Her name is Debbie, and she volunteers her time. When I asked her what her favorite way to volunteer, she answered simply, “I sing.”
But Debbie’s way of singing is a dream for most others you see, Debbie sings with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (MTC). At any given time, they pull into town after taking up three airplanes, 11 buses, and 200 rooms to house the singers and musicians—-all volunteer—-mega-known singing group. Their precision and talent is known world-wide; they are, in essence, the best at what they do. They work, rehearse and perform.
Sometimes the music is ‘still wet’; meaning the sheet music they receive is barely dry when they start their rehearsals. Of everything the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (MTC) is known to be, Debbie shares that her favorite is the way they uplift people. She has shared the stage with so many celebrities and this year, their holiday concert on public TV, will be no less as spectacular as the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be joined by the Muppets.
Debbie’s eyes twinkle when she shares, “Oh they were just wonderful. Very professional. And their mission, like ours, is to lift spirits as well”. Thus was my flight this morning at 5:00 am after getting home late from a black tie event in New York City…….but not just any black tie event, one that lifts spirits as Debbie shared of her beloved, Mormon Tabernacle Choir. By doing something extremely positive and uplifting.
When almost 800 people are in the room together, you can bet your life that there was ‘much rehearsal’ in making sure everything went without a hitch. The Unlock the Cure Empire Ball was about to begin. It can be pretty noisy when you get this many people in the same room at the same time. But just as the conductor begins the 360 voices of the MTC, and the room silences; so too did this event come to a complete hush as one of the honorees, Carl Kuehner III spoke of his nephew, Matthew.
Matthew is a wonderful young boy who has had diabetes for some time, even at his young age. He does not like it when he leaves a room and comes back in and people stare at him as if he is different, knowing he was out checking a blood sugar or dosing insulin. His uncle shares how, once, there was a fire drill at school. After all of the students exited the building Matthew began to panic and ran back into the building after exiting, knowing that he had left his diabetes supplies in the building, “No child should have to live that way”, Carl shares.
He’s right, no one should have to live that way.
The tears in the room showed that many agreed. When it’s safe and common to say, “I don’t believe in a cure, why bother?”, those involved in orchestrating this incredible evening believe completely otherwise and quite frankly, we should all take note.
You see Peter DiCapua, the Chairman of the event and this year’s Life Time Achievement Award Recipient (it will bear his name moving forward) does not have a direct family connection to diabetes. Yet for over thirty years he has been involved with this event in a leadership position because he has seen the devastation of diabetes through his many friends who DO LIVE with this disease. We, who do have loved ones, should follow Peter’s lead; WE OWE our children nothing less.
Peter takes the numerous honorees down to the DRI each year to tour it, to listen, to ask questions, and to believe; as he does. Peter has an incredible business mind and all those participating in the New York City-largest-of-its-kind Real Estate Black-Tie event which has been around over 30 year and has raised over 35 million dollars, well…..they take this VERY seriously. They search all over to make sure they are involved in one of the best places to invest their money to find a cure.
As my dear friend Charlie Rizzo ( a founder of this event) taught me a long time ago, I have to do what I do, it’s for my children. Others do not HAVE TO be involved at all, but they choose to. I also am biased toward the DRI; I have never said otherwise. I have searched long and hard also and would leave in a New York minute if I thought some-place else was worth the incredible effort of so many.
So many surely smarter than I, and surely able to donate where they choose, and yet, after their search, they support the work of the DRI. As Bill Sotomayor, another honoree stated to the captive audience, “I sat where you sat for years, and when I saw this magnificent place and witnessed the passion of those at the DRI; there is no other words but…….life changing.”
A magnificent event.
It’s important that WE ALL FIND a place we believe in. Us here. You perhaps somewhere else, and it’s ALL GOOD. Just Don’t DO Nothing…..right? And a reminder from people who do not live our diabetes world day-in-and-day-out like we do. A group who chose TO DO something. A night to humble any man, and surely this writer was one of them. A group who want to support a cure for your child and mine. As Peter closed his comments he stated, “The only thing that would make me happier, is the day that what we seek is found, and we unlock that cure.”
And THAT attitude, my dear friends, will always be music to our ears.
I am a diabetes dad.
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