Category Archives: Uncategorized

Multi-purpose Kick Off Luncheon Centerpieces

Because I’m still  on all the things the Silly Hats & Caps have done to help JDRF and the Type 1 Community, this is one of the first things that we were asked if we could help with by our Orange County Chapter.   (You may have seen the picture in one of my earlier posts because the centerpieces were re-used as Promise To Remember Me Leave Behinds too!)

I guess the word had gotten out that some of us Silly Hats were kind of crafty and the Walk Committee was wondering if we could come up with an inexpensive centerpiece for the Walk Kick Off Luncheon!  We talked about ideas the next couple of weeks at our Tuesday breakfasts.  In one of our shopping excursions a couple of us had seen some flowers made out of material that were pretty cute and decided to make something similar to that.

We also decided we wanted to make them a little more personal.  Since at JDRF their “Promise to Remember Me” campaign was in full swing and we are in the process of meeting with members of congress in hopes of putting faces to this crappy disease, we decided to put pictures of some of “our” adults and children living with Type 1 as the center of the flower!

One of our walk sponsors is Ascics shoes and along with giving many pairs to walkers who earned a certain amount of money by a certain date, they had also given the chapter about 30 mis-matched tennis shoes.  What a perfect vase!!

Here in Orange County we have quite a few “JDRF Youth Ambassadors”, young kids with Type 1 Diabetes that volunteer to attended various public events, so we used pictures of them and our Children’s Congress kids…and I copied  pictures of some of our adults from facebook and since “amazing race” winner and Type 1 Diabetic Nat Strand is also one of our own and our Celebrity Walk Chair this year..her face went on a flower as well!

This awesome group of Silly Hats & Caps then divvied up the work to be done and we had our first project off and running!

  • We cut flower centers out of felt in the four walk colors
  • We cut hundreds of squares of all different patterns of material (each flower takes 6 4” x 4” squares)
  • We cut green leaves
  • We hand gathered the material squares and glued them together
  • We painted the tennis shoes bright “walk” colors
  • We printed, cut out and added the pictures to the flower centers
  • Arranged them all into 30 centerpieces and delivered them to the walk committee in plenty of time for the Kick Off Luncheon!

And the finished project looked like this:  

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Strike Out Diabetes!

Oh my gosh, have I have a major senior moment!!  As I was writing about all the activities that the Silly Hats and Caps have been up to, I realized that I had totally forgotten to tell about our very first event!

Silly Hats & Caps was created around April of last year.   We had started meeting every Tuesday morning for breakfast and  we had been talking about what we might be able to do to help spread awareness of Diabetes, the need for a cure and how we could bring more people with diabetes together (as you know, there is strength in numbers!).

One morning I got a phone call from my girlfriend and she asked me if I had seen the  latest GROUPON offer!  I hadn’t, but I went to my computer and opened it while I was on the phone with her and there it was!   A great opportunity for a low cost get together, a 2 for 1 bowling package and a really great deal.  So each of us 3 original Silly Hat & Caps couples,  bought 2 groupons and we were on off and running!

From the very beginning of our family’s “D Journey” the name of our family walk team has been “Strike Out Diabetes”.  Strike out as in baseball, but hey…it works for bowling too!

Our local chapter shared the details of our event in their newsletter and posted it on facebook and we, of course, shared the date with our friends and family.

The day finally came…we took our groupons, our helium balloons, some JDRF literature and off to the bowling alley we went!

I’m sorry to say we didn’t have one person other than our 3 families show up for the event…but boy did we have fun!

All three of us Silly Hats & Caps couples had 3 generations represented!!  How very cool is that!! Us grandparents, our children and our grandchildren had a blast!

And in addition to that, what made it all worthwhile????  We’d been bowling about 20 minutes and a man had seen our JDRF balloons and came over to ask about our group.  He approached my daughter in law and said “I saw the balloons..you’re with JDRF? We’re having my son’s birthday party here…my son has Type 1 .”   That was her opening for further dialogue!!  She introduced herself to him and his wife, met the birthday boy and shared with them, her story of living with a child with Type 1 Diabetes.   Robby  met them as well, and told the family how diabetes has not held him back from doing anything he wants, including playing college baseball at a division 1 school!  He and his mom also told them what an important role JDRF has played in our lives since his “D”iagnosis!

Our first official event and we were able to achieve our goal…Have fun while laughing, chatting and helping spread awareness of Diabetes and the need for a cure!  And in addition, we were able to introduce another family to JDRF!!

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How Peanut Butter and Jelly are helping T1D!!

Let me start by saying…My husband loves playing GOLF!! However, golf is not a cheap game to play! Most of the courses, at least around us, are way out of our budget. But there are a few less expensive, smaller, older courses around…so in order to do what he loves..he swings his clubs at one of those courses, almost every Wednesday morning!

Because he loves golf in any form, and because JDRF and the research they fund is our best hope for our grandson’s cure, he and his golf buddy and fellow Silly Hat & Cap member have volunteered to work at the JDRF’s annual Golf Tournament for several years!

The JDRF Golf Tournament is always held at a beautiful county club, draws lots of players, includes incredible auction items, and brings in lots of money!  They volunteer not only to help a great cause, but also because they love the ambiance of these courses and playing in the tournament is a little out of their price range!  

Last year after JDRF’s tournament, “the boys” decided they would like to hold a less expensive tournament that they and their buddies could afford and also make a little money for JDRF!!  So the planning began.t

It was going to be a “NO FRILLS” tournament.  One that our friends and family could afford to  participate in.   Instead of a sit down meal, they chose a less expensive brown bag lunch! Instead of a beautiful country club, they made arrangements for the tournament to be held at their favorite  municipal public golf course.    They decided that calling it the

“Peanut Butter and Jelly Charity Golf Tournament” 

was quite fitting!

We also called on a few of our friends and were able to get a Flat Screen TV, Blue Ray DVD Player and other smaller items donated for a raffle!

The PP&J tournament was scheduled for October 26 and thanks to our incredibly amazing friends, even though my husband Bob, was unable to help (he had unplanned surgery to remove a brain tumor September 6) it came together beautifully.

The golf course gave us a good price and provided the sack lunches for a low cost as well.  We ended up with 9 foursomes and ALL of the golfers bought tickets for the raffle in addition to paying  their entry fee!

Friends and family came early the morning of the tournament and helped set up and check everyone in.  One of our friends, who doesn’t golf,  acted as Bob’s  driver and drove him around the course so that even though he couldn’t swing his clubs (doctor’s orders), he could still feel a part of the event!

The tournament went off without a hitch!  The weather was beautiful!  Everyone had a great time and they all asked us to make sure we invite them to next year’s tournament!

And best of all,  we made money while doing something we enjoyed and were able to give a nice check to JDRF, which made all the effort we put into the tournament totally worthwhile!

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Our First Silly Hats & Caps Garden Party

We started Silly Hats & Caps with 3 of us girls and our husbands and if we wanted to grow, we needed to figure out a way to reach out and tell others about us and our advocacy!  We knew we would have to hold a fun event that would be free to attend and offer a chance for others to get involved by introducing them to Silly Hats & Caps and JDRF!

One of the girls had been to the garden party of a local Orange County artist who makes beautiful quilted wall hangings http://www.bbquiltscapes.com/.  She told the rest of us about the fun she had attending this party and we decided to meet with the artist and see if she would be willing to show her quilts at our party and allow us to copy of few of her fabulous ideas on hosting a garden party!

She not only agreed to show her quilts and let us use all of her ideas, she made up some neat snap clutch bags with the shape of a JDRF Walk Shoe on the outside and offered to donate a portion of all of her proceeds to JDRF as well!

One of my daughter-in-law’s friends that she has known since elementary school has a beautiful home and yard and offered to let us use it for our garden party!  We were up and running!

In order to keep admission free, we decided to ask everyone to bring their favorite dish and make it a pot luck!  We would provide the drinks and desserts!

So on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in September, we held our First Annual Silly Hats Garden Party!  Hats were not mandatory but we offered  an assortment anyone who cared to wear one!

Barbara was there showing her beautiful wall hangings

and clutch purses!

We had a Reflexologist and a Massage Therapist offering their services for $1 a minute!

We had an incredible variety of absolutely delicious dishes to choose from

and over 40 friends enjoying the food, drink and company of each other!

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Some of our friends even donated raffle items and not only were we able to introduce a new Type 1 family to JDRF at this event, we raised a little money to help with the cure!

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Silly Hats & Caps Write Up!!

Published in JDRF Orange County’s January 2012 Newsletter!

Volunteer Spotlight: Silly Hats & Caps

What exactly is Silly Caps & Hats? Founder Jeanne Mansfield tells us “I had always wanted to be part of the Red Hats’ Society when I retired,” but she gave it a different twist. She started by gathering a group of people with whom she could meet on a weekly basis for a common purpose.  They would share friendship, fun, and camaraderie in the process, and while it began with her close friends, it would be open to anyone who wanted to join.

Their purpose was easy to define: to build awareness of JDRF and type 1 diabetes, and to create opportunities for people to get involved –whether for outreach, friendship, social activities or fundraising.  Jeanne and Bob’s grandson Robby has type 1 diabetes, and they have been involved with JDRF ever since he was diagnosed several years ago.  “One of the big reasons that JDRF was the chosen charity, besides the fact that my friends all know and love Robby and want a cure for him, they also learned that JDRF research is shared and is helping many other auto-immune diseases as well!  They all have family with some form of autoimmune disease and feel that Silly Hats is helping them as well.”

In addition to their regular meetings, they have been engaged in many activities: representing JDRF at volunteer and health fairs, creating centerpieces for our Walk activities, and many grass roots fundraisers, including a garden party, pot lucks, bowling, a cookbook and the first annual Peanut Butter & Jelly Golf Tournament, to name a few. The ideas keep on coming!

So where do the hats come in? “The hats are a real conversation starter.  Every time someone asks who we are, it gives us a chance to share our purpose with them – tell them about type 1 diabetes and why we need to find a cure for our loved ones.”  She adds, “of course, it’s just plain fun to be a little silly and see who has the craziest contraption on their head!”

There were six people at their initial meet-up last April: Jeanne and her husband Bob, their friends Jan and Bob Woolford and Diane and Bob Bratcher.  More people have joined the group, with 22 people showing up to their last gathering.  And according to Jeanne, the more, the merrier!  They meet Tuesdays and 8:30 a.m. at Watson’s in downtown Orange.

Silly Hats & Caps are a great example of how a small group of people with an idea can make a difference.  If you would like to join Jeanne, or have an idea that you would like to pursue, please contact Melissa Soderbloom, our volunteer coordinator.

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Exactly What Does Being an Advocate Mean?

 What is a JDRF Government Relations Advocate?


Who are they?

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Advocates are people just like you and me who want to make sure that diabetes research stays at the top of the  government’s funding agenda.  They are moms, dads, brothers, sisters, grandparents.  Some are rich and some are poor and most of them are somewhere in between.  They come from all different walks of life.  Some have years of education and others haven’t finished high school.  But they all know that researchto find a cure for diabetes is a very important issue and must continue to have money allocated for that research.

JDRF funds much of that research but the United States Government is the world’s largest funder of biomedical research – billions of dollars are allocated every year to its primary research establishment, the National Institute of Health (NIH). Elevating diabetes research to the top of the federal government’s funding agenda – and keeping it there until a cure is found – is JDRF’s primary advocacy goal

What do they do?

All it takes to become a JDRF Advocate is to sign up.  Then every now and then (maybe 3 or 4 times a year) you get an email that asks you to call or email your elected officials.  JDRF gives tells you who to get in touch with, gives you the link or script and all it takes is a minute or two!  My first phone call to my congressman’s office I WAS TERRIFIED!

 But once I made the call, I realized that the person on the other end of the phone was no different than you or me…they were there to answer the phone and give a message to their boss!   All I was doing was leaving that message…

Why be an Advocate?

Why?  Why not?  The only way our loved ones will ever be able to take a vacation from this crappy disease is if a cure is found!  If all it takes to make a difference in speeding that cure is an email or a phone call, why would we not become an advocate?  

Because one phone call really can make a difference.

One email really can make a difference.

Because one vote really can make a difference!

Making phone calls, sending emails and visiting elected officials is so easy, compared to what our loved ones live with every day.  If we can put face to diabetes and change the vote of one congressman or senator…it could make the difference in funding that one research project that would have found the cure!!

To become a JDRF advocate and MAKE A DIFFERENCE please follow this link and sign up today! http://takeaction.jdrf.org/site/PageServer?pagename=Registration_Page

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With a little help from a Ninja!


August 1, 2011 was the start of JDRF’s Promise to Remember Me Campaign.  The purpose of the “Promise Campaign” is to make sure that all of our legislators remember us and our loved ones living with diabetes when they are making important decisions that will affect anyone living with Diabetes.   It is our hope that by meeting face to face with each of our congressmen and women and senators and telling them how diabetes has affected us and our families, they will be able to put a face to the disease and vote for issues that will make living with diabetes easier, healthier and safer and bring us closer to a cure.

As the advocacy team leader for our local Orange County Chapter, it is one of my responsibilities to make sure we secure appointments with both of our California Senators and all 5 Congressmen.  As with the Promise Campaign, I always feel it is better to do things in person whenever possible.  So my husband and I decided to have a get-together at our home, provide a simple dinner, talk about the Promise Campaign and develop a strategy to accomplish meeting with our representatives.

We sent out the invitation to the advocates from all 5 congressional districts in our area.  We had 25 passionate JDRF advocates join us.   We all shared our stories with each other while eating dinner.  After eating and visiting,  the OC’s and DOC’s very own Ninjabetic, George Simmons gave a great presentation about his journey with diabetes and why advocating for JDRF, diabetes and the DOC is so important.  We then had someone from each of the 5 districts volunteer to get in touch with their congressman and get a meeting with them scheduled!

That was back in the last part of July…Today I am so happy and proud to say that the OC has the most awesome advocates around.  As of this Friday we will have completed 100% of our Promise meetings, 5 for 5 for Orange County!!  Each meeting was attended by awesome advocates who shared their stories of how living with diabetes has affected them and their families.  They have given faces to Type 1 Diabetes and hopefully when these representatives return to DC and cast their votes on issues that affect diabetes care and cure, they will remember these awesome advocates, young and old!

One of the congressmen we met with has a friend who has some major problems because of diabetes.  He “gets it”!   He has seen first hand, why it is so important to find a cure.  He told us that even though there is no money and things are really tough in DC, he is still going to try and get an increase in diabetes research funding next year!!

Two years ago we had a promise meeting with one of our representatives and that person lumped all diabetes into the same pot…saying that the reason for so many new cases of diabetes was because of people’s diets today….Well, this year..you could tell some serious homework had been done…When one of the children was showing how her pump worked, the congressperson shared with us how her parents have the “other kind” of diabetes!  She is starting to “get it”!

We left this bouquet of flowers with pictures of some of each congressperson’s advocates pictures on them and asked them to “PLEASE REMEMBER ME”!

If you had not had the opportunity to attend a “Promise to Remember Me” meeting, I would highly recommend that you contact your local JDRF office or me, to see how you can attend a  meeting in your area.  Whether or not you agree with the Congressman’s political views is not important…but building a relationship with them is.   Putting a face on diabetes is the first step in getting them all to “GET IT”!!

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