October 07, 2007

i would walk 500 miles

So, better late than never. Thought maybe I should mention the walk we did a week ago Saturday. Crazy, I know.

The walk used to be the Walk for Diabetes, and is now called Step Out to Fight Diabetes. As of last year, our local walk is held at the General Mills headquarters, as they have a mega campus that seems to work nicely. We do miss the walk and roll days of the Metrodome events, but that is life.

We wound up getting a slow start in our fundraising, mostly because the previous incarnation of the event took place in November. Then, last year, the first year of the new incarnation, we were out of the country. So, long story short, we were a little off kilter in terms of scheduling. However, I had a few awesome people pull through at the zero hour, and had enough donations to score a long sleeved tee shirt when I signed in at the event. What is exciting about this is that the shirts seemed to run true to size, so I was able to get an adult small and have it fit properly!! What is also exciting is that they extended the fundraising until the end of November because November is National Diabetes Month. So, if you happen to find any change in the cushions, or put on your fall/winter jacket (assuming this disgustingly humid weather ever goes away) and find a five in the pocket you want to send my way...let me know, and I will tell you where to send it.

Anyhow, back to the walk. Geoff was a little sleepy come Saturday morning, so we got a bit of a slow start. However, we arrived, met our third team member (THANKS J!) and signed in. I gathered my new tee, and we headed over to the queue for the walk. I had planned on running (well, jogging) at least half of the route, however, then runners and walkers were divided up. Actually, it was runners, then nordic walkers, then regular walkers. I had a slight fear of getting run over by a mass of people with ski poles, and thought I could still jog some if I stuck with our team. I was wrong. We were in the back third of walkers, and lets just say that I don't think some of these people walk very often. It was slow going for a while. Still, we had fun. There was good conversation. There were enthusiastic cheerleading sections along the way, which consistently brought smiles to our faces. You can't help but smile when there are random clusters of people holding homemade signs and clapping and cheering for you. The day was cloudy, but the rain held off until we were done. We felt pretty good coming in at the end to a large cheering section which included the General Mills Honeybee and the Lucky Charms leprechaun. We made our way over to the activities that were happening. There was a petting zoo filled with painfully cute animals, including a wee goat that was the size of our cat Ziggie. J and I got short massages.

G showed me the latest technology in glucose meters that feed right into insulin pumps. They are so tiny now! I mean a couple of years ago G did a study for a continuous read glucose meter. It attached to his arm and was the size of a large pager, circa 1987. Now, it's this wee disk that attaches near the insulin pump (which is smaller than the freaking glucose meter he tested!) Just the change in the thing even over the last year is amazing, to say the least. He will have to upgrade his pump in order to use the new meter (basically it's a software change), but insurance should cover it if his doctor sees it as a need. Cross your fingers! He has always had the disease under pretty good control, but the pump has already done wonders. Having a constant glucose measure would be huge. We are keeping our eyes peeled for the day the FDA approves a combined pump and glucose meter.

Then it was the closing ceremony. It was a nice intimate feeling. $250,000 were raised by the end of the race. Veit had a team there, and the company matched the team dollar for dollar, so they brought in $22,000. That is pretty awesome for the company to kick in $11K. I know for a lot of corporations that is a drop in the bucket, but it makes me happy to see that there are companies out there who give money to making people's lives better. There was a team who raised $19,000, with 7K of that coming from one team member...amazing!! Anyhow, it was just an incredible feeling to see all these people together for a common goal, and to hear how people were willing to give for people like G. He is proof that this works. I mean, the advances that have been made just in the eleven years since his diagnosis are HUGE. The education that the Diabetes Association provides. The support they offer to the families, to the children that are affected. The education they provide in the prevention of Type 2* diabetes (which everyone needs to help spread). This whole event is so important.

Gah, now I'm tearing up. I am such a nerd.

We are already making plans for next year. Mark your calendars for September 27th. The minute we are able, we are forming a team. I am playing with fundraising ideas. I would love, love, love for our team to be one of the top teams next year. Not so much for the recognition, but for the joy of knowing we made a difference. And, the three members of our team have already committed to running the whole thing next year. Yeah!!

*For those who are unaware, Type one and Type two diabetes are truly two different diseases. In a nutshell, Type one is the type formerly known as juvenile diabetes. However, it is realized that the onset can come later than previously thought. Essentially the pancreas stops doing its job. This is the type that has more to do with genetics and luck. It is also the type where injections or a pump are necessary, and you have to count carbs and match the insulin you take to the carbs you ingest. Type two has more to do with the body's use of insulin. This is the type where diet is important, because your body doesn't always use its insulin. This is the type that is often caused by lifestyle. This is the one that is on an alarming upswing in children. What is even scarier is that people with one type are more commonly getting the other. That is, say someone has type one and does not manage it well (a diatribe for a different day). Their body can stop using the insulin that is being manually dosed.

There is a lot I have left out, because honestly I could go on for pages and pages. It pains me how uneducated the public is about this disease, so if you are one of the uneducated, I implore you to become educated.

Okay, there's my up and down post quota for the day. I will close by saying, I want to see this disease cured within my lifetime. I have the confidence it is possible, with a little support.

Posted by raven at October 7, 2007 08:05 PM
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