Well………tonight I experienced something that I wish so many could have witnessed; but more than that I wish everyone in the diabetes community could have witnessed. Education for T1 diabetes. Education for T2 Diabetes. Entertainment. Exciting. Fun. Caring. This event had it all…….the only phrase, BEST phrase…….is AWE.
Tonight was DiaBEATthis at West Broward High School. The stands were packed. DiaBEATthis has so many facets to it but in a nutshell; it is an educational out reach that also raises funds. This event was for the DRI. When I saw the event was 3 1/2 hours long, I thought what could this be about——–I looked at the time and it was 5:20 pm—–next time I looked it was 9:03 and the event was over.
West Broward High School, in Florida, is a typical high school that could be anywhere in the United States……or so the outside shows. Once inside, honestly, you feel almost immediately that this school is different. The kids smile at you as you walk in the hall way and when a stranger is there (me), they ask if you need help finding where you need to go. They all pitch in to help. The compassion is quite clear from the get-go. This is a school that has a mission to break down barriers….EVERY barrier that high schools have to deal with; West Broward HS—-is impacting these kids and you feel it immediately.
There is a group in the School called the S.O.A.P. Club and these are very special kids as well. Over 50 of them ran this event from conception to completion. Ms. Muniz, the faculty advisor is very quick to point out that these kids do everything themselves and the kids are very quick to point out that Ms. Muniz is tireless in her efforts. They are a good team…..a GREAT team in fact. Even alumni of this club/event returned for evening.
When a young lady is sharing her story/struggles dealing with T1, she finishes her speech and breaks down in the middle of the gym floor in front of the entire crowd; what happens? She is surrounded by these special kids who spontaneously join her in a group hug–not caring who is watching—only caring……..there was not a dry eye in the house…..mine included.
It is a school that operates as one team. Where all kids set up and clean up; and it is not uncommon to even see the assistant principals sweeping the floor to help get the job done. No one is to ‘big’ to do anything in accomplishing the end goal.
There were speeches about diabetes and there were so many groups dancing, cheering, playing music…..all to educate the crowd about one thing, diabetes. Let me show just some of it to you in pictures.
Full Crowd supporting this great event.
It was also a basketball game. A competitive basketball game that had rules that included all-inclusive of kids, teachers, male, and female. Kid yourself not, these teams wanted to win and the game was as exciting as everything else was this evening and in the end, the home team were the victors—–after losing the year before, the trophy was back home. But there were no losers here…..the sportsmanship shown on and off the court was admirable, but let there be no mistake, this was a competitive game ending in a 53-48 win that changed leads throughout the entire game.
I could not control my tears driving home tonight. Not all of the kids have diabetes, but some did. These kids united a crowd tonight and presented some of the likes which I have never seen. The energy, the excitement and the love filled the air. Kudos to the leadership in this school.
I gave away a piece of my heart today. They will stay with me forever; they are West Broward High School.
I am a diabetes dad.
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