A Mom Loses a Son…….”23″ a Number that Means Much On This Day.

Jesse was here  MichelleSix years ago today was a normal day for just about everyone else in this world, with the exception of Jesse’s family.  Jesse passed away six years ago today.  If you ride in rides and/or if you are active in the diabetes community, chances are you know that there is a meaning behind “2/3” or shortened to just “23”.  The 23rd mile, in memory; stop at 23, 23 has become a number to make us all reflect.  To remember……and move on knowing we can foster change.  February 3rd has come to mean something in our world….but none of us wanted it, least of all Jesse’s mom, Michelle.

Michelle will find a corner at some point today and reflect in a way she needs to, what Michelle will NOT be doing today, is sitting home by herself.  When she lost her precious Jesse on that fateful day Michelle made a decision, she would make sure he would be remembered in all of the efforts in which she would continue.  She does that……for my kids, for yours, and for you; if you live with this disease every day.

Continue indeed.

Michelle is a friend.   In her shoes, I’m not so sure I could do what she does.  She has always been involved in the diabetes world but after Jesse passed, she became a powerhouse.  Almost as if a higher power reached into her life and said others need to know about what is important……if not a higher power, an angel perhaps……..indeed.

Whether it’s Riding on Insulin, educating through lectures, meeting elected representatives, riding to raise money for a cure, supporting those who have gone through what she went through—–Michelle is tireless in her efforts.  She has not stopped in her drive to make sure what happened to Jesse, does not happen to others.  She is ‘out there’ doing, when most others would close off their life……and no one would blame them.

So on this day I remember Jesse.  But when I sleep tonight and I say my prayers I will also thank God for my dear friend Michelle.    She is a lightening rod, she is a powerhouse, she is driven, and above all else……..she is a mom.  A mom suffering the greatest of heartbreak and yet gives of her self unceasingly…..for others.  Because that is what moms do.

I am a DiabetesDad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Diabetes Jeopardy Answer #8 for D-Awareness Month…..She Redefined #23…for Her Son.

Michelle Alswager…..who is Michelle Alswager

One of the most incredible women I know in this diabetes battle is Michelle.  We, who complain, about what we go through daily are humbled by Michelle’s efforts because Michelle’s son lost his battle with diabetes.  Michelle is stead-fast in her belief that Jesse’s memory is worth her continuing the fight and she is one of the fiercest people I know when it comes to battling diabetes.   number 23 (Jesse passed on February-2-third-3) will never mean the same for any of us who may have touched any part of this magnificent woman’s life. 

Her bio on dLife reads:
Michelle has been a strong advocate in the “d” world since her son, Jesse, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000. After the sudden loss of her son, 10 years later she continues to advocate, educate, and push the envelope in her son’s name. Michelle is the founder and executive producer of the documentary The Science of Inspiration: Diabetes and Athletes – otherwise known as “Triabetes” — about 12 athletes with diabetes completing an Ironman triathlon. Her diabetes credits include working as a moderator on the JDRF Online Diabetes Support Team, as an executive director for two diabetes organizations, as the creator of a type 1 snowboard camp for kids with Sean Busby, and she participates each year in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes, ADA Tour de Cure and Hope on 2 Wheels. She is known for “shaking things up” in the world of advocacy and hopes to talk about some tough topics in “That’s My Point.” Michelle resides in Madison, Wisconsin with her children Samantha and Joey. She is currently the development director for Riding on Insulin.

How she continues is beyond anyone’s comprehension, but she does……. every day.

For Diabetes Awareness Month:
This month, I will be highlighting someone in the diabetes community.  They may be people you know, or might not know, but they give of themselves to make this world, our world, with diabetes a special place.   I will not get to everyone this month, but it is my hope that perhaps you can be introduced to some of those you may not know.

I’m certainly not the definitive on who should be included….you are.  If you think I should include someone, shoot me an email at tkarlya@drif.org and I will do what I can to include that person as well.  Welcome to diabetes awareness month.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

T.G.I.F. (Thanking Great Individuals Forever) ……Mile 23…Something Many Will Never Know

Today my Thanking Great Individuals Forever (T.G.I.F.) is being given to the efforts of a group of people albeit began by one.

I originally was going to give this to a woman who made a new meaning of the words ‘MILE 23’, but I know she would say, “…… give it in memory to my son.”  More on that in a minute.

You see, Mile 23 is a mile run in silent during any of the incredible bike rides you see happening around the country.  From Death Valley to the NYC-Washington trip, these fabulous bikers raise an enormous amount of money to help diabetes causes; but yet it is Mile 23 that grabs our attention when at each given ride, this mile is done in complete silence.  Just the chains rattling and the wheels spinning in absolute chilling harmony of tribute by groups of two wheelers.

This MILE 23 is a memory mile.  A memory mile  started in honor of the memory of an incredible young man named Jesse.   Jesse passed away due to diabetes on February 3rd, 2010.  His mom, Michelle, has made it a point to make sure that what happened to her family does not happen again.  But it has.  And now “that mile 23 for Jesse” is done for all who have lost this bitter battle of diabetes.

And to those who have had it happen, they have reached out to Michelle and Michelle has been there for them.  She knows.  And unless you have gone through it yourself, you would never understand.  I do not understand; nor would I even begin to relay that I do, I don’t…..truthfully…..may I never.

But Michelle has spent almost 3 years re-telling her story and re-motivating others to know that we all cannot stop and should not stop until a cure is found. So at every ride, Mile 23 is reserved for reflection of those who lost the battle but more so; to remind the rest of us the importance of doing what we can.   

Every time I see the number 23, it reminds me of everything Michelle, The Nicholsons and so many others are yelling to us by their utter Mile 23 silence; “……do not stop.  If  we are not stopping–you have no right to stop.”    And they would be 1000% correct, we have no right to stop.  Don’t do nothing.

Michelle stated that she received a two page letter Jesse wrote from one of his teachers.  She received it from teacher after he passed away.  In the letter he said how proud he was of his mom for everything she did in his life.   Because of this letter she states, “….I know he’ll be there, and he’s proud of me.”

Think about that for a moment, please.

He was proud of Michelle, his mom. 

To the so many that redefined the meaning of a simple mile marker–number 23, especially Michelle Page Alswager, we are proud of her too, Jesse.  Thank you for lending your mom to the diabetes community.  A labor-of-immeasurable-love that will make sure your voice and memory are never, ever, silenced……as long as we all see a Mile 23.

I am a diabetsdad.