Yesterday ranks right up there as one of my best days with diabetes. It’s not because I had stellar glucose numbers or managed to stay away from foods that I shouldn’t eat (although both of those things happened). What made yesterday so great is the feeling I had of doing something positive and helpful for the diabetes community as a whole. I walked, for the first time, in the American Diabetes Association’s Walk to Stop Diabetes. It. Was. AWESOME!
My alarm woke me at 5:30 AM, which is rough for this retired chicky, and I was on the road by 6:30. I had to drive about 1 ½ hours to get to the event. I registered and got my Red Strider hat (a Red Strider is someone who walks and has diabetes) and some other freebies then stood around waiting. I didn’t know a soul and was planning to walk alone. While we were waiting for the event to begin I struck up a conversation with another woman. She was also walking alone so we decided to walk together. She was there because she knew someone who was involved and decided to come at the last minute. In the sea of heads preparing to walk, very few were wearing red hats. That means that the majority of people who were there were there to support the fight against diabetes even though they aren’t personally affected by the disease. I think that’s so cool.
The weather was fabulous and the planned route, while not difficult, was hilly enough to be a challenge. We took off and got to know each other a bit as we walked. My companion had to leave early so we parted and I continued to walk alone. Along the way I spoke briefly with some of the other walkers. It felt good to be out there walking among others who are passionate enough about fighting diabetes to give up their Saturday morning.
I walked FAST! Since I didn’t have anyone to chit-chat with for most of the walk I just trucked on. I actually felt an obligation to kick this walk’s butt, not because walking faster or longer would bring in more money, but because I have diabetes. There I was wearing my bright red hat. Anyone who saw me knew that I have diabetes. It occurred to me that I wanted to be seen as someone who is healthy and active and able to truck on up those hills despite the fact that I have diabetes. It’s not that I felt that people were watching me, per se, but I really wanted to be a shining example of someone with diabetes. Besides, if there was an elderly person ahead of me, and there were a few, I couldn’t let them beat me! Ha! Near the end of the walk I found myself beside a woman who is a bit older than I am. She made some comment about running past the last rest station, making it look like we’d run the whole way. I looked at her and said, “let’s do it!” We broke into a jog and passed the table with the cheering volunteers. Woo hoo!!!
At the end of the walk we were treated to breakfast and some raffle stuff. I made a point of introducing myself to the organizer because I wanted to make some contacts that might be willing to speak to my support group. She introduced me to someone who introduced me to someone else and the next thing I knew, I was standing in a circle with one of the honchos from the Phoenix ADA and a family from Flagstaff whose son has T1 and are very passionate about diabetes education. The upshot was that we may be able to organize a walk in Flagstaff in the future, which is a community that is only 30 minutes from my home! I also handed out several of my “business cards” for my blog and am hopeful that I will be able to get some speakers to come to our support group meetings in the future.
Did I mention that: It. Was. AWESOME!!? All day yesterday, sore legs and all, I had such a feeling of accomplishment and do-goodness. I managed to raise $628 all by myself, which exceeded my $500 goal. Next year I will return with a team. I’m thinking healthy bake sales and contribution cans at each check-out line at the grocery store. My mind is reeling with ideas of ways to bring in even more donations. Next year I will again contribute to kicking diabetes’ butt. There is no better feeling than doing something for the greater good. I highly recommend that you try it sometime.