Everyone of these young ladies, dancing their hearts out, have type 1 diabetes. Dancing for Diabetes has that kind of magic that made this entire evening one of the most memorable of all my World Diabetes Days in all my 22 years on this journey……understanding the nature of it, it was a hugely memorable evening all around. The unsung heroes are both the behind- the-scenes people who orchestrated the night; and all those who arranged the choreography–brilliantly executed and thoroughly entertaining all.
To say this was ‘just’ an evening of dance would be like saying the Super Bowl is just another football game. From hip-hop, to modern dance, to ballet to even a trip to Starbucks to see a hugely original dance to Kristen Chenoweth’s Taylor the Latte Boy; yes, this night had it all. Even an incredible diabetes education segment at the top of Act II…..absolutely flawless.
Fifteen years ago a young tween-ager (at the time), but no less determined, began Dancing for Diabetes in her driveway in her Florida home. It was the brainchild of a talented dancer, Elizabeth Stein, who was diagnosed shortly before with T1D.
Not to let diabetes stop her in any way, IN ANY WAY, she began Dancing for Diabetes to help others know that they can do anything while managing their diabetes. Indeed. When you see the graceful Elizabeth on home-made videos, you realize just how magnificent and dedicated she was to her craft. When you see her at work in a Florida Law office, you see an educated and focused office manager. When you see her speak of Dancing with Diabetes, you see a business woman with a fierce dedication to make this project work outside the boarders of her Florida State.
But it is the softness, in this same woman’s eyes, when she speaks of the young dancers who are featured in the second act, all having diabetes. ‘I remember what it was like to dance and manage this disease. I know what they are going through.” And she does. When she is on one knee speaking to one of her dancers, she walks them through as they manage their diabetes. An outsider (me), cannot help but ask which is bigger, her knowledge of making Dancing for Diabetes the sharpest, tightest, and most professional evening of dance ever created; or her heart that cares so much for her dancers (and there were hundreds of them) especial those who dance with insulin pumps and CGMs on their waists and attached to their arms.
Awe. Inspiring. Impressed. And quite frankly a few tears as I remember another little girl who loved dancing a lifetime ago. On this World Diabetes Day, I was taken back to a little girl who with her diabetes, wanted to dance as well….and dance she did. Diabetes did not stop her then, and at twenty-five it has not stopped her yet.
In my seat of hundreds of people, I was alone; as tears filled my eyes watching this evening unfold. This one incredible evening unfold.
Dancing for Diabetes is a nonprofit organization and the Diabetes Research Institute will receive the proceeds from this year’s event. Elizabeth has an army of friends and family who help her and this is one professionally run evening right down with signs on where to park outside the building. As I spoke to the sponsors and special guests at the reception following, I said that Dancing with Diabetes should be, no NEEDS to be, in every State of our great country—-and beyond. Turns out that is Elizabeth’s exact plan.
So if you have a love for dance, or your child does, and you want to learn more about Dancing for Diabetes; send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org (write Dancing in the subject line) and I will have Elizabeth get back to you. It takes some work, but it is a fantastic evening and everyone should share in it.
Take THAT diabetes.
I am a diabetes dad.
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