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Forget Me Not!

Two years ago this February I was asked to be our local chapter’s Advocacy Team Leader.  At the time, I had no idea what that entailed, but I knew it was an honor to be asked and I made a promise to do whatever I could to help find a cure for my grandson..so the answer was a no-brainer “Yes”!

It was the middle of JDRF’s Promise to Remember Me Campaign and part of my responsibility was to schedule the “Promise” meetings with our congressmen.  I was able to schedule and meet with 2 of our congressmen.  I was so nervous, but both of those meetings were also attended by a few long time JDRF advocates who helped relieve my apprehension a little.   We shared our stories of living with diabetes, asked them to approve the upcoming Special Diabetes Program, thanked them and the meeting was “in the books”.

A month later I went to Washington DC as Orange County’s representative for JDRF’s Government Day!  One of the first people I met was a young mom from Central California.  She told me about the great “Promise” meeting she had with her Congressman and she told me something else that really stuck with me.  During that meeting, her young son gave his congressman a package of Tic Tac’s and explained to him that those are what he has to eat when his blood sugar is low and he gets shaky!   It was a visual reminder for the congressman to remember him!  Thank you Promise Co-Chair Laurie DeSchryver for sharing that story with me!!

For this Promise Campaign I realized we needed to help all of those voting on our behalf  REMEMBER US after our meetings as well!  My grandson Robby, and the reason for my passion, is now away at college and knowing that he would not be able to attend our Promise Meeting with his congressman.   I wanted to make sure that Congressman Campbell remembered him when he went back to DC and cast his votes so….

Flat Robby and his mom went to the Promise Meeting!

We have taken Flat Robby to 3 Promise meetings now and he has been a big hit at each one!  (Oh, and thanks again Laurie for bringing your Flat Grandma to Government Day last year, another inspiration )!

However, all of the members of congress need to REMEMBER ALL OF OUR LOVED ONES living with diabetes and so with a little help from our

 Silly Hats & Caps Advocacy Group

 we came up with several “leave behind” ideas that we now use and I have been asked to share them with you!!

 We made a bouquets of fabric flowers

 Each flower has the face of one of their constituents who is living with Type 1 Diabetes on one side

And simply ask them to remember on the back!

Promise to

Remember Me!

Caroline

We use a sneaker as the vase, to remind them of JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes!

We have one of the children carry the bouquet and start the meeting by giving it to their congressman.  It helps break the ice and get the conversation started!

I always ask the children attending the meeting if they would like share how they manage their diabetes with the congressman (show off their pump, test their blood sugar, etc).  That too seems to really grab the “members” attention and is a GREAT OPPORTUNITY to teach someone else more about diabetes!

Once the kids have broken the ice for the rest of us….the adults share their stories of how diabetes has affected their lives…as a person with Type 1, as a parent, as a grandparent etc.  At one of our meetings one of the mom’s emptied her purse on the table to show ALL OF THE SUPPLIES she had to carry 24/7 to manage her daughter’s diabetes and have on hand just “in case”!

We always check ahead of time to see if the member is on the Diabetes Caucus, or if they signed the FDA letter, or if they voted for the SDP, etc. and thank them for doing so.  If we have an “ask” we explain what we are asking of them and we leave a packet of informational material that JDRF has made available.  In that packet I always include a page that my grandson wrote the year after he was diagnosed..

Facts about Diabetes

In one day, I test my blood sugar 12 times

In one month, I will test 372 times

In one year, I will test 4,464 times

In my lifetime, I will test at least 424,080 times

I inject insulin into me 5 times a day

In one month, I will inject insulin 150 times

In one year, I will inject insulin 1,825 times

In my lifetime I will inject insulin 173,375 times

 As many as 3 million Americans may have Type 1 Diabetes

Each year over 13,000 children are diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S.  That’s 35 children each and every day!

Diabetes remains a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputations.

Please Help JDRF

 Find a CURE

My daughter-in-law came up with another awesome “leave behind” that we started using for our walk team, but are now using with Promise and other activities as well.

We take lifesaver candies,

attach a picture of someone in our chapter living with T1d and simply say..

Be a lifesaver and help find a cure”

These “Promise” meetings are so important to help put a face to Type 1 Diabetes.  If we can influence even one congressman’s feelings toward diabetes, it could mean the difference in the approval of funding of millions of dollars towards research.  The meetings last no more than 15 to 20 minutes and if we can leave something with them that will continue to remind them what we’ve taught them in that short time….we truly are making a difference!

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Filed under Advocacy, Government Day 2011, JDRF Walk to Cure, Promise to Remember, Silly hats and Baseball Caps

Silly Hats and Caps Update!

Last April I wrote about how some of our friends and I had decided to form a sort of advocacy group called the Silly Hats & Baseball Caps.  Well we’ve been meeting for breakfast every Tuesday Morning since then and have we been busy!

With Bob’s surgery and all, I am way behind in filling you in on what we’ve been up to.  But it is high time I start sharing some of the things we’ve accomplished!

  • First of all we have shortened our name to “Silly Hats & Caps”!
  • We have a purpose:

We are trying to make a difference

While having fun

Chatting, Laughing

and finding a Cure for Diabetes

  • We have a face book page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Silly-Hats-Caps/230127823715355  We would love for you to “like us”!
  • We hosted our First Annual Garden Party  http://wp.me/p1qABL-iT
  • We organized and held our First Annual Peanut Butter & Jelly Golf Tournament  http://wp.me/p1qABL-hD
  • We held a bowling get together for family and friends with diabetes  http://wp.me/p1qABL-ko
  • We have made 40 centerpieces for the JDRF Walk Kick Off Luncheon (and are also using a version of them as “leave behinds” for the JDRF Promise to Remember Me meetings with our congressmen http://bit.ly/GA8DWj
  • All of us Silly Hats got together for a wonderful Holiday Party
  • We met at the beach for a little exercise and a great lunch on the Pier
  • We collected favorite recipes from family, friends and JDRF Advocates and put together a Cook Book that we are selling with all proceeds going to JDRF!
  • Our local chapter did a write up on us in their monthly newspaper.  You can check it out here:  http://wp.me/p1qABL-iH
  • We volunteer at health fairs and other events sharing about JDRF and the need for a cure for Diabetes

In the next few days I hope to get you all caught up with more of the details of some of these things we have done!

I have to tell you that not only have we, as a group, accomplished so many things, it is wonderful to be able to meet every week with friends and know that you can laugh  and cry  and hug and share with others just because!!  Just like the DOC, but in person!

When Bob was in the hospital…they were all there, right by our side, laughing, chatting, and praying!  We are eternally grateful for our wonderful SILLY HATS & CAPS!

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Filed under Advocacy, Government Day 2011, JDRF Walk to Cure, Promise to Remember, Silly hats and Baseball Caps, Spreading Awareness

Meeting with some of my Hero’s!!

As most of you know..I am a grandmother and a Type 3 (once removed)!  That is..I do not have diabetes, my children do not have diabetes, it is my oldest grandson that was diagnosed with  Type 1 Diabetes!

As any of my friends and family will tell you, I am the definition of a Mother Hen!  Not necessarily a good thing, but none-the-less it is a part of who I am!!   “D” showed up 7 years ago and threatened a member of my family..  “D” did not just come in and  steal a part of my grandson (his pancreas), it took a piece of all of us and forever changed our family!  I HAD TO do what I could to make “D” give it back!

I volunteered with JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and started out just participating in the Walk to Cure Diabetes every year.  Then I became a JDRF Advocate and periodically wrote to my congressman asking him to please do what he could to make sure that diabetes research is funded so that a cure can be found as soon as possible.  And 2 years ago I was asked to be the Advocacy Leader.  Saying “no” is a very hard thing for me to say and thank goodness.  Being the JDRF Advocacy Leader I was invited to attend their Government Day in Washington DC.

And so it began….

At this year’s Government Day, I was introduced to the Diabetes Online Community.  Something I didn’t even know existed!  Listening to all of those young men and women talk about the DOC and the support it gives to its members , I knew I had to learn more.  I think it kind of started as a joke, but somehow this old gramma (thanks to Scott and Kerri) left DC that week with my own blog site and twitter account!

The DOC not only offers support to each other that is beyond description, it is so much more.  It is, in almost every sense of the word, FAMILY!  The members of the DOC laugh together, they cry together, they educate each other, they all love unicorns and cupcakes, they advocate, they vent their frustrations without being judged, they are there for each other 24/7, they encourage each other during tough times and they celebrate the victories!

They live their lives, day in and day out, 24/7 with no vacations from “D” and shout “YOU CAN DO THIS!”  with pride!  Each and every one of you living with diabetes are my heroes!

I am so grateful to George http://ninjabetic.squarespace.com

for inviting me to a D meet-up last Saturday. He is going to be speaking to some of our advocates next month about the DOC and I am so excited!

I got to see Scott http://scottsdiabetes.com/

and not only thank him again for setting me up with my own blog and twitter accounts, but I got to get one of his famous “BIG HUGS”!  He is for sure, one of my biggest heroes!!!

And I got to meet Jenny and her husband http://web.me.com/wyldceltic1

who loves Mac’s, her dogs and music!  She definitely has all things “APPLE”!

and last but not least…..

Brad Slaight aka “Meter Boy” http://www.captainglucoseandmeterboy.com/

who kept us laughing the whole time!  (Not to mention he is “half the man he used to be”!)

Thank you all for your courage, commitment and dedication to the DOC and  for making me feel so welcome at your table!

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Filed under Diabetes online Community, Government Day 2011, Grandchildren, JDRF Walk to Cure, Spreading Awareness, Thank you, Uncategorized

Silly Hats and Baseball Caps


As you may have figured out, JDRF’s Government Day 2011 really put a BEE IN MY BONNET!

Right before I attended Government Day, I was laid off from a job I had been at for almost 13 years.    Being a, not quite old enough to retire grandma, people aren’t exactly knocking down my door to offer me a job!!  I was used to working 10 to 12 hours a day and I need something to keep me busy.  ENTER THE D.O.C!!!

For several years my girlfriends and I had talked about joining the Red Hat Society!  For those of you who don’t know what that is, “The Red Hat Society began as a result of a few women deciding to greet middle age with verve, humor and elan. We believe silliness is the comedy relief of life, and since we are all in it together, we might as well join red-gloved hands and go for the gusto together. Underneath the frivolity, we share a bond of affection, forged by common life experiences and a genuine enthusiasm for wherever life takes us next.”

However, it was a little more structured than we really wanted or had time for and since many of us have been married to our high school sweethearts for almost 50 years and we are all are used to doing almost everything together…We decided we wanted to include our men in the get togethers!!   We wanted to meet often, look silly, laugh, love and we also knew we wanted to have a purpose!!

I have some of the most wonderful friends and because they all know of my passion to find a Cure for Diabetes, this has become their passion as well!  Hence…we now have “OUR PURPOSE”!
Some of the issues we are hoping to address include:
  • Like so many seniors, we are on limited incomes and we can not give money in a “big” manner, but want to help
  • There are many families that are struggling with the financial needs  living in So. California and then add to that, dealing with the health issues of a Type 1 child on a daily basis, not only is their time limited, so are their pocket books, but they too want to help
  • There are thousand of Adult Type 1’s out there, many of whom are struggling with health insurance, unemployment, young families,  health issues and a need to belong, but they too want to help
  • What can we do to get our legislators to understand the importance of better treatment and A CURE for Diabetes.  How do we get them to “get it”!!!
We had our first meeting Tuesday at one of the best good old-fashioned  drug stores in the country established in 1918.
Watson’s Drugs
at the Circle in Orange!!
YEP!!  WE LOOKED SILLY!!
But we had such a good time!!  People actually stopped by our table just to chat, and reminisce  and join in the fun!  We already have set a date for a softball tournament and have decided we will meet every Tuesday, same time, same place.  Some times there will be more of us and sometimes less…But at the very least, we will have an excuse to get together and along the way, we will be doing what we can to help the Diabetes Community.

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Filed under Diabetes online Community, Silly hats and Baseball Caps