The Speech Of My Life

When it was over I received a standing ovation. A few people were crying.

Tonight was the annual post-walk dinner for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It was held at the Woodbridge Country Club.

Because of our newscasts and especially because of the upcoming storm I showed up while the event was already underway. I watched as group after group was cited for raising money for diabetes research. I was asked to say a few words at the end.

I have spoken hundreds of times to organizations. It comes easily to me. I had nothing prepared and was planning on speaking for no more than a minute or two.

I began and immediately sensed the audience was very attentive. For a speaker that’s the juice.

I have no explanation why, but I gave the speech of my life!

That’s not melodramatic hyperbole. This presentation was light years beyond anything I’d done before.

Even while presenting I could feel the pieces come together. Juvenile diabetes is, after all these years, something I know about. More importantly, I know what the parents and families are going through.

My little ad lib found its groove with a logical beginning, middle and end. It built as it moved toward its conclusion. When it was over I received a standing ovation. A few people were crying.

I was touched by the response. It affected me deeply.

I didn’t expect to make this kind of impact. I didn’t set out with that intention. I’ve never spoken like this before. Who knows if I ever will again?

It was a passionate rallying cry for a cause that’s important made to an audience that’s desperate for results. For some, I suspect, I renewed their hope for a cure.

You know that stuff about giving being better than receiving? It’s true.

We’ve Got A Dumpster. Are You Jealous Yet?

It arrived early this morning. Early enough, I was still sound asleep (not a major breakthrough there). For a ‘big guy’ it was awfully quiet, coming to a rest under our bedroom window with nary a squeal.

“It’s here,” Helaine said, as I pretended to get out of bed. So it is.

We got our dumpster in an auction to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It’s a win-win-win situation. JDRF gets the money. We get a dumpster. The child of the family that owns the dumpster, a child with Type 1 diabetes, gets closer to the day when juvenile diabetes in cured.

Helaine couldn’t wait to get started. We had both a treadmill and glider in our bedroom. These two pieces of fitness equipment were actually worn out by my wife! The glider split in two while she was gliding.

Neither she nor I are particularly strong, but we managed to push, pull and carry both pieces to the driveway. A quick tug of the latch to release the door on the end of the dumpster, proved futile.

I’ve never made a call to ask if I could use a small sledge on a piece of rented equipment before. I have now. I can… however, in all fairness I’ve also sprayed some WD-40 on the bolts and hinges hoping for some divine intervention.

Over the next two weeks, we will find out what makes the cut. Is it a keepsake or junk, posing as a keepsake? The idea is to be brutal and heartless. If there’s doubt, throw it out.

We rented a smaller dumpster a few years ago. It left here filled to the brim and screaming for mercy. That’s our goal again.

JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes

There are 1,100 parking spaces at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in North Haven. They were all full for today’s “Walk To Cure Diabetes.” A back of the envelope estimate says 3-4,000 people showed up!

That’s pretty good, considering the weather was awful. There were showers before, during and after the event. From time-to-time there were even downpours.

I love going to this event because I get to meet the people I’m trying to help.

Though there was a research setback reported last week, I still think juvenile diabetes can be eliminated, as polio and smallpox have been eliminated.

Here’s the article. Read past the headline, the bad news is in the last two paragraphs. The good news that led the article had been out for a while.

I am the celebrity chairman of this walk. I don’t know exactly what that means, except I give away my bosses airtime promoting the event, say hello to a lot of people during the event and shake a lot of hands.

The photo attached to this entry is a typical shot and I took a few dozen today. I don’t know the name of the totally soaked guy I’m with, but I was pointing to his tattoo in a bit of good natured fun and he was pleased I was.

This year’s walk was special in another way. Helaine came with me. As much as I enjoy the spotlight, Helaine avoids it.

I am very lucky to be able to help JDRF in a quantifiable way. No one at work tells me or even asks me to do this. I just know it’s right, and it makes me feel good. It couldn’t be any simpler.

Waking up early (for me) on a Sunday morning to stand out in the rain has never been more rewarding.

Continue reading “JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes”

My Most Valuable Skill

This morning, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation held the kickoff for their annual “Walk to Cure” program. I’m the honorary chairperson… though I really don’t know what that means. I do know that I go to the walk and attend a number of their events through the year. I always get up, say a few words and try to be a motivator. And, of course, I talk up the organization on-the-air.

The folks who run our local chapter appreciate my efforts and always make sure to tell me. That’s enough for me.

I’m thrilled to do this. It’s really a privilege to have a television station to ‘give’ to charity. I think (and everything I’ve read says) JDRF is a fine organization that spends their money well and probably will find the magic bullet which will stop Juvenile Diabetes.

Every year, at one of the meetings, a diabetic child will get up and talk about pricking his finger to draw a drop of blood, many times every day. There are stories of injecting insulin at school or a party or wearing an insulin pump around the clock.

Often parents will tell the story of how they discovered their child had diabetes. It’s never a fun story. It often includes terror and a trip to the Emergency Room.

How can I not be motivated? If what I do helps, even a little, every second I’ve spent with them will have been worth it.

Having said all of this, this morning’;s breakfast was scheduled for 8:00 AM. I usually don’t get to bed until 4:00, so it was very early. And, of course, I don’t just roll out of bed and voila, I’m at the venue. There’s showering and driving too. An 8:00 AM breakfast is a 6:45 wake up.

But, as I said, I have a very valuable skill. I can sleep in shifts or nap on command with few ill effects. I’ve fallen asleep on airplanes before we’ve begun to taxi, just to make the trip seem shorter.

This morning, at the breakfast, I had two small cups of coffee. Even with that, I was back in bed and back to sleep well before noon. When I finally got out of bed at 1:30 PM, I was ready to go.

When I tell people about this, they are often jealous. I wonder how many people actually try to nap? They probably just say they can’t and live with the consequences without ever trying.

It’s a great skill to have.