Writing the Letter

We've participated in a JDRF Walk every fall since my daughter was diagnosed.  It's an annual challenge to pen a brief and compelling letter, unique from the ones of years past, in which I explain why diabetes is awful and why donating to JDRF is, in our opinion, a helpful response.  Here's this year's letter, without the opening paragraph with the walk day details, and with the name of our stuffed bear with diabetes substituted for my daughter's own name:

About a mile into our second walk to cure diabetes, Ruby, who was about to turn 3 years old, turned around in her stroller, looked me in the eye, and said,

“Why are we doing this, anyway?” 

“To raise money for people to learn about diabetes and hopefully find a way to make it easier to live with it. Or even to fix it.”


That’s why we’re still doing this.  And we’re encouraged. 

JDRF is funding research for biological and technological advances which show true promise.  The updates have been coming thicker and faster over the past couple of years, with encouraging progress on a variety of fronts.  Most promising, in our opinion, is the possibility that a ‘bionic pancreas’ system which would regulate Ruby’s blood sugar with little input needed from her, will be available before she graduates from college. 

Even at 3, Ruby immediately understood that the reason we were taking this seemingly endless walk in the windy drizzle was a good one.  Even at 3, she knew that she didn’t like the pokes and prods of diabetes.  She didn’t like the need to eat when she wasn’t hungry, or to avoid the donut holes at playgroup.  She knew she didn’t like how uncomfortable she felt with low or high blood sugars.  Maybe she even knew that she didn’t like how anxious and distracted diabetes sometimes made her parents.

Ten years later, we’re still walking, for reasons which aren't much different.  We’ve walked in different towns, with different people.  What’s remained the same is that we’ve walked closer and closer to our dream of a safer, healthier, easier life for Ruby. 

We’d like you to walk with us this October, in body or in spirit.

While writing the letter is a challenge, watching the response makes it worth it.  I'm pleasantly surprised every year to be reminded that friends, coworkers, family and even tangential acquaintances care about the impact diabetes has on us and on so many other people.  We've raised about $2000 this month and have a team of 15 people walking, with the possibility of more of each to come.  I'm glad we're doing this! 

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