Sunday I participated in the local Walk To Stop Diabetes, and we were very fortunate to have a beautiful day here in Northern Illinois for outdoor activities. You may know (if you have ever participated) that people with diabetes are given special recognition….you’ll see I received a special red hat. I am a Red Strider.
There were some emotional moments for me. As we started the walk we passed a group of young girls who were lined along the route cheering us forward, and something about that “got me”. Maybe it was that they seemed about the age when I began my diabetes journey….maybe just being a “guest of honor”. Every PWD received a red carnation at the finish line…..being presented with the flower “got me” too.
Or, maybe it was one of those moments when the “gravity” of diabetes sinks in….a small recognition of my personal success managing diabetes tempered by walking teams wearing various shirts sharing the phrase “in memory of….” Just a day earlier I had an impromptu discussion with a middle-aged man in a cell phone store who was struggling with blood sugars in the mid-400 mg/l range, and early retinopathy and neuropathy….he asked me about diabetes after seeing my diabeteseveryday.com email address. His family and his co-workers are really worried, and they should be worried.
Too often that is the story of diabetes. The critical message about protecting health with effective self-management behaviors isn’t delivered or isn’t received, and the consequences ripple out into a wide circle of friends and family….”in memory of….” In some ways that is the sad undercurrent that motivates the organizers and participants all over the country to “Step Out” for this great event.
A beautiful day, fun with friends, kids cheering, and many dollars raised…..a good time for sure, but I’ll bet I wasn’t alone in tearing up for a moment or two.