August Cure Champion


Small Steps are the Only Way Up the Mountain 

A mountain of impossible. That’s what my husband Drew and I felt like we were facing in the days after our two-year-old son, Nolan, was admitted to Boston Children’s and diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D).  We were lucky—we caught it early; Nolan was in good shape, all things considered. But the diagnosis felt like a bomb dropping on our lives—emotionally, physically, and logistically.

How are we ever going to send him to college?  How are we going to figure out how many carbs are in this fruit cup?  How can we possibly send him to daycare? Which one of us is going to quit our job?  Mountain of impossible.  But then, the patient nurses.  The compassionate doctors. The family that dropped everything—some driving in the middle of the night to be home with our older son Aidan, some driving hours to be with Nolan at the hospital while Drew and I spent two days in classes learning how to care for him.  The cards, the calls, the love. The “my colleague’s daughter…” and “my nephew…” and “me.” As we navigated those tearful days, I realized that my tears were mostly of gratitude. Gratitude that we caught it early. That we had good health insurance. That we were in the world’s best medical hands.  That our family kicked into action before we even knew what to ask for. That we were walking out of the hospital after three days, with two CVS bags filled with every tool we needed to care for Nolan. So many families around us were facing much scarier beasts.

Together, and with much help, we took steps—small steps, fumbling steps, sometimes backward steps—but slowly, slowly, we began making our way up that mountain of impossible. When it all felt overwhelming, we refocused on what was right in front of us: this meal, this night, this birthday party, this low, this high.  Small steps began adding up, and we realized we were doing it.

Small steps add up to something big, something good, something to be proud of.  That’s why last year we signed up for our first JDRF One Walk. We created a team.  We told our family. We sent our emails. And we were blown away. Our team grew. Friends, cousins, colleagues showed their support in often surprising, incredibly generous ways.  In our first year, with a team of 22 walkers, we raised more than $16,000 for JDRF, to help fund the research, support the technology, that makes life possible for kids like Nolan—for families like ours.

JDRF is our cause of choice, and we are so grateful that our family and friends have rallied around our Nolan, around our cause—offering their support and love and dollars and miles to our JDRF One Walk event.  With that wind at our backs, helping to push us along, the view from the top of this mountain looks bright and full of promise.

Written by Erin Berg