I took my first outdoor training ride of the season today. It was warm out – above 50!! – but a brisk wind was like a wall in my face. 18 sorry miles, and I have a long way to go to be ready for not one but TWO 100 mile rides this year as I ride once again to help cure Diabetes.
As is my practice, I was pondering as I rode along. I like to let my mind wander a bit and then settle on something. Today, as I thought about how excited I am to announce this year’s vacation raffle to support my ride effort, I settled on a story, one I’d not thought of in quite a while.
And as things seem to work out in my life, it was wrapped around diabetes even back then, though I’d not realized it at that time. And is things seem to work out in life, it circles back to this ride, this contest and this effort.
It was the first year Sean and I were married and, to be blunt, we were dirt poor. We’d paid for our own wedding. We were just digging into paying off my college loans. We were paying for Sean’s college as he went along (allowing him to take as many courses as we could afford each semester. He graduated when our first daughter was a baby. So it took some time …). But we were happy. We had a little apartment in Scituate Harbor. Our landlord had played Major Don West on “Lost in Space,” so even if we could not afford exotic nights out, we could entertain ourselves by shouting “Danger, Will Robinson!” every time our landlord came around.
My Uncle Bill, who would have been just over 50 years old at that time, was a mentor to both me and to Sean. His humor, his zeal for life, his ability to face the difficult and make it look easy, his dedication to family and friends: it all stood up to us as what we wanted to emulate in life.
Uncle Bill knew we barely had two pennies to rub together; but he also knew we were okay with that. We were over visiting him one night when something special happened. He’d just recovered from losing a leg to cancer, and he was laying on the bed. We were sitting there chatting with him and my aunt Barbie.
I mention here that Uncle Bill had diabetes. I always knew it. He’d been diagnosed in his mid-20’s and at that time, we did not know of Type 1 or Type 2. Even in the mid 1980s’ when this was happening, I had no clue. But I’d seen him with his first meter. I’d seen him take shots. I’d heard them talk about his levels. But it never defined him. So I didn’t give it a ton of thought.
So that night, Uncle Bill asked us what we did for fun. We told him: we work. Sean goes to school. We walk walks in the harbor. Every once in a while we split a Fishamajig at Friendly’s or a Bergson Burger at Bergson’s (shout out if you know the reference!) We’re fine, we told him.
“Barbara!” He yelled to his wife, who’d gone off to the kitchen. “Bring me my checkbook!” She did, and he quickly wrote out a check, ripped it out of the book and handed it to us. $1,000. A fortune to us.
“Take this and go on a nice vacation,” he said. “Florida. Or something. Go, enjoy. And don’t pay me back. Instead, some day when you can, do something surprising and special for someone else.”
We were stunned. We accepted the gift, went home to our “Danger Will Robinson” apartment and talked it over. Where would we go? Florida did sound nice (and back then you could do it for a thousand bucks).
But we kept coming back to that place we always felt at home: the mountains. Instead of heading to warm, we decided, we’d head up for some spring skiing, and do it top-notch.
So we chose Stowe, Vermont. And off we went for a week of skiing, eating, sunning, and just plain fun. Forever, Stowe became a special place for us, and every time we returned (later years with our kids to ski; a few years ago for our 25th wedding anniversary since that special trip had been more like a honeymoon than our honeymoon even), we felt the same special vibe.
So I shouldn’t be surprised that Stowe has offered up an amazing trip for me to raffle off for my ride effort this year. After all, thanks to Uncle Bill, Stowe and I are like family.
So here’s the deal: you donate to my ride – ANYONE who donates $100 gets entered into a raffle to win and win big – a wonderful visit to Stowe, Vermont. You’ll get a 3-night stay for 2 people at the Green Mountain Inn in downtown Stowe, Vermont, plus $200 of Stowe Gift Certificates, to be used for your choice of dining, shopping, and activities in town. We hope to toss some other little special things in there too (Like a tour of a real Cider House!) and more. (Oh and if you should feel the urge to donate MORE, we’ll enter you again for each $100 you give. One hundred percent tax-deductible).
There are a few black out dates (but not many!): 9/12/14-10/20/14, 12/13/14-1/1/15, 1/16/15-1/19/15, 2/13/15-2/23/15, and it expires June 15, 2015 so you have a FULL YEAR to plan your trip!
Stowe is great every season, for hiking, biking (the bike trails are incredible!), skiing (of course!), shopping, golf, sightseeing and more.
We will draw the winner of the trip in early June so you have plenty of time to plan.
Now, back to my uncle. When I was expecting Lauren – my daughter with diabetes – Uncle Bill left us at too young an age. I miss him to this day, and I hear his voice guiding me on things often.
And I have to imagine if he were alive today, he’d have some great advice for Lauren about how to live well with diabetes. I also have to think this is no coincidence. Uncle Bill is up in heaven, lounging like he was that night. He called out to someone to bring him his new checkbook—the thing that makes things happen for us down here. And he delivered this amazing trip for me to raffle – all so Lauren and millions of others can live a better life.
You can bet I’ll be paying that forward.
Click here to donate and be entered to win:
Our Maine Wind Jammer trip raffle brought in over $10,000 in donations. Can we beat that? Sure we can! WE WILL BE KNOWN AS THE PEOPLE WHO CURED DIABETES!!!!
Oh and here’s a look at Stowe: http://www.greenmountaininn.com/photo-gallery/stowe-area