Monday, January 12, 2009

JDRF Awards

As most of you know, last night was the JDRF Awards ceremony here. It was our first time attending. I must say that it turned out to be quite an emotional evening. We arrived in Va Beach about 45 minutes before the ceremony was due to begin. During that time, I started chatting briefly with others mingling around. I got to meet Lori Camden. Lori is the one who mailed us the Bag of Hope, the bag with Rufus. She recognized Kacey from pictures I've emailed her, and of course, the event wouldn't be complete without Rufus in tow. I stood there talking to her like I'd known her forever.
Then there was an artist that brought a canvas with fish drawn on it. Each child had a chance to paint a fish. This painting will go to auction and the money raised will go directly to JDRF. How cool is that? Last year, the painting was sold for $7000! The buyer of the painting, Kacey's Endo doc office. Very neat!
About 20 minutes before the ceremony was due to start, the people really started to show up. I had no idea that this was a catered event either! I was just blown away at how nice everything was. So we're sitting there waiting for Kacey's name to be called and this man walks over to our table. He speaks to the other woman sitting there and she goes on to introduce him to Kacey and tell him she was only diagnosed 6 months ago. He knelt down beside her and began to tell her how his son was 16 and diagnosed at 3. He is on a pump and does everything any other child does. He asks her if she's on a pump yet? Her reply, "No, not yet and I wanted to ask Santa for one but Mommy said Dr. R had to give it to me." This grown man actually teared up! He kissed her forehead and went on to tell her that they were doing all they could to raise money to find a cure. He walked over to me and said "You must me Mom?" I laughed and he bent down to my ear and said "You make sure that little girl gets her pump and if you run into any financial problems with it then you call me personally! My son is 16 and was diagnosed at 3 and the pump changed our lives and I want to see each and every child have the same chance as well as every parent getting the break that I did!" I was floored! Who is this man? He went on from table to table talking to people. Many seemed to know him, but I didn't. Why didn't I know who he was? So I asked the lady sitting at our table who he was and come to find out he was the president of the board. Wowwwwww! He then asked for all of the people with diabetes to stand up. Thats when I got really emotional. About 50% of the room stood up. Some wore their pumps proudly where they could be seen while others hid them in nice dresses and others were not wearing pumps at all. I was shocked to see that there were as many adults standing as children. Adults that had lived with diabetes for 20-30 years just like my fellow D-bloggers. This was the first time I'd been in the company of so many diabetics in the same room. And...I was just amazed at the outpour of love and support in that room!

Kacey received the Golden Sneaker Award but then we had no idea that our team would be getting an award as well. Our team got the Silver Award and we got a really nice hanging plaque. We got some really good fundraising ideas and I'm looking forward to starting them this year.

We got in the car to come home and I heard sobbing from the back seat. I turned back to see Kacey crying. I asked her what was wrong and it took her a few minutes to compose herself enough to tell me "I'm just so happy!" it wasn't long before I ended up in tears as well. It seemed to be an emotional evening for all of us :) but definately an evening full of wonderful memories and Kacey is excited to start fundraising this year too!


Scott K. Johnson said...

Jill, what a great post.

The JDRF events often cause me to get all emotional too.

Karen said...

Oh my gosh, what a wonderful night. I'm tearing up too, just reading about it!

Lynnea said...

Yep....had me crying. Sounds like you had a really great night. It's events like this that keep us going!!

Jill said...

Thanks Scott, Karen & Lynnea!

I was fine until that man asked all the diabetics to stand up. Watching Kacey stand with all those other people just overwhelmed me. I just couldn't believe how many people sitting in there had diabetes. From then on, through the night I cried. LOL thats why none of those pics have me in them. My eyes were so red!

Colleen said...

Wow! Thanks for giving us all the details. Sounds like a super evening with super people. And yeah, tears here, too.

Cara said...

I would have given just about anything to have been there! I am soooo glad that you guys got that award. I am amazed at what you were able to raise. I have only done 1 walk and that was in 2007. I raised almost $400. It was nice, but I think that you did an extraordinary job!
I would have been in tears too!!!!!