Yeah, it’s a walk. Or a walkathon. But do you really know? Do we really know?
The ultimate ‘grassroots’ event is the walkathon. Created, according to some accounts, by the March of Dimes Organization a million years ago. Walks do not just happen. They are hugely labor intensive. When I landed in South Carolina in June, the JDRF Nation (which I understand to be, like a third-party event) group of volunteers organized a walk at the Pelican Stadium in Myrtle Beach South Carolina to benefit the JDRF.
No major staff time spent on this event; it was all volunteers. Kaitlyn’s Crusaders; Madi’s Dream to Live for a Cure; Lynden’s LifeGuards, Sophie’s Squad, Violet’s Petals, Skippy the LadyBug were just some of the team names. People impacted by diabetes. Individuals who wanted to do something, anything, to feel like they are making a difference.
The event was organized by Bonnie Mills, a mom. But not a mom to a child with diabetes. She works for Sanofi and has seen diabetes for over 20 years. She has seen a lot. She wanted to do more. She does not have to do it, and I’m sure, perhaps, her boss might even wonder why Bonnie does so much. But to these parents, there is no question that Bonnie is the driving force behind this event and to me, that does make good business sense.
But this is an event way beyond business. This is an event that runs on adrenaline and passion. Parents who told me it would be great if a cure could be found. As Bonnie put it, “100 people or 1,000 people, the spirit is awesome.” And she was right, it was. It is.
From the prizes to the group ‘All That’ who appeared on America’s Got Talent, to Raina, who sang the National Anthem, to the American Legion Honor Guard, to Spiderman and Arial, but most of all, to the kids. The kids who live with diabetes who want a cure. When you become involved for any length of time, you may forget how important these types of walks really are.
Not just for the money raised, but for being together as one unit that wants to stand up and say, “Diabetes will not stop us from anything.” John, Kaitlyn’s dad, tells her every day that she can do anything. Madi states, “I have diabetes, and I can do a lot of things,” Indeed.
If you need to remember what this ‘finding a cure thing’ is all about, or if you have been at this for a long time and think hoping for a cure is not worth the energy, stop by a walk on a weekend. In a stadium for a baseball team called the Pelicans, I found a group of people reminding all of us what all of this fundraising is all about. It was, is, and has always been about the kids who need to have hope. That, like a walk in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; begins with just one step.
I am a diabetes dad.