Wow, where does the time go? 2013 has no intentions of slowing down, does it? I tried to resist its determination and regroup when it caught me off-guard, but in the end I just had to surrender and hold on. So far I like where it has taken me. A little faster than I had anticipated but I imagine I will get used to its speed. I hope.
In the past few years I haven’t really thought much about New Years resolutions but this year I quietly made one for myself, to be bold. For me this means to reach as far as I can reach and then reach a little further.
The mission of this blog has been to raise awareness for Type 1 Diabetes, to share our family’s experiences and we hope, to inspire advocacy for the T1D community and beyond. Keeping this in mind, when I recently heard about a fundraising event for childhood cancer I knew that it was an opportunity I wanted to be a part of. So on March 16th I will participate in the St. Baldrick’s fundraising event where I will have my head shaved. I’m hoping that this counts towards my bold quota.
Most of you here are familiar with my running blog, so as not to take up too much of your time I will include the link to my most recent post. I hope you have a few minutes to check it out if you haven’t already done so. Between you and me, I’m hoping for Alien fighter meets Annie Lennox, with a little G.I. Jane thrown in the mix. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Call me naive but I believe we all have the power to make a difference. In some way or another we all advocate, we share our stories and we inspire. A cure for Type 1 diabetes will always be my hearts desire. If I could shave my head to find a cure for T1D, I would live my life forever bald, if that was all it would take. But it takes more than that, I know that, and you know that. We can’t do it alone, that’s why I advocate for others when I can, however I can, especially when it makes me reach further than I thought I could. It might get uncomfortable, but I believe that’s when all the magic happens. I mean seriously, shaving my head? There’s bound to be magic in that moment.
A while back someone had sent me an e-mail, asking me why I advocate for others and why wouldn’t I just focus all of my efforts on T1D. Good question. Easy answer.
When I advocate for, let’s say, pediatric cancer, organ donation, epilepsy, Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, or autism- I am also advocating for T1D. I don’t do it for the sole purpose of exchanging information. I do it because I care and because I believe that we are all connected.
For me, the gift in advocating is not the exchange of information, statistics or outcomes, it is the exchange of compassion, of understanding and love, it’s really that simple. It’s the moment when I see myself in someone else, when I catch my breath and my heart stretches. It’s when I’m talking with a mom and I am gently reminded that we are stronger together.
Making these connections, supporting and celebrating mom’s, their children, their families, it’s all about the human spirit and coming together to be a bridge that helps all of us get to where we need to go. Whatever it is, whether we are looking to find a cure, to find compassion or to find kindness, I want to be a part of it. I don’t want to be afraid to do something, afraid to help a friend or a stranger, or afraid that I won’t have enough left to give to my own family. There is enough to go around for everyone. Believe that what you have to offer is enough.
The most beautiful thing about these connections is that they are not made by me, not really. I don’t intentionally seek them out. Yes, I intentionally advocate, but I didn’t sit down one day and make a list of causes or people that I wanted to advocate for and then contact them. It usually goes like this- I read something, I see a YouTube clip, maybe a name keeps popping up, a song, and something stands out and makes a connection for me.
Sometimes someone makes an introduction, it feels random, out of the blue, I might not ‘get it’, but I pay attention to it, I listen. Sometime there’s a little rush, a flicker, you know…goosebumps, and that’s how I know that this is someone I want to advocate for, a cause I want to support and that there is something special in this connection. I take the risk, I reach out, I offer, and the path appears, the sharing deepens, the bond strengthens, the heart sings. Maybe it is for a brief moment, or maybe a lifetime, either way I don’t want to miss it.
Selfishly, I want to surround myself with these amazing families, these incredible women that are strong beyond their belief and children that set our hearts on fire. I want to show my children that the world out there, the one that is just waiting for them, is filled with people that care and that it’s not just all about us, it’s about all of us.
I am grateful to be connected with so many wonderful people that continue to inspire and encourage me to be bold, to be brave. I can only hope that someday I can be that person for someone, to encourage them, to honor and celebrate the power they have to make a change.
So there you have it, why I advocate for others and all the magic that comes with it. Maybe more than you needed to know, maybe not. I can’t wait to hear about your bold moments, your brave moments, the one’s that surprise you as much as they delight you. I have no doubt you will be brilliant.