Last week I attended the JDRF Annual Conference and was elected to the 2012 International Board of Directors. It's a tremendous honor, and I see it as a chance to keep doing good for the Type-1 Diabetes community.
So what does being on the "big board" mean?
You may think we sit around dressed in tuxedos, smoking cigars in oak-paneled conference rooms. You may think that we get our kids and loved ones at the top of the list for any promising cures before anyone else does. You may think that we get to tell everyone what to do without lifting a finger. If so, you think wrong.
My outlook of being part of this august board means signing up for even more work, sacrificing time away from my family and taking on accountability for everyone who has donated as much as a single dime to the charity. Pat, who is a current board member, joked that one of the "perks" is that instead of walking the full course during one of our walk-a-thons is that we get to hoof an extra mile more.
Until now, my family and I have focused on raising money to support research and advocacy of this very personal cause. Now that I'm on the board, I get to spend that money - over $100 million of it every year. All my life, spending has been the easy part of the financial equation. In this case, it's not.
I know that I'll be spending nickels and quarters that little kids (like my daughters) have raised in lemonade stands. Every JDRF check stroked will draw on money that was raised through personal, humble pleas from desperate parents. Knowing this, I am burdened with the responsibility to ensure that the money goes to absolutely the best scientists and that not one cent is wasted.
It's a heavy burden indeed, but one that I gladly embrace on behalf of Cassie and Marinda. In fact, I'm incredibly grateful for it.