Do………What You Think Cannot Be Done.

Mt EverestIn my many years as an actor, I have learned to observe.  To take a step back and notice a nuance, a glance, a touch.  People are such fascinating observations in their physical-being, and the human spirit is even more incredible to watch.

I was reading about a friend of mine who hiked over 100 miles recently.  Chip is 57, obviously in good shape, but to take off on that type of journey is inspiring.  He stated that he did not get as far as he wanted, and I am thinking, if 100 miles was not enough, how far did you really want to go?  You could feel in Chip’s words the pride he had in accomplishing something that he did not know he could do.  It was an amazing feat.

We hear of the incredible stories of Sebastien Sasseville who talks about running the equivalent of 180 marathons in 90 days straight across Canada by initializing his speech about arriving on the Summit of Mt. Everest, all hard enough but doing it while managing type 1 diabetes….incredible….right? (FYI the picture included today is Sebastien on Mt. Everest)

And how about all of those people who ride bikes over hundreds of miles for a cause; or attempt incredible human endurance events like my friend Sandy.  Or my friend Sean who rides a snowboard in incredible feats of strength while managing T1 diabetes, and now doing it with lupus as well.

Many of these people are no different from you and I.   Well, wait—Sebastien or Sean? No they are a different story but the others, the same as you and me.  But they all just decided to do something to test their strength, and it was more the strength of their mind than their bodies.  You can ‘get’ your body into shape; it’s your mind that makes the call to begin.

Whatever your ‘Mt. Everest is in your life’, you scale that mountain by beginning.  I have come to know amazing people, people who have gone back to school in their 50s/60s, people who have re-started their life, people who began SOMETHING by saying the simple phrase, “I want to do this, I can do this.”

And make no mistake about it, letting your child with T1D go to their first sleep over can be just as big a hurdle as climbing Mt. Everest.  Fear is fear is fear.  But whatever it is, YOU are bigger than that fear.  Take fear, change it to respect, and give your fear the respect it needs and you can move forward.  We can deal with respect more than we can deal with fear.   One step.  One step.  One step.

So let your child with T1D join the cross-country track team this year…….it feels good when you conquer something and look down from the summit……….try it.

I am a diabetes dad.
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A Questions is Asked…..Diabetes Needs More? Do We? Your Thoughts Please.

we need moreOn FB yesterday I read the following question from a parent:

I am tired that everywhere I go there is a support this or support that except for our t1d children and families does anybody feel the same? In the world where we find products all turning pink or a telethon or paper Shamrocks being sold or even a hot air balloon paper cut-out being sold at registers; the question is a good one.  Do we need more?Being with the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation (DRIF), I often marvel at the outreach capabilities of our colleagues at the ADA and JDRF.  I hear people say to us all the time, “who are you guys?”  “What’s the difference between you and the JDRF; or you and  ADA?”  “We love that you guys are totally focused on a cure and know you are known for collaborating but what is the relationship with the DRIF and other organizations?”  

And there are other diabetes organizations as well that all are constantly looking for assistance and I imagine asked the same questions as we, at the DRIF.  scholarships to those with diabetes, camps, foundations, diabetes centers, offering supplies, other research arenas……….if they all came together under one umbrella I assure you that the world would definitely know who that entity was, but there is not just one entity dealing with diabetes.

Nor should there be.In as much as I’m the first one who states that we all need to continue to strive and find ways to work together; but thinking for one second that all diabetes organizations should work as one is a naive thought at best.  Work together, when needed?….yes; work as one?…no. If you Google ‘diabetes non profit organizations’ you will see 3,130,000 ‘finds’.  That is a lot.Diabetes is a very complex disease with many different aspects; and so are there many areas of diabetes in the nonprofit arena needing support.  Volunteer and financial support of the many different aspects is very important.  People feel it’s important to support the partnering with private companies for better management tools (JDRF), people feel it is important to fund education in schools (ADA), and advocacy in legislative branches (ADA, JDRF), funding for scholarships (Diabetes Scholars Foundation) Funding for Camps (Diabetes Education Camping Association), research for a cure (Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, JDRF, and some by ADA), support of athlete initiatives (Chris Dudley Foundation,, Iron Andy Foundation and many more), not even to mention the many organizations that help people aboard (Diabetes Hands Foundation, International Diabetes Federation, Insulin for Life, and LIONS International  to name but a few) and even on the local level there are thousands more non profits helping locally with diabetes assistance.

All of these organizations (and there are many, many more) do great things helping the many aspects of ‘the diabetes world’.  However, there is not a one-singular-all-encompassing diabetes organization.  And it is probably for that reason that one item, like a shamrock does not represent all of the different diabetes interests.

Now it may also mean that same events occur on the same date around the country; it may mean two health fairs occur simultaneously, and you may sometimes feel ‘pulled’ to make decisions on where you spend your time, your energy, and your money.  But you have choices, and the choices are yours.  Go one year to this event, next year to another.  Don’t get frustrated with what is or is not happening or is on conflicting dates; make a choice and run with it.  You will always have another choice to help where YOU WANT to help, when you want to help.

Here is the trade-off.  In as much as there is not just one universal diabetes organization, you have many choices on where you spend your energy.  What is important to you?  I have stated many times to not get involved in one organization OR another; but rather get involved in one organization AND another (and maybe AND another).

So to the woman who asked the original question, and I thank her for asking, I answer this way: we have so many choices out there to help those with diabetes; if there are almost 26 million people with diabetes in this world; and if each person along with two loved ones impacted by diabetes did just one thing to help, over 78 million people would be doing something right now to help in the ‘diabetes movement’.  And further, if each of those people gave (or raised) just 100 dollars annually; it would be more than enough to accomplish every single goal out there.
SO my questions is not; how do we achieve one diabetes organization?; but how do we get more people to help because more do not help; than do.  And THAT IS something we can all do something about, and we can start right now by asking the person in the mirror.  Just ‘don’t do nothing’.

I am a diabetes dad. 

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