A Bee Gee, and an Incredible Moment which I will Never Forget.

Tom Barry Love and HopeHe is a superstar.  A mega star.  A golden voice, an incredible writer, and a friend fo the Diabetes Research Institute.  He will be performing this year, which he does from time to time, at our Love and Hope Ball next month.

He is getting ready to tour.  He was on Saturday Night live recently.  He is making the circles around the talk show circuit.  He mentions the DRI when he can.  He and his wife, Linda, believe in the mission of the DRI.  He was very close to Marty Kleiman, one of the founding families of the building which stands as a beacon of hope for all of us waiting for a cure of this dreaded disease.

I did not know Marty, I have been told he had incredible drive, a wonderful sense of humor, and the ability to make anyone feel comfortable when he was in a room.  He lost his battle to cancer and his family’s efforts are surely engrained in the fiber and heart of the DRI even today.  His son, and my colleague, Gary is one of the most knowledgeable people I know in the research world—he IS THE go-to person when something comes across my path of which I had not heard about.  Gary has had diabetes for a long, long time.  Yet he still has such a high hopes for a cure.

Some have become cynical about the cure, and that is surely their right.  I know so many have heard of ‘this cure’ for so many years that they have become jaded.  Some have just resigned themselves to the fact that if it comes great, but breathes will not be held waiting for it.  The promise broken too often.  It certainly is understandable.  But I cannot be that way.  Seems, neither can Gary.  Neither can so many more.  There is a reason we believe in the DRI even though so many of us have come from so many different walks of life in our diabetes journey.

It is not only what I have seen myself,  but when I see the DRI through the eyes of so many people who; ask the tough questions, who get involved because they too believe, have toured the building, who understand the science and say, “…the DRI gets it…..”, and so many who lend their talents, their money, and in cases like Barry Gibb; even their well-known and good name to the place that means so much to so many, that continues to inspire me.  Why would they be involved unless this place was so special?  Why would I? 
Many well-known people have inspired me with their incredible work to no end but it was a chance meeting two years ago that also showed me an incredible compassion as well.  Barry’s brother, Robin, was so very ill with cancer.  At the same time, my brother-in-law was also extremely ill with cancer.  Within months of our meeting, both of our loved ones would lose that painful battle.

Through a series of twists and turns, we ended up together back stage.  We talked about the brilliant concert he had just given at the DRI’s Love and Hope Ball.  I thanked him for giving such a great concert.  I said I knew a lot was going in his life and I appreciated his support for all of our kids with diabetes, even though his own family’s health battles were well-known.  He informed how grateful he was to once again be with us.  He also shared that he was surely concerned about his brother and I told him about my brother-in-law, Joel.  We talked a little bit about what we each were going through; and that will stay between he and I.

At the end of the conversation I thanked him, and we hugged.

Yes, hugged.

I have found that for most people, no matter their status in life, the connection of an incredibly shared human moment is something that transcends everything else……even if it just happens to be with one of the greatest icons in music history.

I am a diabetes dad.

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