I’m writing to share the story of why we walk. Our daughter, Anna, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) before her second birthday on a beautiful Labor Day weekend. We thought we’d spend our afternoon picking apples; however, that morning Anna stood by the refrigerator, continuously asking for water followed by many heavily saturated diapers. We called her pediatrician and out of happenstance, the pediatric endocrinologist in the practice was the doctor on call. We answered his questions and were instructed to head to Hasbro Children’s Hospital for some tests to be run. Soon after we arrived, Anna was diagnosed with T1D. Quite simply, we felt sucker punched. In the following days, we learned so much about Anna’s care, diabetes management, and the resources available to us, including JDRF.
The same month we were released from the hospital, we signed up for our first JDRF One Walk. We felt lost and found comfort in participating in an event that made us feel as though we were doing something to help an organization that gave us a sense of hope when we needed it the most. Our incredible endocrinologist and JDRF were our map and our compass during those early days. Connecting with other families who had traveled the path we were just beginning helped us realize we were not in this alone.
Our first Walk was an amazing experience for us. We found ourselves surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues who came out to show their support. We found ourselves surrounded by people struggling with the same daily challenges and shared desire to support JDRFs mission. Our family agreed that the feel of Walk Day is FUN! Clearly, so much planning and consideration went into designing a day filled with activities that kids would enjoy, resources that families would benefit from, and a high-spirited Walk that recognized each step as progress on a journey toward a cure.
We’ve walked every year since. While the location changes, the experience does not; JDRF One Walk brings an amazing community together. For those of you who have participated in JDRF One Walk before, I’m sure you will agree. For those of you who are new to the T1D community, it is with mixed emotion that I welcome you. No one would choose the reason we are part of this tribe; however, it truly is an incredible community, full of hope, courage, and determination. We hope you will join us for our virtual Walk Day on Saturday, October 2, build a team, design a shirt, have some fun and help us step closer to a cure.
While the Walk is virtual again this year, this affords you to put your own unique touch on the day. Last year, we were able to have friends and family participate from afar. We made the day feel special and festive for Anna with blue and orange balloons and a fun playlist to get us excited for the Walk, then put on our team shirts, blue and orange beads, and hit the streets in our respective neighborhoods and tuned into a virtual event hosted by JDRF, filled with great information and touching stories about the JDRF community. We hope to see you there this year!
Member, JDRF Greater New England Community Board and Walk Committee