It is with great pride and gratitude to announce that this year’s JDRF Gala on May 18th broke an all-time fundraising record! Your generosity resulted in nearly $700,000 raised for the mission to cure, treat and prevent type 1 diabetes.
The gala was a result of so many hands and I am so thankful for your support…and we couldn’t have done it without our family, friends and JDRF community.
Below I have captured the script of my speech and some of the pictures I snapped from this AMAZING evening. As well, here is a video from the live event.
How many presents does an 8 yo girl get when she is diagnosed with diabetes the day before her birthday? (long pause)
Looking back, on my earliest memories, they all begin in second grade. No matter how hard I try, I can’t recall much before then. It starts with my diagnosis.
But as I drift through that memory on, I remember more of the hard ones than the happy. In those first few years, I had several seizures – a few at school and some in my sleep.
I remember writing a letter in crayon to my mom and putting it in her bathroom drawer – saying “I don’t want to try anymore. It isn’t fair that I am the only kid in the family who has diabetes. I hate it (stomp foot) and I don’t want it.”
When my mom found it, I was waiting for her to yell at me, but she surprised me instead. She pulled me aside, sat down with me and told me to never take life for granted and that I was capable of overcoming this.
I AM capable, but it’s a heavy burden. There are so many layers to Type1 that are invisible. There is no limp or mark to distinguish us. We often look perfectly healthy until you see the tubing from a pump poke out from our waistband, or a little white pod stuck to our arm. Then you wonder – what is that?
Meanwhile, we wonder if we dosed enough insulin. If I should’ve eaten more before walking my kids to school, if that 30 grams of carb is going to kick in at Teagans soccer practice or if I need to tell a stranger I need help. We wonder if this is the high that is going to tip the scales to a complication.
It’s not just about nutrition and insulin, there are dozens of variables that affect our diabetes management. As a dietitian, I help my type 1 clients with what’s on their plate but also looking beyond. We need more options to manage this disease. Thankfully JDRF is racing to find a cure for tomorrow while striving to improve the lives of those with T1D today through advocacy and outreach.
We have studies being funded focusing on beta cell regeneration, research, screening individuals at risk of developing T1, vaccines that might prevent it, and work underway for Open Protocol, taking the closed loop system one step further.
JDRF is also working to improve the odds for expectant mothers with their closed-loop insulin pump research – some of this research is here at OSU. I was on shots nearly the whole time I was pregnant with my daughter (we didn’t do the best family planning!). And pregnancy means fluctuating hormones, fluctuating hormones mean fluctuating insulin needs and there were days I would take 17 shots. Not finger pricks – shots.
Can you fathom what it’s like to fear you are hurting your baby because your insulin isn’t working nor absorbing as you’d predicted?
Type one is scary. But when we come together, we make it a little less lonely, and with perseverance we build hope. We have events like tonight where we can make a tangible difference.
My family and I are grateful for all of you being here and I am going to be bold, as bold as I am with my insulin, and ask each of you to do all you can to help us make a difference. Your generosity and support this evening will 100% go towards JDRF mission of finding a cure, better treatment options and to prevent it in the first place.
Tonight, please help:
build the hope all of us need,
fund research that can resolve some of the hardships and the mental burden this chronic disease carries, and
break a record on the generosity a room in Central Ohio can create.