Sunday dHero….Santa’s Elves………WHAT!!!!!!

WHAT!!!!  Have I lost my mind?????   Santa’s Elves as Diabetesdad’s Sunday dHero??????

Well perhaps, but these are special elves with a special mission and they are here for your children.  They are those incredible volunteers working with Santa to send a personal letter to your child for the holidays.

Those letters will even mention how well your child os doing working with mom and dad managing their diabetes; or perhaps they are the brother or sister of someone with diabetes.   Perhaps your kids are getting something special for the holidays or are doing something fabulous in school—-whatever it is, Santa will write it personally to your child.

At the same time you will be helping to find a cure for diabetes by supporting the Diabetes Research Institute.  Dedicated to curing type one diabetes, the DRI wants to turn out the lights forever because the cure is found. 

Go to for all the details.
ONLY 14 DAYS are left.  SO get there today.
And if you do not need a Santa letter, the elves would appreciate a donation as well, what a Christmas present that will be when someday we can say there is a cure for diabetes.  Every little bit helps.

So all of you GREAT VOLUNTEERS helping Santa–you’re Diabetesdad’s Sunday dHero….take a bow.

I am a diabetesdad.





Others Do Not Go Through What We Do…..FEEL FREE to pass this on.

I saw a post on-line today that I thought I would address.   A mom wrote that she attended a Thanksgiving Day event at school and as much as the event was a lovely event she could not help but feel a bit sad as the others in the room certainly did not have a care in the world as she did having a child with diabetes.

First of all, we all certainly know that feeling.  It is a feeling that makes us wish we could have the life back we had before diabetes.   Where we were able to discuss things without thinking about the every day management in the lives of our kids. It is not fair that we have this burden and others do not, it just is not fair.  I know the mom who wrote the post and she is a great mom and she does a lot.

I learned something, the hard way, but I learned it none-the-less and I would like to share it.  It taught me a great deal about how to handle this feeling.  In a three-year time span we lost my dad, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law, our daughter was in a head-on collision while the other party was on a cell phone, saw friends lose their children to both diabetes and by other means as well, and our second child was diagnosed with diabetes.  It was much to go through.

As we were going through all of this and we were in contact with many friends and relatives, I started to notice how many of our relatives and friends also go through crap in their lives.  Some stories were absolutely horrendous.

I started to really think about the many people I have come across in my life and here is what I have concluded.  I do not mean to sound rhetoric but the truth of the matter is life is just that…  Our diabetes is someone else’s cancer or someone elses bad marriage or someone else’s dealing with a child with a mental illness, another disease, or car accident that changed their lives forever.  Not better or worse….just life.

What I have actually concluded is that almost everyone in this world has been given something that is extremely unfair.  We see others who ‘seem’ like they are okay because we do not see them grabbing a diabetes bag, or checking their child’s blood sugar or running for an orange juice……..but know this……..almost everyone is dealing with something that impacts their life greatly.

Now I know this thought does not make our thoughts go away but also know this; our children do incredible things and they do it with diabetes……..but so do we as parents.  Many times when I give a lecture people ask me if I am really that positive?  And I answer yes, I truly am.  My daughter and my son grab every bit of gusto out of life.  Could something happen to them that could derail their very lives?  You bet and I know that completely.

But more than that, Kaitlyn knows it and so does Rob.  But we all also know that their lives are as full as they can be and they do it with diabetes.  I saw a lecture recently by my good friend Jeff Hitchcock where he showed a graph that people with diabetes are now living their life span to the same as people without diabetes.  Read that sentence again.  Grasp it.  Understand it. 

Now some parents have lost their children to diabetes and it is that point that throws cold water on the entire thought process.  Life has been particularly cruel to them as life has been  to anyone who has lost a child.  I know so many families that have had this happen but interesting enough not one of them was living a defeatist attitude toward diabetes in their lives before they lost their child.

They lived their lives fully and ‘BAM’ the pain becomes something I have never experienced nor would even think of stating I understand.  One can not just ‘go on’ after that point but life does just that, goes on.  The pain will never go away.  But each of these families will tell you that their lives with diabetes did not define their child when they were alive and they are doing everything in their power to make sure diabetes will not define them in death either.  Their courage astounds me to this day.  No less painful but they go forward shattered heart and all.  They teach us to do the same.

When I was at the UK I gave a quote that I just love and it is from Sir Winston Churchill who stated, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”  Isn’t that great?  When you start to feel down look at everything your children do WITH diabetes, start teaching yourself to celebrate that aspect of their lives.  They do not live with DIABETES, they LIVE with diabetes. 

I feel I owe it to those I know, who lost a child to this disease, to never allow myself or my kids  to get down.  We cannot do anything about diabetes coming into our lives but we most certainly can do something once it takes up residence.  We choose to ‘kick-its-ass every day.  Diabetes cannot win.

We all have good days and bad days and when the days are bad ones…..look at all that you and your child have done together…..I mean REALLY LOOK AT IT.  Know this, others do not indeed go through what we do, but many if they could, would choose to go through what we go through than what they have BEEN through,.  Diabetes cannot win in our lives…….we owe that to others who cannot say the same.

I am a diabetesdad.

T.G.I.F. (Thanking Great Individuals Forever) Who Created THAT Walk?????

It was originally called the Walk for the Cure until a cancer fundraising organization sent a letter to change the name.   To the Foundation’s credit they thought changing the name was a better move than using donation money to fight the request resulting in what is now called the Walk to Cure Diabetes (a blessing in disguise). 

In the early 90’s a group of chapters were gathered in a room and told that they would be the members of a new national program that could very well define the future of the organization known (at that time) as JDF (now JDRF). 

It was the most exciting, incredible, costly, time-consuming, exhilarating, program one could ever imagine.  There really was only one hugely successful ‘walkathon’ at that time and that was the March of Dimes.  Other organization did walks but nothing could come close to the March of Dimes. 

We huddled in meetings and discuss the challenges like, “we can never compete with the ADA (American Diabetes Association), as no one even knows who the JDF even is, who would come to a JDF Walk?”  Yes, there was such a time.

We were assured that if we “did the program” to the letter, it would work.  Over time the income would even out the costs. It did.  It did not matter how many other different organizational walks there were out there, success was predicated upon ‘doing the program’ and doing the program ‘to the letter’. 

In future years, where there were no chapters, walk managers were put in place.   Walk Managers would become Chapter Directors.  The program was not only successful, it is probably the singe-most-reason JDRF ended up on the map as strong as it did spreading across the country in a grass-roots effort like no other before or since.  The family teams became as strong as the corporate teams, WHICH HAD NEVER HAPPENED IN A WALK OF THIS MAGNITUDE, EVER! 

The army of volunteers was enormous, JDF would never look back. 

This year it is expected that 900,000 people will walk at over 150 different walk sites and will add to the over 1 billion dollars raised thus far as cited here.

What people do not understand today is how hard it was in the beginning to accomplish the task at hand. I know because I was there as one of those original Chapter Directors in the early nineties.

The results were incredible and it grew the organization and allowed for funding to organizations actually doing the research like the cure focused Diabetes Research Institute, The Edmonton Protocol, and many, many more.

JDRF would grow that grass-roots army of volunteers into government relations, bike rides and letter writing campaigns.  More families meant bigger golf tournaments and black tie galas.  More involvement meant more money for research. 

All of this, although surely helped by incredible volunteers, was under one man’s genius.  He told me once that the real test of success is that the program is bigger than any one person and will continue long after any one person is involved.  He was right,

He is no longer with the JDRF but he has moved on to create walks for Autism and Lupus and many other organizations as well.  He is a firm believer that numbers do not lie and that success is only moving forward.  SO as you tie your sneaker this year to walk, wherever you are walking, know this: you are doing so because of the single-minded genius who came from the March of Dimes to teach an organization how to Walk to Cure Diabetes.

He is Philadelphia’s own, Steve Leonard.  The walk guru.


And he is Diabetesdad’s T.G.I.F. Take a bow Steve.