Promise me something...?
Promise me that you'll never forget that YOUR voice is important.
Promise me that you'll always remember that one voice - YOUR voice - can make a difference.
Promise me that you'll truly believe that your story and your perspective is not only unique... but important and valued.
Promise me that you'll believe in yourself. And in your ability to change the future.
Promise me that you'll stop letting things hold you back.
Because you are unique. Your perspective, your experiences, and your story and yours and yours alone. They make you who you are and they have influence. Not only to you or your family... but to the world.
Sometimes all it takes is one voice. One voice can make a difference.
And when that one voice combines with other voices who are all working towards the same goal???
Magic can happen.
This is the reason why I feel so strongly about being a diabetes advocate.
And the way that I have put this into action in my life is to become an advocate for JDRF and volunteer my time and energy to JDRF Advocacy.
So what does that actually mean? What does that really look like?
Well, in the past few months it means that I've been involved in JDRF's Promise to Remember Me campaign. The Promise campaign is a coordinated effort by JDRF Advocates to schedule and complete as many meetings as possible with their U.S. Representatives and Senators. Meetings are held at the Representatives' or Senators' local district offices, making it easier for more Advocates to speak face-to-face with their Members of Congress. These meetings are all about building relationships and telling your story.
This "Promise Season" we have had the pleasure of participating in three meetings. And we're hoping for two more! Each meeting is different. Each has it's own flow and vibe depending on the Member of Congress and the people attending. But ALL the meetings are special.
In January, Sweets and I participated in a Promise meeting with Representative Jean Schmidt.
We had the pleasure of meeting with Representative Schmidt the previous March when we were in Washington. And, to my surprise, she remembered us!
That day we were there to thank her for her support of the artificial pancreas and to urge her to continue to support diabetes research and funding. Also at the meeting were other children living with diabetes, parents, adults living with diabetes, and JDRF staff. We really had the whole spectrum covered!
One of the young girls was there with her mother. This teenager does not have diabetes. But her mother does. She spoke eloquently and emotionally about the challenges of growing up and having to be the one who takes care of her mother at times.
Representative Schmidt took quite a bit of time with us. She listened to every story. She asked questions. And she spoke to each child - encouraging them to continue with their activities and to never let diabetes hold them back.
A few days after meeting with Representative Schmidt, I got a call from her office saying that she would like to write about our visit for her online newspaper! Shortly after that, her article was published in a local paper. A few days after that, I got a call from a reporter at our large local paper who also wanted to talk to us about our meeting.
That article ran on the front page of the Neighborhood section. And I was thrilled to get notes from people in our community who also had children with diabetes - and a from people with no connection but wanted to know how they could help.
You just never know how one story, one meeting, one perspective... can impact people around you. And possibly... hopefully... change the future.
I don't tell you this to say, "Hey, Look at me! How awesome am I?!?"
Nope. Because I'll tell you a secret.
. I'm a ordinary mom. I'm an ordinary wife. I'm a typical D Mama. I'm a teacher and daughter and friend. Lord knows, I'm not perfect. I'm not a professional writer or speaker. I don't get paid to do any of this. We struggle to make our test strips last to end of the month, too. I've probably got some unwashed dishes in the sink and I KNOW I need to clean the bathroom. I've spent many nights laying awake and worrying about my child's future. I've gone in to her room to make sure she's still breathing. I've forgotten to bolus for a meal. I'm an ordinary gal.
But that's why this works.
We have celebrities to fight for our cause.
We need real people With real hopes and dream. With real concerns and problems. People with real stories.
We need people just like you.
So, promise me that you'll stop selling yourself short. You'll stop being afraid. You'll stop thinking you don't have time. You'll stop telling yourself that your story doesn't matter.
Because it does.
And we need YOU to tell it.
You just never know what impact you will make...
To find out more about the Promise to Remember Me campaign, click HERE. Meetings are still taking place across the country. Check the Promise site or your local JDRF Chapter to find out how you can get involved!