Well, I’m late to the game but I’m here, ready to take part in the third annual Diabetes Blog Week, created and coordinated by Karen at bittersweetdiabetes.com. Each day Karen gives us a prompt to write on. Kind of a bummer my first is today since it’s “What I can do better.” That said, I’ll try to put a positive spin on it, since that’s the point! (BTW I’ll make up for Day one and two later today).
It might surprise some to hear what I think I can do better, because I kind of have a reputation for doing this anyway, but bear with me.
What I can do better is this: find a way to do more to help move us toward a cure and in the meantime a better way for people with Type 1 Diabetes to live.
What’s that you said? I was JDRF’s International Volunteer of the Year? My family has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars toward a cure and better treatments? I’ve chaired galas that have brought in over $5 million for that same effort?
And that should be enough?
No. Not even close. Because honestly, I feel it is my obligation as a person who cares about this mission to never completely burn out, to never step away from aiding in forward progress, and to never letting my personal feelings get in the way of working toward a cure.
That’s not always easy. It’s hard to keep up a pace for 15 years (or longer. Or shorter for heaven’s sake). It’s hard to allow diabetes to take even bigger chunks of your life than just loving someone with it does. But I suggest this is the case for me and for all of us:
I have no choice.
Just like my daughter has not choice but to wake up every day and make figuring out her medical plan for the day her first course of action. Just like my friends who are adults with Type 1 have no choice but to make sure their scripts are full, fight insurance companies for just that, carry a bevy of supplies around, do their important jobs with a seemingly seamless effort even with diabetes along, and just plain live their lives swaddled by a thick – albeit invisible to the world – blanket of constant diabetes demands.
They don’t get time off. They don’t get to say oh screw it and just turn away. They don’t get to “move on to something new.”
And neither can I. I confess my efforts had been scaled back a bit over the past two years. Yes, I still do a lot of talks across the country for JDRF and others (it’s important to note here I am never paid for such things; nor have I ever submitted an expense form for them). I still go to my local gala and walk and more. But I’d cut back a bit.
I think part of it was Lauren heading off to college (she’s officially a junior now! How did that happen?). With her gone, diabetes wasn’t right here in front of me every moment. Another part was hitting a strange time in my volunteer life at JDRF. I’m very much “in between” roles at the moment, something I’m hoping the national committee group will help me with this coming fiscal year (Hint. Hint). (No, really: hint, hint. I need to get back into dedicating more time to helping. Really.)
But you know: none of that really matters. No matter what my situation, Diabetes is still uncured and still difficult to manage. Until that changes, I need to do better at staying focused, eye on the prize and all.
So this year I’ve been working at it. I’m newly re-motivated to help my chapter. I’m traveling to the amazing Friends for Life to be on their faculty (and to attend a fundraiser for Diabetes Scholars, a program I respect the heck out of). I reconnected with some of my most favorite Clara Barton Camp friends (where I was once proudly on the board of directors). And of course, for the first time ever, I’m doing the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes. (feel free to click that link and help me get over $10,000 raised by this week!)
It takes a lot to do the ride. I have to train a lot (can you say 100 miles a week on a bike?). I have to rethink how and who and when I ask about giving. But that’s been an amazing blessing.
While I’m on the bike, I’m alone in my thoughts, and I think a lot about this diabetes life. I smile. I cry (darn it. If you know me you know how I hate crying). I think about the folks I love whom I’m doing this for (and there are many). I sprint thinking about how folks I know (and barely know) are giving on behalf of me. I get motivated.
And every day, when folks who gave to our walk team years ago or have never given before or who already give so much all send along more to me and my ride, I realize this:
I am not alone in this. Others are amazing me by how they, too, are doing more.
We all need to. We all have to. The future of our loved ones demands no less.
So that’s what I need to do better. Thanks for doing it along with me.