I was Asked, I Answer. How About You?

cure definedI was asked by someone recently what a cure looks like to me?

She writes, “Is the cure you visualize one without side effects, complications and risk. Does it restore normal beta cell function in some way? Does it involve an operation? Will they need any other medication? Will the cure last or will they need repeated cures?”

First of all I believe that there are two separate categories.  Treatment.  Cure.  I think the line has been blurred over the years.  I think the line should stay crystal clear.  The reason I believe this point is that the emphasis on one has possibly made people think that ‘this_________ (whatever)’ WILL, absolutely make life so much better for people with diabetes.  Better is good and with some things better is FABULOUS.

But back in the days when insulin was discovered, people began touting what was a cure and what was not.  One could make the case statement that insulin surely keeps people alive so it could be a cure.  When it was discovered, many stated it was a cure.  Today, looking back; is it?

But I was asked what I thought.  I, one million percent, think in the present that management is extremely crucial and ANY AND EVERY tool should constantly be improved upon so those with diabetes have all that is needed.

A cure, to me, will be when the monitoring of diabetes and the worry of diabetes is no longer an issue.   The cells that did work, work again and there are no side effects to that end.  If it is something that has to be done every few years, I would be fine with that BUT, I don’t have diabetes.  I answer as my fears and my woes are satisfied as a parent. 

Over the years I have heard so many with diabetes state that greater management tools is the more logical wish because the touting of a cure has gone on so long and the promise broken so many times.  Many just don’t believe a cure is a realistic view-point.

And that saddens me.

As I stated, I can wish for or believe what I want, but I don’t live with it.  I have taught myself to listen to the voices of those who speak from experience and the research world needs to hear them too.  When those living with diabetes believe that modern advancements in tools for management is the better bet for their dollar on wishes; well it should be a wake-up call to the world-at-large looking for a cure.  People want to be shown, not told.

There is not a person in this world who has diabetes who will not tell you, “Sure I want a cure.”  But those who live with it, are not mice.  Show them what you have, because saying it just does not do it for them anymore. 

This goes for the advancements in management tools also.  Do not ‘string people’ along.  If you’ve got it, share it.  If you do not have it, and know you never will, stop it and spend your resources with those who can get us all to the finish line.

I have seen science that is not shared, not substantial, not really anywhere, and they are fooling so many who want it so desperately. 

When asked why am I hear at the DRI, I answer that today with a Facebook post from the man who heads the institute, Dr. Camillo Ricordi……..and he and his colleagues live by it.  He quoted Bertrand Russell:
Never cease to disagree, to ask questions, to question authority, clichés and dogmas. There is no absolute truth. Do not stop thinking. Be dissident voices. Be the weight that tips the floor. Always be informed, but do not lock yourself into knowledge, because knowledge is also a weapon… 
A man who doesn’t disagree is like a seed that will never grow. 

And if whoever you believe in cannot live up to this…..run, don’t walk, away.

I am a diabetes dad. 

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

I Know Where My Heart Belongs…..Do You????

Islet cell heart editedHappy Valentine’s Day. Those who know, know they have my heart.  But the islet cell picture in the shape of the heart, that I posted today, was discovered by one of the Researchers at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) and given to the world to use.  That simple gesture of sharing with the world is indicative of the reason that out of all the entities out there, that I could give my energy, my heart will always belong to the DRI.

Those who know me also know that I am very supportive of  many entities, organizations, and projects.  My mantra of ‘don’t do nothing’ is well-known in the diabetes community.  I respect whatever anyone else chooses to support.  Recently a good friend asked me, “Why do feel so strongly about the DRI?”

Years ago, when DRI was really just beginning, I was approached by a colleague at a conference who was a regional director in the Florida area.  Jennifer approached me and stated that she knew many people from the Long Island area were looking at the DRI and asking a million questions.  “What do you do?  How do you stop them?”  I smiled at Jennifer, who was also a mom to a child with T1, and I said, “Jennifer, I tell them to go.”

My thought has always been that we need to continue to look for the answers we seek, never to be so connected to a place that if another one doing a better job comes along, that you would not look to FIND THE ANSWER.  In our life, the single most important factor in our lives is to find a cure for our two children.  Second, a close second, is to have the knowledge of everything out there to keep our kids healthy.  But the leader is a cure.

There is not one single entity our there more dedicated to finding a cure than the DRI.  To this day I have never seen or been introduced to anything like it.  Yes, I work here.  But I have worked at other diabetes-central places before and I would change again if someone showed me a better place to be.  The scientific findings at the DRI are known throughoutthe world.  What they have been part of has changed the diabetes world of research like no other place.  And it continues today.

I know there are scientists out there doing work that is capturing the imaginations and the hopes of many.  I know most of them and some could be very helpful.  When someone says to me, “what about so-and-so” my answer is always the same; “Go and ask them if they would be willing to work with others, to share, to speed up their results, if it is no, then don’t waste your time.”

I learned that from the DRI.  The DRI shares with centers all around the world in a collaborative effort second to none.  It is this effort of sharing and connecting, as well as the brilliance of the findings that keep me here.  But if you know some place better please let me know.  But they must pass the litmus test: Is the science real; do they collaborate; do they share; is it on the pathway for a cure.

Now I also know there are those out there saying we need to put a timeline on the scientists to find a cure.  Not so.  Does anyone remember the decade for a cure in the 90’s; the battle-cry was that a cure would be found by the end of the 90s but that came with a PR slant only; and much of the real science out there was not even being entertained for funding.  So be careful on timelines…..been there, done that….and it broke my heart.  DIligent?  Absolutely.  Focused? Absolutely.

The DRI is a group of scientists that share with each other, share with the world, and whether you have a million dollars or run an event that raised $50; you are part of the DRI Family.  Each person is as crucial a step on the pathway as the scientists themselves.

It is no secret to anyone that Lisa Treese is without a doubt one of my favorite people on this living earth.  She is a mom who does what she can.  She was not happy with what she saw in her community and she searched, and she searched, and she searched and how lucky for the DRI that she gives so much time and effort.  I will never forget when Lisa and her mom toured the DRI and her mom called me afterwards and said to me, “That was staged, right.  I cannot believe that is how they treat everyone who visits and tours the DRI.”  It is how we treat every one—simply put, one is, or is not.  The DRI is.

It is also no secret that another favorite person on this earth is Bonnie Inserra and her family.  They have worked hard in life and they share generously with both their time and their support.  You see, these two women, myself, like so many more have ‘touched and seen the DRI in action’.  All work diligently for one reason, to turn out the lights because the job is done.

That is why I share with you on this Valentines Day, that when it comes to diabetes, my heart belongs to the DRI.  If you want to be updated on research, I do not want you to change anything in your lives, but if you want to stay updated on worldwide happenings in diabetes research I urge you to become a DRI Insider by clicking here.

There will be a cure for diabetes, I’m sure of it.  And the DRI will be part of it.  For me that is worth giving both my soul and my heart.  Happy Valentines Day.

I am a diabetes dad.

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How Smart are You???????

smartThis weekend had me at the Children with Diabetes’ Focus on Technology in Crystal City Virginia or right next to Washington D.C.   In as much as i so enjoy speaking to these great people. I’m also always there to learn as well.  You can never have too much knowledge when it comes to diabetes, and I have so much more to learn.

I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Dr. Ken Moritsugu, the former Surgeon General for the United States (some of their speaker’s resumes are quite impressive).  And he spoke om Health Literacy.  I wish everyone could have heard him.  Being involved as much as I am with the DIabetes Research Institute, I am constantly asked by someone; “What do you think of this research that I just read?” 

I think that anything that will better keep our kids healthy or take us one more step closer to a cure is what all of us look for daily.

But be warned.

A few simple steps might help us understand what is real, or close to a reality; and what has much further to go.

1. Consider the source.  People are doing research all the time, where are you reading it?  Is the information coming from a reputable scientifically respected magazine.  Because something is posted at a conference does not necessarily mean it will be a reality in the near future.  Know where the source is and how reputable is it?

2. Is anyone else able to duplicate the science.  Is it being done in a secret bubble or does the science make sense.  Is the field excited about the findings or is the excitement only coming from the lab doing the work.

3. Where in the research cycle is the science.  Is it still basic science or being done only in a mouse or is it in larger animal models like primates or in human clinical trials.

Ask your self these questions when you read something.  It is a basic guide and most of all; ask a million questions.  If the science is real, so too should the answers.

Diabetes has been cured in a mouse over 300 times. in as much as the science is important in the early stages, it takes a lot to be testing it in humans. Make sure you know what the science is about before getting too excited.  Our kids are not mice.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

What Do You Know and Use Everyday? Share with Us.

question mark little manAs I read responses to yesterday’s article, and  the so many traits that people have leaned upon to ‘get them through’ the new normal, I realized that my two emotional aspects of laughter and music has served us well, but there is another approach needing discussing and that is ‘the practical’ aspects.  

Jill is without-a-doubt the most organized person I have ever met.  Her abilities have been an incredible asset to our ‘new normal’.  Dealing with insurance companies, and appointments, and hospital visits I shutter to think what our lives would be like had we not the strength to almost always know where something is and what the next steps will be.

Jill’s ability at taking a mess and making sense of it is envious by many.  The places she has been employed have utilized that talent enormously, and so have we.  Organization goes a long way in everything that is needed for our kids even without diabetes, add diabetes to the mix, multiply by two kids, and you can see what I mean.

When I was around 12, I was a newspaper carrier.  Hard to believe there was a time when a local boy or girl would drop your newspaper on your steps and collect what was due on a Friday or Saturday; but we existed.  Every day in all sorts of weather I would deliver my newspapers. 

Before I delivered my papers, I sat on the bundle and flipped through every page reading what was happening around the world.  News.  The news was always important to me and it is to this day.  This thirst for what was new has also served us well because of the ever-changing climate in which we live.   Technology for useful management tools like the artificial pancreas (read Diabetes Mine’s great article about Ed Damiano who has clearly become the leader in this ‘bionic pancreas’ research) and of course the research for a cure is always a hot button of mine and the scientific merit of the work earning grants recently at the Diabetes Research Institute is a constant reminder of their drive to move the dial forward better than anyone else, it is the reason I continue to work there.

This thirst for what’s new also has trained me to ask questions, a lot of questions, and the right questions to know where we are going in both the day-to-day management as well as the research toward a cure.

Organization and a thirst for what’s new has served us very, very well in this journey.    We did not choose diabetes but now that it is here, we have used every resource we had, and we have been very fortunate.

What practical aspect of your life has served you well each and every day with the ‘new normal’?  Let us know.

I am a diabetes dad.

Visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

One Thing Tips the Entire Scale…..Don’t you agree?

scaleRecently we were having a discussion in our house about all of our definition of a cure.  In the midst of the discussion, Kaitlyn stated that she has had diabetes for so long (20 of 22 years) that she would find it odd not to have it.

Now this may surprise you, but that got me to thinking.  Never before could one single outcome change our entire lives.  Although we certainly have friends who do not have a child with diabetes, others have come and gone in our life since diagnosis…..and in our life; times two.

conversely (sort of) would all of the good be traded in for a single outcome as well.  Think about it.  How many people are in your life now that would not be there if your child, or yourself, was diagnosed?  Think of your connections with charity events, boards, education, online community, friends, good friends, spouse (yes people have dated and even married due to meeting through the diabetes community); and yet just one single outcome would tilt the scales completely.

Imagine all of the great things that have occurred because we are in a community we ever would have signed up to be par  That one thing was no diabetes at all.  I have met incredible, I mean INCREDIBLE people on this journey.

Would I have traded it all for my kids not to have diabetes.  Would I trade being part of the initial group that worked long and hard when I was a staff member at JDF (now JDRF) and created what is now the Walk to Cure Diabetes; would I trade being in front of Congress, NY State Assembly and even the United Nations discussing ways to help; would I trade the incredible opportunity to be at dLife; would I trade this absolutely astounding D.O.C.: would I trade being such a huge part of the CWD family; would I trade the countless of incredible encounters with incredible people to celebs to elected officials; would I trade the people who I have come to love; Would I have traded the work I have done with the LIONs Club gaining ADA accreditation for our local hospital and also educating over 20,000 kids annually about diabetes, would I trade the most incredible and dedicated people in the world at the DRI where I am employed who are the most focused in curing this disease forever and there is a whole lot more that would be up on the consideration lis: would I trade ALL OF THIS for one single item–to have never been part in the first place?

In a New York Second.

I love everything and everyone in our lives; but I wish I was never here.  But I do not live my life in what could have been, I live my life it what is.  And what is, is our life with diabetes times two (and now times thousands because of everyone I now know). 

We will beat this disease.  And after we do, I will have all of these great friends who I love so much in a world without diabetes.  And that means you.

I am a Diabetesdad. 

PS Stay in touch via FB; go to Diabetes Dad and hit ‘Like”–thank you

“D” ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

I wrote this a few years ago for my column on dLife….here it is slightly updated. Apologies still to Clement Moore, the original author—Merry Christmas 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with  prayer,
In hopes that Santa would bring the cure with him this year.

The children were nestled from head to their feeties,
While thoughts in their head were no more diabetes.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, she prayed for the cure too,
A dad still wonders what else could he do.

Remembering this year; the D,C, health reform clatter,
So many were still wondering what was the matter.
Away to the news wires we ran in a flash,
Congress can’t get along, might it all crash.

As costs continue to rise on everyone’s supply,
So many wonder how they’ll get by.
D-bloggers continue to write of these capers,
It certainly can’t be left to all the newspapers.

Some insulins are now no longer produced in large numbers,
Who made the decision on these stupid blunders?
To those with diabetes these really are not funny,
You’re playing with lives; it’s not about money.

As parents search for the docs and schools that really care,
So much about this disease just doesn’t seem fair.
But as we turn and realize the continual fear,
I have some wishes for so many this year.

When you look outside at the fresh fallen snow,
Or out at the sea where cold you don’t know,
Think of those who inspire and soon you will see,
Those things have changed in the past and will continue to be.

Innovations like getting supplies to those in foreign lands,
There was Team Type 1, IDF, and a Foundation of Hands.
There were great events where no one would lose ya’,
There were rides, walks, another Jessapoolaza.

Of course we always had times that supplied daily strife,
But there were always seminars and CWD’s—great Friends for Life.
There was JDRF continuing in closing the loop,
And the ADA’s Stop Diabetes is still really a scoop.

There was TCOYD and programs were pooled,
And DRI’s drive for a cure is still very fueled.
Online giving went up a new step for sure,
By causes, by Facebook towards a real cure.

Information is available more than ever before,
Online, personal sites, bloggers still score.
So as the year ends and criticisms comes quick,
Remember there are good things and not all from St. Nick.

So listen carefully as you think of all that is run,
There is so much more work that needs to be done.
Don’t leave it to others; it’ll be just a few,
“Don’t do nothing” is what you really must do.

And if you think you’re done, tired, and feeling sort of sore,
Think of your loved one with diabetes, it’ll make you do more.
And if not for you, it will be for their sake,
We will stop it all when they get a break.

And then, in a twinkling, one day we’ll hear on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
And the only thing needed is Santa’s toy bag for sure,
When diabetes is gone because of a cure.

So we will all continue to work, where is up to you,
But you have to make the decision on something you’ll do.
And one day we’ll scream and exclaim, “diabetes is out of sight,”
The Happiest Christmas ever, and to all a good-night!

I am a diabetes dad

In NYC for 12-12-12……But Not for a Concert……For a Cure!

12-12-12 in New York City.  At a concert?   Nope. 

I found it interesting that just a few blocks away from probably the biggest concert since “We Are the World” joined together to create an album, there was a huge gathering of people together for you (if you have diabetes) and your children (if they have diabetes).  It was a ‘concerted’ effort on 12-12-12 in New york City where a thousand people raised money for a cure.

But this is not just a story of en event that raised well north of one million dollars (that is correct, ^ of $1,000,000) for a cure.  It’s a line that I heard….and I have heard it before.  The founder of this incredible event, Charlie Rizzo (I have written about Charlie, a dad who does not understand the meaning of the words, ‘burned out’) once stated, ‘I have to do this, so many more do not”.

And it is that line regarding the Empire Ball, Unlock the Cure that I need to you to focus on today.  One of the major forces involved with this incredible event (pictured in the middle of the picture with DRIF President and CEO Bob Pearlman on his right and Charlie Rizzo on his left) is a man named Peter DiCapua. 

To my understanding Peter does not have a major connection to diabetes, well he didn’t when he started working on this event years ago.  He does now because of Charlie and the so many more honorees over  the years, and so many more like me; who could never thank him enough for what he does for our loved ones….and for yours.  For those of us who have diabetes in our family, we have to do what we do.  But for someone who does it on the basis of just wanting to make a difference; well that’s pretty special isn’t it?

Peter is an extreme savvy and sharp businessman.  He is an incredible organizer and hugely influential powerhouse for this event.  I was astounded on how many past honorees of this event were in the room last night and have stayed involved because it is important enough.  Peter makes that point clear at every turn. 

One does not merely attend this event, this event becomes part of all who attend.  Peter, just like Charlie Rizzo, will be the first one to deflect any recognition off him to the over 50 others who help organize this event.  But all will agree that it is Peter’s leadership and the way he organizes this event that makes them return each and every year.

Diabetes just will not do.

Peter’s work is all year.  He works on getting the honorees, having them tour the DRI because it is important they truly know what it is they are supporting, and he makes sure the details are ………well……all detailed.

Peter does not have to do this.  Knowing Peter, I am sure he helps others as well.   I’m also sure he has nine million other things that he could be doing also and yet, he has decided that we will one day cure diabetes and he wants to be part.  Not necessarily for himself but for you, for me, and for the millions who wait for themselves or for their kids.

Over 30 million dollars later Peter is still at it.  He doesn’t have  to, but he does.  Aren’t we lucky?  If that doesn’t humble you, nothing will.  Remember that there are others like him in our lives who help us in our journey that do it for the only reason to help.  Need to find holiday spirit, think of those people.

The 12-12-12 concert certainly had their stars, a few blocks away the diabetes community had one of their own………his name is Peter DiCapua; thank you Peter.

I am a diabetesdad.

 

Yes Virginia, There Will be a Cure! A Take on a Classic Tale for a Diabetes Cure.

In answer to all of the postings I have recently seen from children asking Santa for a cure, today, with apologies to The New York Sun, I dust off an old article I did for dLife and respond to a letter from a young lady who asked a simple question during this holiday season. Her name is Virginia and she asks simply, “Is there a cure for diabetes?” 

Dear Diabetes Dad,

I am eight years old and I have type 1 diabetes.
Some of my little friends, and others, say there is no such thing as a cure.
Papa says if you see it in an article from Diabetes Dad, it’s true.
Please tell me the truth, will there be a cure for diabetes?
Your friend,
Virginia 

Dear Virginia,

Virginia, your little friends — and others — are wrong. 

They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical day. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there will be a cure for diabetes. It exists as certain as the results from love, and generosity, and devotion exists, and you know that these results abound and give you the highest hope and joy. Alas, how dreary would be the world if there were no hope for a cure. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no childlike faith then, no wishes, no challenges of those searching for a cure, no hope to make living with diabetes tolerable. The light at the end of the tunnel, for which children and their parents constantly seek for the world, would be extinguished. 

Not believe in a cure? You might as well not believe in science. You might get your papa to hire men to watch every bit of science all over the world. And even if they did not see the cure actually coming, what would that prove? Nobody can be everywhere all the time to see a cure coming. Just because it isn’t here today, does not mean it isn’t coming. The most real things in the world are those neither children or men (or women) can see right before them at the time they ask for it. Did they know that a polio vaccine would work? Did they think a heart could be transplanted? These were things that people never saw coming and now they are commonplace. Nobody can conceive all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. 

You may tear away the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world, which not the strongest men, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, dedicated work of science, and collaboration can push aside that curtain and view and picture the glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, there is nothing else as real and abiding. 

No cure? Thank God the hope lives and will live forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten thousand years from now, people will look back at this time of hope in the heart of a child. A child named Virginia, who always believed there would be a cure. May we all have the heart of Virginia and may all who seek the cure know the importance of the work they do to help all the Virginias of this world. 

Yes, Virginia, there will be a cure

Happy holidays to all and to all, a good night.

Your friend,
Diabetes Dad

A Brother’s Christmas Wish for his Sister…..and an Answer that will Touch Your Heart.

I share this with you in the spirit of the Holiday Season.  It is just an incredible Holiday wish that came to me via a mom.

Thirteen-year-old Jeremy asked his mother if he could talk to Dr. Ricordi in private. 

Dr. Ricordi of The Diabetes Research Institute, as so many know, is one of the leading scientists in the world regarding diabetes.  He has created a world of collaboration second to none and it is his drive, talent, and collaborative spirit, along with the same from all of his colleagues, that has given parents hope that some day there will be a cure for diabetes.  This mom, and her family toured the institute and met many of the scientists. It was these up close and  meeting with individuals at the DRI that gave young Jeremy the impression that he could speak to Dr. Ricordi about something very personal.

Jeremy’s mom, Betty, was of course curious, and asked her son why he needed to speak to Dr. Ricordi about something personal??   Her son Jeremy, who does not have diabetes, wanted to see if he was a match for his sister Shelby.  Turns out that he thought he might be able to donate his pancreas to his sister for Christmas so she would not have diabetes anymore!

The young man with a heart of gold was informed by his mother that even if such a thing was a feasible ask; it would mean that he would then have diabetes.

His answer was enough to shake a mountain.

“I don’t care”, he said. “I just don’t want HER to have it anymore.”

The mother and son cried and hugged when he found out it
couldn’t be done.

The mother closed her note to me stating, “Maybe…..someday….typing through tears here. :(.  Hugs to you and the family.”

When I received that message I felt obligated to share with my colleagues at the DRI.  In a very, very short time later, I received the following from one of the greatest minds on this planet in the diabetes research arena.  He was answering the mom personally.

Dear Betty,
Tom shared your message with me and I will be of course delighted to speak with your wonderful son Jeremy and explain to him how we will find a cure for Shelby without having to use his precious pancreas …
All the best, Camillo 
(He then gave her some dates he was available to speak)

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

I am a Diabetesdad

T.G.I.F. (Thanking Great Individuals Forever) Who Created THAT Walk?????

It was originally called the Walk for the Cure until a cancer fundraising organization sent a letter to change the name.   To the Foundation’s credit they thought changing the name was a better move than using donation money to fight the request resulting in what is now called the Walk to Cure Diabetes (a blessing in disguise). 

In the early 90’s a group of chapters were gathered in a room and told that they would be the members of a new national program that could very well define the future of the organization known (at that time) as JDF (now JDRF). 

It was the most exciting, incredible, costly, time-consuming, exhilarating, program one could ever imagine.  There really was only one hugely successful ‘walkathon’ at that time and that was the March of Dimes.  Other organization did walks but nothing could come close to the March of Dimes. 

We huddled in meetings and discuss the challenges like, “we can never compete with the ADA (American Diabetes Association), as no one even knows who the JDF even is, who would come to a JDF Walk?”  Yes, there was such a time.

We were assured that if we “did the program” to the letter, it would work.  Over time the income would even out the costs. It did.  It did not matter how many other different organizational walks there were out there, success was predicated upon ‘doing the program’ and doing the program ‘to the letter’. 

In future years, where there were no chapters, walk managers were put in place.   Walk Managers would become Chapter Directors.  The program was not only successful, it is probably the singe-most-reason JDRF ended up on the map as strong as it did spreading across the country in a grass-roots effort like no other before or since.  The family teams became as strong as the corporate teams, WHICH HAD NEVER HAPPENED IN A WALK OF THIS MAGNITUDE, EVER! 

The army of volunteers was enormous, JDF would never look back. 

This year it is expected that 900,000 people will walk at over 150 different walk sites and will add to the over 1 billion dollars raised thus far as cited here.

What people do not understand today is how hard it was in the beginning to accomplish the task at hand. I know because I was there as one of those original Chapter Directors in the early nineties.

The results were incredible and it grew the organization and allowed for funding to organizations actually doing the research like the cure focused Diabetes Research Institute, The Edmonton Protocol, and many, many more.

JDRF would grow that grass-roots army of volunteers into government relations, bike rides and letter writing campaigns.  More families meant bigger golf tournaments and black tie galas.  More involvement meant more money for research. 

All of this, although surely helped by incredible volunteers, was under one man’s genius.  He told me once that the real test of success is that the program is bigger than any one person and will continue long after any one person is involved.  He was right,

He is no longer with the JDRF but he has moved on to create walks for Autism and Lupus and many other organizations as well.  He is a firm believer that numbers do not lie and that success is only moving forward.  SO as you tie your sneaker this year to walk, wherever you are walking, know this: you are doing so because of the single-minded genius who came from the March of Dimes to teach an organization how to Walk to Cure Diabetes.

He is Philadelphia’s own, Steve Leonard.  The walk guru.

 

And he is Diabetesdad’s T.G.I.F. Take a bow Steve.