A Must Read: JDRF Promise Ball 2011

As the sun set on April 30, 2011 the JRDF promise ball began and for the second year in a row I was a part of the event. I would like to take you back to last year on April 10 when I was honored to have a seat at last year's dinner and learned what my time and flowers stood for. I had just found out my own son had severe food allergies and there were now so many items that could poison him. Needless to say that night as I watched the stories of those parents who came home for the first time after receiving the Type 1 diabetes diagnosis from the doctor, I felt a kinship. I too came home and looked around the kitchen thinking, "what am I going to feed this child tonight? What am I going to feed him this week?" Then came the guilt and sadness because my son would eventually grow out of most of his allergies, and the children I was watching would only get worse as they went through the shock of puberty, the insulin increases, and ultimately the life events with stress or even childbirth that would take a serious toll on their bodies. I began to understand just what the "fuss" was all about. The things we have all taken for granted, eating without worry, exercise, feeling well; these are all things that children and adults with diabetes have an hourly reminder of.

On April 30, Dr. Julie Kate Webster spoke at this year's ball. She told her own story, diagnosed at 12 she still persued what was even a stressful education on healthy individuals and became a doctor. Most medical residents will tell you how hard that is. She got married. Most normal brides will tell you how stressful that is. She also took a chance with her life twice and had children. She has a husband who understands how delicate the balance of her life is every day and that she may not be lucky enough to see her grandchildren. These are all life decision that most of us have made, (education paths, marriage, family planning), but when a person has type 1 diabetes it works itself into every little decision from the daily, "what can I eat this moment?" to the lifetime, "will I see my grandchildren?". As humans we know nothing is guaranteed for any of us, but I can't help but attend these programs and see just how lucky I am at this moment. It was heartbreaking to see the Jr. Ambassadors, beautiful and handsome in their dresses, turn around with an insulin pump tucked into their satin and chiffon. A not so tiny reminder of the life ahead of them if there is no hope or no cure for this. I think the scariest part of diabetes is that it's not just genetic, it's not predictable, and insulin is no guarantee of a long life ahead of those who have it. The reality of hospital stays, heart problems, other organs failing and even amputations make the future so uncertain for those beautiful boys and girls I saw. I want for them the same freedoms I have: to live, love, and marry without fear. People with diabetes just want to live the same normal lives as all of us do. What is amazing to me it that bravely they do not complain about the fear, the pain, and the sick feelings they go through daily and make it easy for us to not even notice their struggles. I strongly encourage support of this worthy cause, but more I encourage educating yourself on what exactly the "fuss" is about for Juvenile Diabetes and for all manner of diseases that affect our children. You will be a better person for it in your community and in not taking your own daily health for granted. I know I am realizing this with every passing week.

Blessed are those who help others.

Thank you for taking your time to read this.


Southern Aisle: Becky and Andy

So delighted to have a feature today on the Southern Aisle!

Location: Vinegar Jim's Arlington

Coordination: Patti Braswell pbraswell@yahoo.com

Photography: Jerry Borwick