is a loving husband, father of four and passionate advocate of type 1 diabetes research.  He took the stage with his wife and four children and spoke from the heart.  I am honored to publish his speech.
 
Fund A Cure
by Scott Whyte

“As a dad, I’ll share insights into our life of living with the disease.  It’s a life of pain and worry, but also of thankfulness and hope.  We have 15-20 blood tests per day, we count a lot of carbs, we weigh a lot of food, we have test kits and used test strips everywhere, and every 3 days, each child needs to change their pump infusion set.  Much of this is managed on a big white board in our kitchen.  Elise is continually doing “inventory management” to make sure we have enough supplies at home and at three different schools.  More often than not, one kid is dealing with severe highs while another is battling continual lows.  And I can’t tell you how many times we have had to drive to bring, or retrieve, a forgotten test kit. 

And yet, we feel very blessed –much of what JDRF has funded in the past has made our life simpler and healthier than it was just 30 years ago.  We have supportive friends and family, we have amazing caregivers (one of whom, Dr. Chirag Kapadia, our endocrinologist, is here tonight), and we have faith that our children and their safety are in God’s hands.

For Harrison, we are so thankful he has not been diagnosed. He’s a great student who is considering a profession in medical research – my hope is there won’t be much type 1 diabetes research for him 12 years from now.  His risk of diagnosis is much higher than normal, and for Harrison, and for your children and grandchildren who are not diagnosed, we have hope that you, who are giving tonight, will fund promising prevention therapies and vaccines. 

Cameron has had troubles just within the last couple of weeks with lows.  His bedtime blood sugars were between 30 and 70.  We reminded him how dangerous the lows are (he knows that 20% of type 1 diabetics die from hypoglycemia). He was upset, and said he didn’t want to run high and suffer the consequences of foot amputations, blindness and kidney disease.  That’s a tough conversation to have with a 12-year-old after dinner.  It takes a lot of faith to let him go on overnights and trips without us.  Cameron needs treatment and a cure.

With Davis, I remember clearly, in the hospital, just a day or two out of the ICU when he was receiving new blood tests and new injections, he asked, “Will I get better?”  I fought back the tears.  I had to say, “No, right now there’s no cure, so you won’t get better.’  Davis needs treatment and a cure.   

Charlotte was just diagnosed this past October.  She’s watched her brothers, and she immediately got into the routine. It broke our hearts when she walked in the kitchen and marked off her own space on the white board.  We just got her a pink insulin pump, which she likes.  We were getting up at midnight and 3am to check her blood sugar in order to calibrate the pump.  We are thrilled that now we’re just getting up at midnight.  Charlotte really doesn’t yet understand the long-term impacts of this disease – all she knows is that it really hurts to change her pump set. Charlotte needs treatment and a cure. 

Elise and I want our kids to grow up to be compassionate and to give sacrificially.  Watching adults who think of others before themselves is one of the best ways for them to learn how they should behave as adults.  I am confident this moment is an opportunity for them to see your compassion as you give generously to fund type 1 diabetes research.”

Watching a Fund A Cure speech is watching a family unveil their fears, their hopes, their love for their children and each other.  Bidding began at with a $60,000 commitment.  Other levels were called out – $25,000, $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, $500 – with guests raising their bid cards at each level and the auctioneer calling out bid numbers.  As the bid cards became fewer, Harrison Whyte took the mic and thanked the guests for contributing to research to improve the lives of his younger brothers and sisters.  The auctioneer then called for one last level, $100.  Those who could give $100 to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes were asked to raise their bid cards as the Whyte children, who would be directly impacted by the research the dollars would fund, called out the numbers. 

Fund A Cure raised over $100,000 for type 1 diabetes research in a matter of minutes.

Everyone has a story, and the power to tell it, to take action for those we love and who love us.  Better treatments, cures and prevention will come from the efforts of those that don’t sit and wait for it, but tell their story and ask others to take this mission as their own.

Thank you again to Scott, Elise, Harrison, Cameron, Davis and Charlotte and those that donated towards a world free of type 1 diabetes.  We will keep our promise until fulfilled.

 

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