The past two weekends I have attended two different diabetes related fundraisers. The first one “The Santa Speedo Run” is a 1 mile jog around the magnificent mile area on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. We meet at a local bar, have a few beverages then head out in our speedo’s or whatever festive costume you choose to wear, do an unorganized run around the streets of Chicago, around cars, around Christmas shoppers and the like. High fiving people as we go and yelling out various “diabetes” related sayings. It has become an annual thing for me and my triathlete friends and some of the girls from team WILD to do. Yes, it gets a bit crazy but it truly is the one day where I can say “i feel a little special here” because all these people are gathered here to help me! I wear my pump and other diabetes equipment with pride! I am not sure how much money they raise but it costs $40 per person and I have to say there was anywhere from 2-400 people? http://www.chicagosantaspeedorun.com The proceeds go towards the Chicago Diabetes Project a global collaboration in search of a cure for diabetes through islet cell transplants. http://www.chicagodiabetesproject.org/.
This past weekend I volunteered at the JDRF Chance of a Lifetime Gala http://www.jdrfillinois.org/gala/index.html. A completely different animal. Here the who’s who of Chicago who have some connection to diabetes gather to bid on expensive high end silent auction items such as signed sports jersey’s, wine, dinners, art, weber grills and vacation packages. In the past pre-dinner speeches are made by govenors or mayors of Chicago. Guests are usually all glammed up for the night. I love to watch and see all the outfits. After dinner everyone filters into the auditorium where NBC 5’s Allison Rosati and Rob Stafford MC the event. Auctioneers start the bidding on fabulous packages donated by individuals and companies such as African lion safaris or Grammy Award VIP passes and weekend packages.. or a chance to sing on stage with the band playing that year. This year it was Kool and the Gang, the lucky winners got to sing “celebration” on stage. The winners were the daughters of a well off family who paid north of $10,000 for the opportunity. This year we volunteered, the individual tickets are a helfty $375, volunteering was fun and we still go to enjoy the show.
Speeches are given by chosen individuals who are meant to inspire and give hope. Every year I sit and listen to these people talk about this disease that I have and every year it reduces me to tears -EVERY time. Somehow hearing about the constant guessing of dosages, the highs and the lows, the 24/7 attention required, the difficulties of adjusting dosage for hormones, exercise, stress, pizza, beer, and frankly if your baby toe hurts, makes me realize what I do day to day. It’s one of the few times where I let it all out, all the frustration with this damn disease pours out of my eyes in the form of sobbing tears. Generally I can carry on day to day not thinking about the burdens of living with diabetic, its just my life. Yes, on occasion i will let it out on Facebook but directed towards my diabetic friends because only they would understand. Here diabetes looks me straight in the eye and smacks me in the face and says “this is hard” and “hey, you have a disease and it sucks”. It’s not all doom and gloom though, especially hearing about how not long ago a diabetic had an average life expectancy of less than 60 and the stories of what people used to do prior to all the gadgets we have now, having to sterilize and reuse needles (wow). Now THAT was hard! I am grateful for all the research the JDRF has been involved with and for all the new technology that helps me manage this disease day to day.
They raised over $3 million dollars that night. One night. The outpouring of generosity whether it be through volunteering, giving or bidding thousands of dollars is just astonishing.
JDRF is the global leader in diabetes research and the illinois chapter is the largest in the country raising millions of dollars through events such as the gala and the Ron Santo walk. It provides funding for research to find a cure, improve treatment and to prevent type 1 diabetes. http://jdrfillinois.org/help-cure-diabetes/aboutJDRF.html
Two completely different events, two very worthy causes.