On October 27, 2009 my 9-year-old son Joseph, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D). It was overwhelming coming home from the hospital. My husband and I just looked at each other, in shock that our child’s health, and very life, was in our inexperienced hands. We were lucky to have a small group of families in the city we lived in—Quincy MA—that understood what we were going through, offering us support. The JDRF was always there for us as well, there was the Bag of Hope delivered to my family and the kids events they organized. JDRF with its philosophy of reducing the impact of T1D on lives (improving lives) until there is cure resonates with me. My family began to raise money and participate in a local Kids Walk and the larger Boston Walk benefitting JDRF.
In the summer of 2011, I realized I needed to do more than just raise money for a walk or two. I began to volunteer delivering Bags of Hope to newly diagnosed families. I became more involved in the local Kids Walk, organized by a group of T1D parents partnering with the Quincy Public Schools. The city of Quincy supports us by declaring the day of our walk city wide “Stamp Out Diabetes Day.” Every year, for the last four years, we have been able to get more and more schools and children involved in the walk, raising over $130,000. Last year we raised $43,000 with 11 Quincy schools involved.
I am lucky to have met an incredible core group of T1D families that work on making the Quincy Kids Walk such a huge success. These families have become lifelong friends, we share a bond that no-one outside of the T1D community can fully understand. When we began to meet to plan our Kids Walk, we often became side tracked, discussing our kid’s experiences and seeking support from each other. I quickly realized that not only did we have so much to offer each other, but, just think how we could help those newly diagnosed families that I was bringing the Bags of Hope to. We meet monthly and have extended out invitations to any parents of T1D children to join us. We have had many new families join our group and often have our children get together, further building a strong support foundation for the entire family.
Individually, I also have organized volunteers from my employer to assist in the clean up after the JDRF One Walk Boston this past September and by wrapping gifts at the Simon Mall in December. I have a passion to improve the lives and find a cure for T1D for my son and the other children and adults I have come to know and care for. I support JDRF because I feel that same level of commitment and hope from this organization that has made me part of its community.