This past Saturday, I was able to attend my first (yes, first) JDRF walk in Springfield, MO courtesy of the Ozark Chapter of the JDRF. This is only the second walk in Springfield, Jessica Hickock was the event organizer and got the whole ball rolling in the first place by actually founding the Ozark Chapter. Over the last two years, this event has raised $75,000 for the JDRF so kudo’s to Jessica and all the great volunteers who have made these events a such a great success.
Now onward to my bitter-sweet explanation
Sweet – I saw young diabetics and thier moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and friends coming together to not only raise funds, but to let those children know they are not alone in this life sentence we call Type 1 Diabetes.
Bitter – I saw young diabetics and thier moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and friends still having to come together to not only raise funds, but to let those children know they are not alone in this because T1 is still a life sentence.
One of the better moments was a lengthy conversation I had with Paul Zizmang, director of the JDRF Ozark Chapter. I came away from that conversation with a different take on the JDRF than I started the day with.
It seems to me now that we are indeed fighting the same battle, just on different fronts. Maybe the disconnect occurs when we (as diabetics) keep seeing requests for more but it is so hard for the JDRF to offer quantifiable results for those efforts to us.
Perhaps it is our respective definitions of the word “quantifiable” that is the basis for the disconnect.
From my perspective, to the JDRF, quantifiable may very well be defined as “producing results that can help us progress towards a cure.” As we all know, it can take years and billions of dollars for a treatment to work it’s way from a clinical trial to getting final approval.
For me, as a diabetic, quantifiable is defined as “when can I put my hands on it?” When can I take all the diabetes junk strewn around my house and life and reduce it to a smoldering pile of melted plastic and glass in a fire that would make the folks at the Burning Man festival jealous?
As a diabetic, I’ve been hearing that the cure is “just around the corner” since before the JDRF was even founded (by about 3 months, so just slightly before /wink). After a while, you tend to just filter out those things. The who “Boy who Cried Wolf” effect is strongly in play when I read the various announcements.
The JDRF’s frontline is fund raising, while my frontline is my daily care. On my right flank is the future, when will complications arise? While my left flank faces the daily stress and worry. Luckily, the DOC provides excellent reinforments on all three fronts.
I’m hoping that the JDRF has my rear flank covered and perhaps they do.