I have been going to our local JDRF walk since 1993 – it doesn’t feel that long but sheesh this year will be what, 28 years? Whoa. I need to let that soak in for a minute. I’ve only missed a handful of years; the first two times I missed it was because I was in DKA, so I suppose that’s a valid reason, right?
I blogged about some walk memories in a post 8 years ago but I ran across an old t-shirt recently and reminisced some more and wanted to jot down some thoughts.
When my mom and I first heard about JDRF it wasn’t even called JDRF. There was no ‘R’ yet, so it was just JDF. It took me years to start saying JDRF – and now it’s the opposite when I say “JDF” it sounds weird … I have jackets and sweatshirts and t-shirts that still say JDF on them. (Yea, I know I need to purge things but those years are super important to me and I worked hard raising money to earn those walk prizes 😉 I have said for years I want to take the t-shirts and have a quilt made, but haven’t gotten around to that yet …)
Even now the walk isn’t called “Walk to Cure Diabetes” anymore… now they call it “JDRF One Walk”. I love that it has become something that my family enjoys doing together. Several years ago I started volunteering on the Logistics Committee that helps plan the walk – starting out on the Food Committee, helping to make phone calls and reaching out to organizations to get food donated for the walk. Then I chaired the Food Committee, until eventually I was chairing the entire Logistics Committee and planning the walk for the Dallas area. It was a lot of fun – we had a great team! But after a couple of years, I realized I missed being able to enjoy the walk itself. My husband would come super early with me to help set up and my mom would bring our kids up after breakfast. Then my husband would usually take the kids in the stroller and walk, while I stayed behind to work. Then my mom would leave after they got back so I could stay and help clean up. It really was a lot of fun, and very rewarding. But as my kids were getting a little older, I realized I wanted to enjoy the walk WITH them and not just see them before and afterwards for a few minutes. So I stepped down as the Chair.
In 2007 I was pregnant with my now 12 year old during the walk. And then he went as a baby until now. My 6 year old twins love to go and love all of the activities they have. They have always called it the “diabetes walk”. 🙂
I love thinking back about how my mom, her dog Gracie, and I went to that first walk in 1993 having no idea what we were embarking upon … to me going with my husband and children 🙂 And how all those years ago we had no idea that I’d still be as involved as I am with the organization- Not only with the Walk, but I’ve spoken at JDRF conferences, I’ve been the subject of a national JDRF campaign; I’ve been trained as a mentor to newly diagnosed families. I love the partnership that’s been created over all of these years! Very proud of all of the hard work this organization does, and how they are very transparent in saying that they hope to one day find a cure and put themselves out of business. 🙂