Last week, I attended a dinner. Well not ‘just any dinner’ but the annual Empire Ball in New York City benefitting the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI). Over a thousand people attended. Chris Wragge, Super-Anchor from CBS was there, Football great, Boomer Esiason was there (and gave a heartfelt speech comparing the success for his son’s battle with CF, and the promise of great things ahead from the DRI), and business people from all over the area.
This annul event (30 years and running) raised over 1.2 million dollar (over 32 million dollars to date). There were heartfelt speeches from so many; letters from the Governor and Mayor of New York; but these highlights are not what I found to be the most fascinating aspect of this dinner, although hugely appreciative.
Dinners are dinners. Every charity organizes black-tie dinners. At those affairs, there are scores of volunteers involved; most of them have a family member with diabetes. Many of those wonderful volunteers are parents of children with diabetes. What I do, and what others do; well we have to do what we do, don’t we? It’s for our kids.
If we want to move the dial in the diabetes world of our children, we need to be active in diabetes causes. This is about our children. As I stated, I HAVE TO do what I do—it is my personal connection, with two children living with the disease every day, that drives me forward with every ounce of energy I have.
With the exception of a small handful, these attendees did not have a direct connection to diabetes. Few knew the lives we lead; few new our ‘new normal’ since diabetes moved into our homes. Very few. Why would they attend?
Over a thousand people in attendance and I asked a few people why they were involved, why they came.
Jim, “My kids have no challenges in life; when I heard about the success of the DRI, I wanted other children to no longer have challenges either. I firmly believe they will get the job done.”
Michele, “Many kids live with type 1, that is unacceptable.”
Joe, “We, as a company always try to give back. We came because this group is passionate about ending diabetes……that is infectious. The DRI work is so worthy.”
You see, these people had no diabetes connection (for the most part). These people do not have to do this? They all, I’m sure, have their own charity worthy of support. But on this night, at this event, they are here for you, your children, and mine as well. They want to “Unlock the Cure”, as the event’s tagline states. When you look into their eyes, as I did, you would be convinced that they are driven to that end.
Many of these companies were part of rebuilding New York City after 911, one brick at a time; and they are not active in anything ‘just to be active’. They are active because they believe they can finish the job, it’s how they run a business. They do not start, or take part in anything, unless they firmly believe that the job will be completed.
As I pulled out of the Midtown Tunnel heading home for the evening, I wiped the tears that were streaming down my cheeks. The thought that, on a clear day, you can look out from atop a skyscraper in New York City and see forever. And many of those responsible for many of those buildings, and their management, and their upkeep, and their legal matters, and their financial matters were in one room, on one night, for one reason.
To help create a clear day for Dr. Ricordi and his team to see forever; to the end of diabetes with a cure. As I have heard my dear friends Charlie Rizzo (a D-Dad) and Peter DiCapua say many times; “….we’ll get there. That’s a promise.”
A big THANK YOU and God Bless to all of those responsible for creating magic on this night. For me, that’s a promise worth building upon; one brick at a time.
I am a diabetes dad.
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