Duncansville, Pennsylvania is a little town that I am sure famed artist Norman Rockwell would have loved. Strangers actually smile and DO SAY hello when passing, and you can feel the ‘local-ness’ from everyone in the town. It sits in the heart of hills and mountains all around and almost every building looks like it has a story to share. A town that cares about itself, and a town that surely cares about others.
This past Saturday many things were happening in this little town and people had many choices; five hundred of them, and a few pets wearing team t-shirts, joined in the Blair County Diabetes Diplomat walk to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute. Now walks happen all around the country and almost every organization has this type of event. I spent a good part of my career in the early days with JDF (now JDRF) building what would become their Walk to Cure Diabetes Walks. I know walks. I have stated a million times that it is the people I have come to know at these events that pierce your soul and stay in your heart
Blair county captures the spirit of each family as the event gets ready to begin. Each family writes a few lines about what their walk team is all about and these are ready at the start of the actual walk. This takes some time, but the organizer, Lisa Treese (who is one very special woman) feels that it is important that everyone knows just a little bit about who is at the event. Sponsors like Sanofi Diabetes are thanked but to Lisa, this is about the families. And she is very firm on this point and it is evident throughout the entire day and seen in every aspect of the event with family oriented fun, music, and food. It’s about families.
The people I met in Duncansville this weekend personify what this D-journey is all about; or should be all about. This is a town that cares. From the news anchor who came down to say hello, to the band who volunteered their time, to the principal who became very active at Foot of Ten Elementary School (one truly must LOVE the name of this school) and where the walk was held.
People like ‘Team Yay’ (pictured here, Aidan is being held on the far right). About their team, mom says;
Team Yay is in honor of Aidan. He was diagnosed a year and a half ago at
22 months old. From day one, he accepted this major change in stride, with
barely a complaint or question. When he used to get his insulin through
injections, everyone would exclaim, “yay!” Aidan soon anticipated this praise
with each shot, and so his team was aptly named Team Yay! Now on an insulin
pump, Aidan inspires everyone around him with his contagious laughter and
positive outlook no matter what challenges he may face. We are so excited to
walk for a cure!
I spent some time with Aidan’s mom who enthusiastically explained why she and her family came to this event, this year. Aidan’s mom is as perfect example as any why we all are in this fight; nothing short of a cure will do. There always must be focus on that detail. It wont be easy but the hope cannot be abandoned. In Blair County, it won’t be.
There is an army of volunteers who organize and run this event. It is made up of families where diabetes now resides. It is made up of individuals who fight this disease and as a community in a town in American, on a given Saturday, they came out because they want a cure. They know it will take time to get there but they want to support people, just like them, who want to turn the lights off on this disease once and for all; and that is the single-minded focus.
We all work towards that goal. And for all of that effort, belief, execution, laughter, tears, smiles, gratitude in a town where, on this day, diabetes did not win; well it seems to me that it all deserves one big ‘Yay’…….. just like Aidan’s team.
I am a diabetes dad.
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