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[IP] Alphabet Soup: JDF?ADA?DRI? JUST DO IT!!!
I've been reading these pro/con JDF/ADA posts with great interest. As you
may know, my family is very committed to JDF. My husband serves on the Phila.
board, & Melissa and I have participated in the WALK to Cure Diabetes since 2
wks after her diagnosis in 1992. This year, our family team raised $23,500 (
as of yesterday) bringing our 8 year total to $80,000. Melissa has spoken
several times at the annual Kickoff luncheon & participated in a video shown
at our annual Gala.
That said, however, I also must acknowledge that ANY organization,
JDF,ADA or whatever, is only as effective & as positive an experience as its
volunteers make it for newcomers. My years of involvement at JDF have
resulted in several philosophical conclusions: a) leave your ego at the door
b) if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem and c) if
you don't ask, you can't get a YES.... It's VERY easy to get disenchanted by
others who don't adhere to that philosophy, but after careful analysis, I've
learned that a blanket condemnation of an organization based on a few grating
personalities undermines the ultimate goal. Our chapter's role in "support"
was minimal, so I've worked to remedy that by orchestrating an
informational/vendors table at our WALK; by helping Melissa and her CDE start
a teen support group next month; and by inviting any local moms to meet for
our 2nd gathering next week, for lunch at the mall. Stuffing envelopes may
"appear" to be our "focus", but when volunteers come in & do that, I know
that they'll usually leave feeling empowered & encouraged by having a chance
to chat with those who also deal with diabetes daily!
The following (lengthy) post was one I wrote this summer to another
message board in response to a mom whose son had had a horrific experience at
a slumber party & was understandably weary of battling the diabetes BEASTIE!
The ONLY antidote to the rampant ignorance, misconceptions and nonchalance
that are so pervasive about diabetes is for us ALL to continue to teach,
preach and REACH out to these blithely naive "outsiders". When I'm not doing
diabetes advocacy, I do the same for breast cancer. When people ask why I
don't just "get on with my life", my pat answer is: "If I DON'T do this, then
the cancer wins TWICE - by robbing me of my innocence, my body parts, my
hair, etc. AND by also robbing me of my VOICE that can be used to educate &
empower! (once a teacher, always a teacher!)..I never considered that this is
equally applicable to my diabetes "work". If I were NOT to do all that I
choose to do, it would be as if the diabetes won TWICE - by robbing my
daughter of her innocence, childhood, spontaneity ( pretty much restored
albeit thanks to the pump)and by robbing the people I can touch with our
story & experience. Our JDF WALK letter, mailed to over 500 people last week
has resulted in people telling Melissa they never understood what having
diabetes actually meant. Yes, it's great to see those checks, but the
knowledge that we've educated even a few people, is equally rewarding. Just
this week alone, 3 parents e-mailed me about Melissa's proteinuria, 24 hour
urine tests, etc. Many parents tell me their doctors scoff at her story, yet
one mom whose doctor never checked her now 18 yr old son's urine since his dx
8 yrs ago, saying "kids never have problems this young" (DUH) is distraught
that when the new endo did precisely that, her son's proteinuria is even
worse than Melissa's was 2 yrs ago when she began taking ACE inhibitors!!!
So whether your personal serving of "alphabet soup" spells out ADA or JDF
or DRI, the bottom line (courtesy of NIKE) is to JUST DO IT!!!!!! When you
stop believing that even one person CAN "make a difference" then we all lose
Regards, Renee ( pump mom for 3 1/2 years)
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