I had on purple heels I could actually walk in, a glittery handbag large enough to actually hold the things I needed to bring with me, and a folded up piece of paper with the mini-speech I had written that morning. (I like to tell myself that I work best under pressure. Or panic. One of the two.)
|This is the "quick, take a picture of me before
we forget" shot. Sassy!
I was asked a few months back if I would be willing to share my story as part of this chapter's "Fund A Cure" video for the 2012 Gala. A camera crew came to our house in February and we did things like play fetch with Billy (you'll notice that he suddenly has no interest in his favorite toy once cameras are rolling), go for a walk (of course it was super windy) and I spoke about my diagnosis, finding support online, and what parts of life with diabetes have been most difficult.
My previous impressions of Gala videos led me to be a little cautious - I wasn't interested in being portrayed in a feel-sorry-for-me, tear-jerker sort of way. I thought they did a nice job of sharing both my and another young woman's stories in a realistic but positive light. (And yes, you'll notice that I'm a huge JDRF supporter.) But, don't take my word for it - make some popcorn, grab a comfy chair and watch it for yourself.
I was also asked to say a few words (around 30 seconds to a minute) following the video's presentation. As Molly and I stood on stage, the video drew to a close and the emcee introduced us to the audience of over 400.
We received a standing ovation. I really, really didn't expect that - neither of us did. (And though I feel a little like it's boasting to even mention it, it's the first time in my life that I can recall it happening, so I kind of feel like it's okay just this once.)
I'm grateful for a lot of things from this experience: for the opportunity to bring an adult voice and story to the JDRF narrative; for the chance to work with such passionate people through the whole process; for the generous audience (they surpassed their fundraising goal for the night!) who contributed to the work of people much smarter than I.
Organizations like JDRF help to provide people like me with what I think is one of the most important things required to live well with type 1 diabetes (aside from insulin): hope. And on the days when I find some, I try to store it up like a squirrel would do with acorns for the winter. A bad day can hit at any time, and it helps me to turn it around when I have a stash of these reminders - of how far we've come, and how many people are out there working hard to end this disease.