This is not the green bracelet post I promised. Still working on that.
Each year at the Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference individuals are recognized and awarded a plaque identifying them as Unexpected Heroes.
As a conference attendee I am not privy to why or how individuals are chosen. I have great faith in the CWD organization and I am certain that deciding who to recognize is a difficult process – I mean so many individuals put so much into making FFL an amazing experience for all of us.
What I want to do is recognize a few individuals that are heroes in my book. I can’t present them with a beautiful plaque or standing ovation but I can offer them my respect and appreciation for what they do and who they are.
First up – Richard Vaughn
Richard has been living well with diabetes for over 67 years. That is 60 years longer than my youngest son. He is the author of ’64 Years of Diabetes Health’ and author of his blog Richard’s Rambling Review. Sadly I was never able to sit and chat with Richard – not that I didn’t try to find him during meals, I would have happily broke bread with him. I did have the opportunity to introduce myself briefly, shake his had and pose for a photo with some other wonderful friends.
I saw Richard from a far a number of times during the conference. He walks with great confidence but is also very humble and certainly looks the part of a college professor (now retired), Hands clasp behind his back and his eyes scanning the world with constant curiosity.
When I read Richard’s words it gives me hope, and strength. I don’t ever imagine my kids with diabetes doing less than all they dream to do but still knowing Richard has done so much and lives so well is inspirational. I doubt that he ever set out to be such an inspiration which makes what he has done, is doing and who he is all the more meaningful. I hope when Richard returns to Friends For Life he will host a break-out session and I will be able to attend to hear him speak.
Next up – Moira Stanford
Moira is a mom of an adult with type 1 diabetes. Of course her daughter wasn’t an adult when she was diagnosed with Type 1. Moira shares her struggles and strengths in her book Raising Teens with Diabetes just recently published and already a 5 star book on Amazon. I was able to pick up a copy of her book back on June 25th. Sadly I haven’t had a whole lot of time to read it just yet (house guest and traveling ate up all my time between June 25th and now but it is at the top of my nightstand book collection already with pages dog-eared.) Here is one of the glowing reviews Moira’s book recently received. She is also the author of the blog Despite Diabetes. I’ve been reading Moira’s blog for sometime and she is and has been a real inspiration – leaving me with a desire to be as good as she is and was while raising her daughter.
Moira spoke at the opening breakfast of the conference. Her words of wisdom, strength and support resonate with me. Being part of the “yes” club is my highest priority with my kids. Allowing them – encouraging them to do everything they want to do and not allowing diabetes to deter us – them. I’ve not always been successful with being part of the “Yes” club. My biggest challenge is sleep-overs but that was gonna be a challenge without diabetes based on my husbands up-bringing and the idea that kids should always sleep at home or only with family. Moira’s message about the ‘yes’ club wasn’t only about encouraging our kids. It spoke to us Dmoms as well. Despite diabetes Moira and her daughter have continued to do what they love. Moira didn’t hang up her skis (HUGE fan of downhill skiing and quite the acrobat on skis) or allow her career to be derailed and still her daughter is successful, healthy and a strong person and advocate – perhaps more so because of Moira’s strength and perseverance as a guide. I see that lesson as don’t be a bad example for our kids – don’t give up what we love because of diabetes – we wouldn’t want them to, so why should we?
Thank you Moira for your words, your inspiration and your friendship. It is all as priceless as you.
Last up but not at all the least – Meri of Our Diabetic Life
Meri is a hero to many for her words on Our Diabetic Life, for her tireless support and her limitless love. Meri was asked to speak at the opening breakfast. She was asked to share her love for a man near and dear to the diabetes community. Meri loves with her whole heart, her entire soul – if love is a person it walks the earth as Meri. Meri is also no stranger to loss and hearing her share her loss with the entire community as we all mourn the loss of Richard Rubin, an extraordinary member of the diabetes community, was a humbling experience. Meri’s words and story make me want to love harder, love louder, love more unconditionally, treasure the moments I have with my family and friends and say “Thank you for another day”.
If you read my silly ol’blog you undoubtedly already read Meri’s. But in case you missed it, here is Meri’s post about the time she made us all love more (she doesn’t call it that – but that’s what it is to me).
Thank you Meri, Moira and Richard. You all make me want to be a better person.
You are my Heroes.