The alarm went off at 5:30a as the coffee pot started brewing in the kitchen. We had estimated how long the kids would need to wake up at such an early hour, to what degree their slow-motion sleepiness would affect their ability to get ready. We considered how hungry (or not) they’d be at that early hour and how we’d account for an insulin dose based on the lack of appetite. We quietly opened curtains — it didn’t let in any light since it was still dark across the Minnesota landscape — and moved around in the kids’ rooms in order to get them to wake up slowly. It would take us at least 30 minutes to drive to the Mall of America and we’ve never been a hop-in-the-car-and-go kind of family; we take a while to get ourselves collected and out the door.
As we drove and our people started waking up, the excitement began to build. When we pulled up the turn light and saw the line of cars heading into the parking lot, it looked like a deal-driven Black Friday event. Why else would people be out in the cold morning before the stores opened at the mall?
There was no way we’d be out this early or driving to the Mall of America of all places except for this event. It was Saturday, February 21, and it was our first Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) One Walk fundraiser.
When we heard about the One Walk, we immediately knew it was something we’d put on our calendar. We were drawn to the idea of doing something to hasten the development of better solutions and even a cure for diabetes. Maybe it’s grasping at straws, but since I’m not a scientist nor a lobbyist, this felt like something we could all actively be a part of.
We’ve only had diabetes for two months, and I say WE because it truly is a diagnosis that impacts the entire family. We’ve come through the initial shock and how we’re learning how diabetes is becoming a silent member of the family, something we have to factor into all our events and happenings. I wish I could say we’re used to it by now, but we’re not. We will be one day, but we’re not there yet.
Our team’s dominant color was purple, and team members did it up right: a purple scarf, a purple stripe on the arm, purple shirts, purple shorts, a baby in a purple headband, one friend with one purple leg-warmer and matching sock (the location of her other purple leg-warmer remains a mystery), and purple lanyards for each member of our team. They were all there bright and early, each with a positive attitude and a desire to show their solidarity with our family. They helped remind us that we are not alone in dealing with diabetes — their care and love for our family will help us in those moments when it all feels too big to handle.
The atmosphere was festive and the hallways were packed with people. It was moving to see the matching t-shirts and various groups all present to show their support for a loved one with Type 1 diabetes. It was pretty overwhelming, and we’re still processing all that we experienced that day.
We raised over $800, which was $300 more than our goal. We were so encouraged by people’s desire to contribute and be a part of finding new and better ways to deal with diabetes.
If you were a part of that day, thank you. Seriously. Thank you. And if you weren’t, you may get a chance in the future and I’d encourage you to go for it. Look out for us in the spring of 2016 and plan on seeing these again, ’cause how do you use up 100 purple lanyards in a year? You don’t.
Have you participated in a large-scale fundraiser? How do you respond to the energy surrounding such events? How do you think they contribute towards positive change?