Okay here it is, BIG NEWS…. And I am so very excited about this. I am hoping to get LOTS of shares on this – and maybe even a few other bloggers out there willing to share the story and interview me so we can make this hit big. This is an incredible opportunity to fund raise for a cure, and I want to make the MOST OF IT! Read on, and share, share share! Love to you all and – I don’t just hope you enter: I hope you win!
It was October of 1997, and for the first time since we’d begun our life as parents (10 years prior), my husband and I were able to take a vacation together. We chose a four-night fall foliage cruise aboard a historic schooner. For those days and nights we sailed blissfully along the coast of Maine, stopping to poke through quaint towns, rafting up with other schooners to mingle with other cruisers, eating lobster dinner out on the deck, helping hoist the main sail, or just lounging in the sun. It was heavenly; a perfect choice for our first taste of parenting freedom.
Lauren, you see, had just started kindergarten. With Leigh in fifth grade, we felt like we were finally at a point where our kids wouldn’t break someone down to the point of needing long-term therapy after having spent a few nights with them. So we left them with friends and set off. I remember distinctly the date because it was right around my birthday – October 21. The weather was that rich Indian summer weather we northerners crave. It wasn’t a 10. It was a 12.
Then we got home. Cell phones weren’t big back then so we really had not touched base with the kids that much (we were out on the sea, for heaven’s sake!) and besides, we knew they were in good hands. Only something was up. As soon as I walked in the door, my friend took my by the shoulders and said:
There’s something really wrong with Lauren.
There’s something really wrong with Lauren. Well, yeah. Some weird stuff had been going on. But I figured it was just adjusting to her first year in school (I never did preschool so Kindergarten was her start). I listened to my friend, and filed it away.
One week later, Lauren was in a hospital bed, Every moment of ease from that cruise; every ray of sun I’d felt had marinated me in wonderful; it all seemed gone. The world was dark. I was crushed. My baby had Type 1 Diabetes. That week, just days after our incredible cruise, I was quite sure I would never feel joy and peace again.
Fast forward almost 15 years. Lauren is now in college, 500 miles away from me. She’s been a skier, a tennis champion, an employee, a driver, a girlfriend, a student council president, a pain our butts, a joy in our lives. In short, she’s been a girl who has lived, so far, a rich life. That’s because after that dark week, We pulled ourselves out of the grief and learned not to just live with Type 1 diabetes, but to battle it, not just for ourselves, but for all.
Our history with advocacy and fundraising has been well documented on this blog, but suffice to say: Lauren became one of the most-respected, most vocal and most powerful advocates in America. She knows not just a few, but dozens of powerful Senators and Congressmen. She’s called on by national media all the time. She rocks it.
But still, it’s been difficult. Her tough times have been documented too. As for Sean and me, it wasn’t until we got her going to diabetes camp and now, have her off at college that we’ve been able to pick up and find time for ourselves again.
That’s why the donation I just received to help me raise funds for this year’s JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in Death Valley has such incredible meaning.
Because the Schooner Mary Day, an amazing vessel celebrating it’s 50th birthday this year, has donated a four-night cruise for two to help me reach my goals. Just like the one my husband and I went on 15 years ago.
And here’s the really cool part: The owners of the Schooner Mary Day don’t even know that story. The heavens worked the way they always do, and put this incredible donation in my hands. When I got the email offering it to me, the whole story flooded back to me. And so did the happiness I felt on that cruise. It was always here, the incredible experience. I’d just tucked it away. This donation brought it back.
And then I realized this: I’m doing the Ride to Cure this year for my first time in honor of Lauren’s 21st birthday and 15-year anniversary of diagnosis (or diaversary as we call it in the diabetes world). I wanted to do something big, something challenging, something to show her and the world that this D-Mom is not slowing down or settling in or stopping her mission to make life better for Lauren and for all.
When I chose Death Valley, I chose it because I liked the sound of it and the challenge of it. Living with Type 1 is damn hard. I want to do something damn hard both in honor of my daughter and to prove to my potential donors I mean business and so appreciate every penny they donate. The date was not set yet, but I committed.
Then I got the date for the Death Valley Ride.
Goosebump alert: It’s on my birthday. So this year, exactly 15 years from that amazing weekend aboard a Maine Windjammer, I’ll be pedaling 105 miles through Death Valley because, something was really wrong with Lauren. It will be beautiful and amazing and inspirational and fantastic, just like a schooner cruise is. And I’ll be doing it having raised a ton, thanks to a The Schooner Mary Day.
How’s that for amazing?
So here is what you can do:
For the next six weeks, until June 7, I will be selling raffle tickets for you to win a four-night cruise for two aboard the Schooner Mary Day. The winner will be announced June 8, and will be able to pick from the schooner schedule for any of the four-night trips (or three night if you’d rather). You must take your trip during the 2012 season. I loved the fall trip, but I’m sure the summer ones are amazing too. See the sailing schedule HERE
All you have to do is go to my RIDE TO CURE PAGE and donate $100 (or more! I’ll enter you one time for every $100 you give). Under the “message” section write the words “Schooner Cruise Entry.” If you’d rather not use on line, leave a message under comments and I can help arrange for you to mail a check.
Spread the word! And for the d parents remember: it’s diabetes camp season! What a perfect getaway for you while your child is safe at camp!
Thank you to the Schooner Mary Day, to Nancy Marshall Communications and to all of you for entering this contest. Remember, I hope you win, but even if you don’t: your tax deductible donation will help us all become the people who will be known for curing diabetes!
Questions? Leave them in the comment space below and I’ll get right back to you!