In the last couple weekends, the girls and I have taken part in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes. One walk was in our hometown of Winston-Salem. The other event was in Raleigh, where Cassie's Uncle Steve lives. This year marks the 14th consecutive year that we've formed a family walk team.
Our first walk happened just weeks after Cassie's diagnosis. She was just one year old, and the four mile walk seemed monumental for us at the time. Cassie was still in her first pair of baby shoes and big sister Miller (who was just 4 years old) got around in a bright yellow umbrella stroller. There was a lot of pushing, and we took a lot of baby steps.
The yellow stroller is now history, and the girls are beyond just being along for the ride. They've become leaders in our crusade against this disease. The walk team that we started is now led by Miller, and Cassie frequently speaks publicly about the importance of diabetes research.
Since our first walk, Miller and Cassie have participated annually in the walk-a-thon, set up countless lemonade stands, manned the root beer float booth and worked at fundraising galas. As we filled out Miller's college applications, we took a look back and did a little accounting of what all this volunteering had yielded. By our reckoning, it amounted to approximately $2.6 million(!) for JDRF.
We never dreamed we'd ever raise this much money, and that wasn't even the point. What Marinda and I had set out to do, and to teach our kids was this: you need to take charge of finding a cure. Kids can make a big difference in this fight.
And.. even baby steps can lead to big advances.
If you gave or took part in this year's walk or past walks, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for your amazing support. You help to teach my girls another lesson: others care.