A Big Corporate Giant………Made up of People; Just Like You and Me.

BillboardAt the end of the day, it’s about people.

On many occassions I hear and/or read about this company or that company and the ‘big bad’ machine that operates in the daily business pages.  I want to share something  today about a big company made up of……..well………people, many having a tie-in with diabetes, just like you and me.

Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, relatives, and/or friends that have been impacted by diabetes.  They work for Walgreens in South Florida.  If you have a loved one with diabetes and a cure interests you, so will this story.

This is year number three that the employees of Walgreens in South Florida, (south of Port St. Lucie to the Florida Keyes) have joined together to create the Walk with Walgreens to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).  This year their combined totals will top 1 million dollars.  For my loved ones and for yours.

This is not a DRI walk and Walgreens has a big presence; this is different than anything else out there.  This is their walk.  They organize it, they run it, they donate money to the DRI.  They make the signs.  They recruite their employees.  They encourage families with diabetes, whether part of the Walgreens family or not, to be involved.  They have 3,842 things on their plate in running their stores; yet they find the time, much of it THEIR OWN time, to make this walk a success.

Tomorrow approximatelt 8-10,000 people will be at the Sun Life Stadium in Miami and at Traditions Square in Port St. Lucie.  In addition to those who will donate money, and in addition to the many wonderful family teams that will be participating; the work and the pride of the Walgreens employees to ‘get this right’ has been remarkable.  I wish you could have attended the meetings or been on the countless calls for the last ten months and heard the dedication in the voices of all of those who have chipped in to make this walk successful.

We, as an organization, could have NEVER accomplished this feat alone.  I know walks.  I have been part of creating the biggest ones in existence for diabetes since our journey began, when Kaitlyn was diagnosed in 1992, and it is hugely labor intensive.  It’s a lot of work.  It’s A LOT OF WORK.

Tomorrow will be a fabulous day for people with diabetes.  I have purposely not mentioned names because to do so, I know I would leave someone out, someone who was as fabulous as the next person.  I do not want to do that because EVERYONE played a vital role from Walgreens, from the DRI, from families who formed teams, and from a whole list of incredible sponsors.

I need to mention one person though, he is the type of man who is the quickest on deflecting any credit to others.  His name is Roy Ripak and he sits at the top of the Walgreens Corporate ladder for all of the Walgreens Stores in South Florida.

He has a business to run.  He has a big business to run.  Yet he finds the time to tackle this monumental job.  Interesting thing about Mr. Ripak is that we are only one of many charities in the area who benefit from his nature of giving back.  He is tireless in helping others.

Yet diabetes is personal to him, as it is to many others in the Walgreens world of employees, as it is to many of us.  Diabetes does not care where you work or what you do; and it needs to be stopped.  Now cynics can chime in and say Walgreens makes boatloads of money from people with diabetes and that is a true statement. 

But I have come to know the PEOPLE at Walgreens in South Florida.  I have seen them work hard, sweat, plan, organize, and even shed tears over what diabetes is about and what this Walk with Walgreens to benefit the Diabetes Research Institute has become.  Walgreens is made up of people.  People who care about people with diabetes; you, your kids, my kids, their associates, and all those who live with diabetes.

Tomorrow, walks will take place in two corners of South Florida; Miami and Port St. Lucie.  Amazing events with fun, food, celebrities, health fairs, family teams, music, corporate teams, incredible sponsors like Neutrogena Sun Care, Listerine, Zyrtec, Pepsi, Coke, Clear Channel, Multirace, The Miami Dolphins, and so many, many more.  And of course Walgreens will be there and so will the DRI.  On this day we will all meet……..

……….at the corner of Happy and Healthy.  Thank you Walgreens.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

On the Road….Many Entities Help Us…..They Don’t ‘Have to’.

MiamiMy friend and mentor, Charlie Rizzo, once stated to me that he had to do what he does. I have written before about his tireless efforts in the world of diabetes and since his daughter was diagnosed he has never once lost that fire to find a cure.

I thought of those words today.  I am on the road, which I am a lot.  The traveling is always hard on everyone in my house.   I love what I do and the travel is part of it.  When I was an actor and in New York working people used to say how wonderful it must be.  I enjoyed that too but like anything, I knew that it was my job.  I came to work and did my role and went home.  I never thought of it as wonderful but always knew I was fortunate to be where I was in life.

It is the same with travel.  It is a necessity with my job and because I know that it brings me to meet wonderful people who do great things, this too is a fortunate side despite all of the plane, trains, hotels and automobiles.

Today I am in Miami meeting with some of the folks from Walgreens.  Walgreens is a great big company.  They do not ‘HAVE TO’ do anything.  Not just for the DRI, but the diabetes community as an entire entity is very fortunate to have a company who chooses to help out.  

There are many, many charities out there and Walgreens is a good friend to not only the DRI, but the JDRF, ADA, and other diabetes organizations as well.  We are all lucky that they ‘choose’ to help all of us.  On April 20th of this year they will run their annual Walk with Walgreens to benefit the DRI.  It is a huge event in both Port St. Lucie and at the Sun Life Stadium (home of the Miami Dolphins).

There is no ‘one day’ that we stop and say thank you to the so many people, companies, schools, and a whole list of others who have no ties to diabetes that do great things for us.  They donate money, time, products, and other resources because someone got their attention and they chose to help out.  Let us know some of the places you work with and have been very generous to your efforts?

Sure I know, it is part of the corporate world to give back and I know that much money is spent inside their stores and it makes for the ‘warm and fuzzy’ side of the corporate world to help.  But remember that every entity you work with has ‘floor-to-ceiling-proposals’ from thousands of  charities asking for help.  For some reason they are involved with you because you asked them.  It’s never wrong to say, every now and again, thank you for helping us.  Remember, they don’t have to ‘this’, but because of our love for our kids, we do.  Call them up or drop a line and just say, ‘thanks’.

I am a diabetes dad.

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