Every family has heirlooms, things they are proud to share with others, stuff that represents the essence of their shared history. I'd count the gallon milk container resting beside the trash can in our bathroom as an heirloom I'd like to forget. The milk container never sat empty, it filled up fast with discarded syringes and used test strips from blood sugar monitors. One after the other, each of my brothers was diagnosed with a disease that can only be managed. At some point we all came to accept it as a fateful part of our family journey. We stopped complaining but we didn't bother fighting back.
Early on at DOWNTOWN CHURCH we determined to not do public service announcements. With access to a large and captive audience, and the means to get a message out quickly, a week doesn't pass without someone asking me to share news about a community event. Until now, I've always said no. You might say we aren't being a good neighbor. I'd argue that being a community bulletin board is not a core part of our mission.
However, we also like to break our own rules. So when Johnny Felder asked me to make an announcement about the Diabetes Research Foundation Walk this Sunday, November 3rd , I said yes.
Johnny's daughter Anna lives with Type 1 diabetes like my brothers. Before he called me, Johnny included me on emails encouraging his friends to join Anna's team for the walk. I skimmed the emails and then deleted them. I never considered that there were people interested in solving a problem that my family just learned to live with. Walking for a cure was another community event, not a family matter.
I was vaguely aware of JDRF, but didn't know enough to pay attention when his emails came streaming through my inbox. The plain truth is I forgot about my brothers until Johnny called me. In his voice was the sound of my own father's voice, straining to do whatever possible to alleviate the slow, steady suffering that diabetes imparts on young people.
It's not a fair fight when your body ceases to be an ally. Your blood, the stuff that carries oxygen to limbs God made for monkey bars and basketball courts, is poison when your pancreas quits on the job, without notice, forever. My blood sugar is as steady as my breath, I don't worry about it. Anna's and my brother's blood sugar is another thing to consider every day, like the weather and traffic, until there is a cure.
So to honor the persistence of all the young people that refuse to let the unfair hand they've been dealt slow them down, say a prayer of thanksgiving that God won't forget about them.
And if you want to join Anna's army for the walk or support JDRF with a financial gift follow the link below. I've lived beside the disease for most of my life, and I just joined the fight against it with a gift of my own. Thanks for getting my attention Johnny.