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Find Your Diabetes Tribe by Volunteering

img_2389When my son Alexander was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes we were too busy attempting to figure out how to live with the disease to jump into volunteering or raising money for a cure, even though finding a cure is our deepest wish

Our level of participation in fundraising events varies from year to year depending upon where we are emotionally. One year our son was a local JDRF ambassador for the Walk. He was thrilled to hear himself on the radio and excited to speak to a large group of adults about the struggle of living with type 1 as a child in elementary school. In my book, Parenting Joyfully When Your Child Has Diabetes, I encourage families to find a level of participation that works for them and not to be intimidated or feel pressure to take a role that doesn’t suit them.

A few days ago I volunteered to register cyclist participating in the JDRF Revolution Ride. As always, I was conscious of the great gift that volunteering was to me. I volunteered alongside a grandmother whose granddaughter has type 1 diabetes. We were able to commiserate about how challenging it is to live with type 1 diabetes and I was able to share some resources for her daughter. A man cycled by and stopped when he saw our registration sign. He pulled up his sleeve and showed us the latest European technology that he’s using to manage his type 1.

I came away, as I always do when volunteering for a diabetes-related event, with a deep comfort after being among people who understand my family’s life and its challenges. Finding your diabetes tribe is everything.

I may not always have the financial means to donate, or the resources to raise money, but I can show my support by helping behind the scenes or working the event. It’s about much more than raising money. There were participants at the cycling event that had not raised any money but chose to ride to help raise awareness and show their solidarity for people living with type 1diabetes. How awesome is that?

Are you an active participant in your diabetes community and is so, what does that look like to you? I’d love to hear what works for you.

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