I wish I could remember how my involvement with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and their yearly Walk To Cure Diabetes, began. I don’t. It has been over 10 years, I’m sure of that.
When I started helping, I didn’t know too much. I knew the word diabetes – not really what is was. Is that wrong?
Many civic and charitable organizations try to associate themselves with local radio and TV personalities. It’s a good, cheap way to get additional publicity. No one says that, but everyone knows it.
On the other side of the equation, lots of radio and television personalities try to associate themselves with civic and charitable organizations. There are a zillion reasons, some altruistic and some not.
Basically, I look at my job, realize I’ve got it good and wonder what I can do to show my gratitude.
What was unforeseen to me is how captivating and motivating my association with JDRF has been. In essence, a child doesn’t have diabetes – his family does. Everyone’s life changes, though none more than the diabetic.
Even with diabetes under control, you’re checking your blood by sticking yourself 5, 6, 10 time a day. If you’re lucky, you can use an insulin pump. If not, there are injections.
When you’re small your parents give the shots. As you grow older, it’s your responsibility. That’s a hell of an obligation for a teenager trying not to stick out in a crowd.
And then there’s the statistic that says the life of a diabetic is shortened by 15 or so years.
Anyway, the more I became involved, the more I wanted to be involved. Everything I read tells me a cure is close. I’m not a doctor, but I believe it’s true.
As this years walk approached, I asked at work if I could use our helicopter. It helps bring more visibility to JDRF… and it’s good for the station too. There were 4,000 walking in North Haven and another 4-500 in Niantic.
After some rain last night, I was pleased to see the forecast hold and the Sun come out. I woke up early and drove to Chester where the copter is based. It was chilly at 7:30 – I worried if I should have brought a jacket.
At Chester Airport, Chopper 8 is parked on a small trailer. It’s true. The pilot takes off and lands on a little trailer, not the ground. I climbed in the front with pilot Dan Peterman. Our photographer, Jim Bagley sat in the back with all the video gear.
It was a quick flight to Anthem Blue Cross in North Haven, the site of the first walk. I did a quick live hit on our morning news and we landed.
If you’ve never been to an event like this, it’s tough to explain. The Blue Cross campus was crawling with people of all ages.
I said hello and took pictures of and with as many people as I could. Around 10:00 AM the walk got underway and I made my way back to the helicopter for our trip to Niantic.
The Niantic crowd was smaller, more intimate. We were able to land he copter in a much more conspicuous place. Dan folded the doors back and we let people walk up and take a close look. Most people never get that chance and the copter is a big draw, especially with kids (and dads).
I went back to shooting and taking pictures.
Within the next few days I’ll have a better idea how JDRF did financially, My gut tells me this was a good year.
Now, here’s the payoff. We do this every year. But if we’re really successful, we’ll never have to do it again. It’s happened before. Polio was cured with research paid for a dime at a time. Maybe diabetes is next.
Blogger’s note – I took a lot of pictures… I mean a really huge number of pictures. As usual, they’re in my gallery.