I heard this statement from a person at the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference in Orlando Florida this week.
“I refuse to let diabetes dictate what I do”.
I like that saying and I like it a lot. It sort of summed up what thousands of people heard this week at this, the 18th Friends for Life Conference, sponsored by the Children with Diabetes.
When we first became active in diabetes causes after Kaitlyn’s diagnosis, I became the Executive Director of the JDF (now JDRF) Long Island Chapter. At that time we were one of the handful of chapters chosen nationally to serve as an experiment for a new idea called a walkathon (that for years, was really only run by the March of Dimes) to help increase visibility AND revenue. The JDF was doing walks before, but they were about to catapult to a whole new level of success.
When I became the Executive Director, the chapter was reeling from the death of a young man named Angelo Centano. Apparently Angelo had many complications but he also had this incredible spirit, an incredible sense of humor, an incredible disposition, and an uncanny way to get things done despite his many physical limitations. One day I found a note in my desk and it had a quote on it from Angelo. It was a simple note, but a powerful note nonetheless:
Quitters Never Win, Winners Never Quit.
I’ll never forgot it.
There are many people who lost their battle against diabetes, many. You have read about them and so have I, knew quite a few also. Every single person, no matter their age, that I know who we lost to diabetes was ALSO living life to their fullest when they were taken. They were not comfortable to just live life in a bubble or on eggshells, THEY LIVED! I have also felt that the people who choose to believe that they can do ANYTHING with this disease do so and pay homage at the same time, in a way, to those who are no longer with us.
No matter what life throws at us (and make no mistake, we all have something), we cannot avoid how it hits us but WE CERTAINLY can get out there and make sure that we are not stopped…..and we shouldn’t be stopped, ever. The only thing surpassing all of the incredible knowledge given this week at CWD, all of the wonderfully talented people who did the teaching this week, and all of the great times; is THAT sense of empowerment that even with this disease…….limitation is truly ONLY limited by your imagination. It’s given to everyone…………………….by everyone.
Today many people said goodbye when they left Coronado Springs to the many, many new friends they all met, and the old friends they have known at this most incredible conference. They inspire each other to do better. The push each other to the limit to succeed. They have instilled in each other the absolute belief that quitters never win and winners never quit………what are you doing to get back in the game?
I am a diabetes dad.
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