Making JDRF One Walk a family affair

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In July, 2008, at the age of five, Emily Dickey was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). After her family received the news, they began learning about their new normal—life with T1D. That’s also when they were introduced to JDRF, after Emily received a JDRF Bag of Hope. Rufus the Bear provided her with some much needed comfort in the first couple of days back home. The family also met with their local JDRF outreach team to talk about what to expect, how to work with Emily’s school and how to take advantage of JDRF resources.

The Dickeys participated in their first JDRF One Walk® almost a year after Emily’s diagnosis. They thought it was a great opportunity to raise money—and awareness—for a cause that was now very close to their hearts. And then they were hooked! Parents Ellen and Edward began volunteering as family team coaches and really enjoyed helping others grow their JDRF One Walk teams. Edward says, “One of our favorite activities is reaching out and supporting new families. It made such a difference in our T1D journey, and we want to make that difference for others.”

The Dickey family’s favorite part of JDRF One Walk is stepping back and watching Emily take the lead. The comfort and support she gets from her friends and family at the Walk make all the hard work worth it. That’s why the Dickeys recommend JDRF One Walk to other families: “It’s a unique opportunity for your children to see that they are not alone. There are many other families and children fighting the same fight and dealing with the same issues you are.” And all the funds raised go to finding a cure for T1D, so everybody wins.

Since they are JDRF One Walk veterans, we asked the Dickeys for their best fundraising tips:

  • Create a family letter that is personal and explains the highs, lows and daily challenges of living with T1D and why you’re fundraising—it could double your donations!
  • Ask those who receive the letter to join your JDRF team in person or as virtual walkers.
  • Take advantage of the fundraising tools in your online Participant Center—and use social media to get people excited.
  • Start a team fundraiser—last year, the Dickeys raised more than $4,000 in one night for Emily’s team.
  • Remember, most people will not act until they have to—so follow up with Facebook, phone calls or in person

The Dickey family is also active in other events with their JDRF local chapter—serving on the WNY Chapter Gala, Golf and JDRF One Walk committees for the last six years. They try to volunteer for as many events as possible—doing everything from selling tickets to helping out backstage. The Dickeys are also chapter board members, with Edward acting as treasurer. This year, Emily—who is now 12—spoke at the WNY Chapter Journey to a Cure Gala in front of more than 600 people. For the Dickeys, it’s clear that helping JDRF create a world without T1D is a family affair.

By Kelly DeSola