I had been active on the CWD chatrooms for a while. It was a great way to obtain information. During that time, back when, chats were more like a thread of sentences than anything else. One person would write something and someone else would add to it, and the conversation would grow.
It was sort of cool. People we did not know, trying to help others. Even back when, some conversations were animated and passionate.
There was a woman, her name was Laura. She had a son with diabetes named Sam. I can almost still remember her post about heading down to Florida and asking if anyone wanted to meet her there.
Well be careful what you ask for because people started to say yes. Not 15 or 20 people; not 100 or 200 people; but 500 people said they would meet her in Florida. It was the beginning of a turning point in our lives.
Someone had taken an online group of people, who only knew each other through the internet, and was about to make them Friends for Life. And many of us are. We are a family.
Now when I say family, I mean just that….a family. I do not mean just some sugar-coated (pun intended) sweet la-dee-daa type family……..I mean a real family. We are there for each other. We, enjoy each other, laugh together, we party together, we mourn together, we cry together and you know what, from time to time we even piss each other off. But we come back to each other. You see in a family, when you love each other, you really cannot distance yourself because you are just that, a family.
Within that family are thousands of people. Literally. It is also the greatest resource we could ever know or have at our disposal. Knowledge is power; and at our fingertips is a keg of dynamite worth of knowledge. We are all so fortunate.
Many people have no idea of both the amount of time Laura Billetdeaux and Jeff Hitchcock spend making this work and the amount of personal sacrifice given over the years to keep CWD up and running.
Things do not ‘just happen’. Things do not ‘just get done’.
I think of all of this as I get ready to once again head to have my diabetes-supply-batteries charged up and ready to face this ugly monster called diabetes for another year. Laura started Friends for Life and it was a step no one else took. She did. She communicates with every single one of those who register to come to the conference–numbering well north of 3000. She started it for her son Sam, she continues it for you.
At some point, when CWD first started, Jeff Hitchcock said; “This needs to get done.” He took the first step and started. Jeff loves science and research. He loves when the science backs the lecturer. He loves when he looks and sees the amount of people thirsty for, and given, knowledge.
He did it all for one young lady. The one young lady who made him cry when she took her first shot by herself at camp. The one young lady who he walked down the aisle and gave to Adam. And that new love will give Jeff and Brenda a new title; Grandparents; this year.
And behind all of this are Neal (Laura’s husband) and Brenda (Jeff’s wife) who are just as much of the reason that CWD FFL has grown as anything or anyone else.
Doing something you love makes it all worth while.
So I get ready to go to Florida once again. The place baseball teams go every winter to begin to get ready for the year ahead. I go to get ready to face the year ahead in the world of diabetes. With my Friends for LIfe…………I get to play baseball.
I am a diabetes dad
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