Cold At The Beach – JDRF Photo Shoot

The most probable outcomes are scary and sobering. You wouldn’t wish those on an enemy.

I was up early (for me) and headed to the beach this morning. On a windy, slate gray day that screamed early February not late March Lighthouse Point should have been empty. The parking area around the carousel was decidedly not. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation was having a photo shoot. The cars were there to chauffeur JDRF’s stars.

It’s impossible to work with these children and not be affected. They are normal kids. They are cute and sweet and sometimes pains in the ass. What they share in common is diabetes–and it’s with them and their families 24/7.

Two young girls wearing insulin pumps.When you know what to look for they’re easy to pick out. Down around the hip where a cop would wear his holster they’re wearing a pump. It might pass as a cellphone or pager except for the slender tubes leading from it to their body.

Their diabetes is being treated, but the treatment isn’t 100% effective. They will live shorter lives and suffer huge health problems. The most probable outcomes are scary and sobering. You wouldn’t wish those on an enemy.

We’ve heard a lot recently about pre-existing health conditions and insurance. Look at the kids with me in the photo. They are the perfect example.

Even with pumps and blood monitoring they’ll make mistakes. I’ve heard this story in slightly different form from dozens of parents. It’s a sleepover or a party and the phone rings. Their child has gone into diabetic shock. The host is petrified the child will die.

Even when everything has stabilized the family will walk on eggshells. The invitations will become a little less frequent. The leash will shorten.

If JDRF asks me to jump, I ask how high. It’s nearly impossible for me… for my family… to say no. And it’s totally because of the people I’ve met at things like this photo shoot. We have no family history with diabetes I know of.

On the way out from the carousel I stopped and chatted with a father of a girl with Type 1 diabetes. He is worried the economic power of drug companies will keep us from ever seeing a cure. It’s in the drug company’s interest to find ongoing treatments, not singular cures. I am hoping his worries are unfounded, but it’s still an awful thought.

Work is moving forward on an artificial pancreas. Briefly, a diabetic child will be fitted with a device to perform the functions a properly operating pancreas provides. It’s a complex solution combining medicine with digital electronics. It’s nearly perfected.

It’s a closed loop solution. That’s the amazing part. The diabetic need do nothing except live their life!

Today’s photo shoot is in support of the annual fund raising gala held by the Greater New Haven JDRF chapter. It’s coming up a few weeks from now in April.

Chris Kirby, our art director at the TV station, put together this public service announcement promoting the gala together on his own in his free time. It is voiced by another friend, Walter Mann. If you’d like to embed it on your site, please feel free.

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I’ve Got Antlers

It was really cold today – bitterly cold. Sometimes mentioning the wind chill factor is nothing more than hype. Today, you could feel every biting degree.

Sure, I hate the cold, but there’s an upside. It finally feels like we’re in the Christmas season, which is good.

Though we don’t observe Christmas, we enjoy participating in everyone else’s fun. Everyone seems to be in a good mood.

A few nights ago, Ann Nyberg, one of our news anchors, mentioned she’d seen a car with a big red nose and antlers! We all got a kick out of it.

Later, on the 11:00 PM news, Chris Kirby – our art director, fashioned an ‘artist’s rendering’ of what the car might have looked like… especially as the featured vehicle on MTV’s “Pimp My Sleigh Ride.”

Flash forward to today. Ann returned to her desk to find an antler/nose kit sitting there. She looked puzzled.

I told her, if she didn’t want it, I surely did. And so, my car now has antlers. They’re fitted with little plastic brackets that fit over the top edge of a car’s windows. It’s hysterical.

I will install the nose when it’s warmer… like in the garage at home.

JDRF Gala Video

Earlier, I wrote about Chris and Patty Kirby’s amazing video on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Here it is.

When you watch this, as I hope you do, please remember Patty wrote it, I read the copy and Chris did everything else – everything! It’s pretty amazing.

The Speaking Season

I would guess, for most people the prospect of speaking in front of large groups would be scary. Not me. Over the course of a year, I’ll speak publicly in dozens of situations. So, by now, I’ve got more than a little experience.

This week it’s the Connecticut Association of Schools on Thursday and Juvenile Diabetes Association on Saturday. Helaine and I plan on being at a walk for autistic children on Sunday – probably no speaking, but lots of hand shaking.

This is my twelfth year for CAS. Usually there are a little over a thousand people at the Aqua Turf in Southington. There is a ‘real’ after dinner speaker, so my time is short and I’m just the emcee&#185.

What is a little nerve wracking is the fact that my emceeing comes in the middle of our 6:00 PM news! So, at the last minute I step off the dais and do the weather with all these people looking on.

It’s sort of cool, because the teachers get a look of me ‘at work,’ if you will. And, a backstage view is always fun.

Saturday I’ll be emceeing for Juvenile Diabetes. I’ve been working with JDRF for about 15 years.

I’m looking forward to Saturday for a few reasons. First, Helaine is coming! That’s very unusual. No one on Saturday will appreciate that but me.

Second, Chris Kirby has put together another video for JDRF, which will be shown. I’ve just watched it and it’s amazing. He shot it (two cameras), edited, did the graphics and post production. His wife, Patty, wrote the copy.

Though I voiced it, that was my only involvement. Believe me – I deserve none of the credit. I’ll try and post a copy as soon as I get one.

I am glad I can use the power of the television station for these good causes. No one tells me I should, but I know it’s the right thing to do. And, I always feel good that I did.

&#185 – Last week I got an email asking what I wanted for dinner. Going to the Aqua Turf and not getting the prime rib is like going to Italy and not getting the Italian food.

Sometimes You Just Get Lucky

I’ve been working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation for well over a decade. I’ve mentioned it here before. I am lucky enough to have the ability to give away my bosses TV station for charity – and I do.

A few months ago, one of the people I work with, Chris Kirby, also decided to get involved with JDRF. I’m not sure why he did it, just as I’m not sure what drew me to them. It happens.

Chris called the local chapter director and made an offer. He wanted to put together a video. Chris is the perfect person to do this. He’s our art director at the TV station.

He once told me he couldn’t draw. Maybe he can’t. Truth is, he’s an unbelievably talented designer totally at home with the digitization of art.

You’ll see. This is leading to an example.

The day of the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, Chris was there with his home video camera. After the walk, his wife Patty wrote a script, I voiced the track, and Chris created a presentation that will help JDRF get out the word and raise more money.

Virtually everything in the video was created by Chris. It’s an astounding undertaking. It runs 6:30 and you can see it by clicking here.

I am honored he allowed me to voice it.

It’s Emmy Time in New England

The Boston/New England Chapter of NATAS has their Emmy big nomination party listed on their website for tonight, April 5th. It’s the first night of Passover, so it seemed a strange time to have a party… and I was right. This afternoon I got an email telling me the celebration is tomorrow (when many people also have Passover Seders).

Either way, I’m already in worry mode. I have foolishly set myself up for disaster. Normally, I sour on my tape as the postman is taking it away. Not so this year.

The tape opens with a phenomenal animation by Chris Kirby, our art director. I told him what I wanted and he exceeded any possible expectation. With it, I was able to explain a strange weather event, with only a trace of frozen precipitation, that had half the state in traffic for hours.

Chris deserves the credit, but as the judges watched the tape, hopefully it reflected well on me. That’s my perception based on my judging experience of last summer.

See – I am setting myself up for disaster.

Helaine has already told me (and this is not the first time), if I’m nominated, she’s not going. The past few times, I didn’t either. The ceremony is very long. The chapter covers a huge geographic area – so many of us don’t even know the other nominees. With weather toward the tail end, it’s a tedious evening at best. And, odds are, most nights you get nothing for your wait.

I have been exceptionally lucky, winning 7 Emmys over the years. On a few occasions, I thought my winning tape was awful. I have won and then not even been nominated the next year. It’s a crap shoot, decided by strangers in a strange city, often enticed by nothing more than free pizza!

We’ll see what happens tomorrow.