Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Passport to Health - Dallas Schools Focus on Diabetes

I think I've mentioned a time or ten that I am working with our local JDRF chapter here in Dallas - I've taken on a relatively new role over the past few months, I'm the School Walk Coordinator for the School Walk Program. I have 67 counties (not all of them have schools in them though) that I am hoping to partner with to bring more attention to JDRF, Type 1 Diabetes and encourage kids to ask questions.
That brings me to what happened yesterday here in Dallas - the mayor of Dallas, Tom Leppert is partnering with the ISD Superintendents throughout the Metroplex to bring awareness to Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes. There was a press conference at City Hall, where parents were encouraged to bring our "ambassadors" to represent JDRF. There were some very "general" and by general I meant ignorant statements made about diabetes being "a choice" which upset more than one parent as it was not clarified that this guy was talking about Type 2, he then went on to say that his dr. had told him that if he continued losing weight and eating better he could stop taking his medication - which immediately caused my 5 year old to give me the stink-eye and that "we'll talk about this later" look.
The overall message is great, encouraging children to make good choices with their food, activities and what the symptoms and challenges can be with any kind of diabetes. Martellus Bennett from the Dallas Cowboys was there, another retired football player was there and then the schmuck that was recently diagnosed with Type 2 - all of these men spoke about Type 2. Then 8 year old Kendall took over the mike, talking about how many finger pokes andshots she's had since she was diagnosed at 2 years old - plus the trials she has at school, not playing at recess or not getting to eat her snack because of blood sugar issues - this little chickadee brought down the house. She was rewarded with a standing ovation and the forever admiration of Ms. J.
After the press conference, the players were signing tshirts, the mayor was taking pictures and I found him down on his knees talking to little G and Ms.J with this whole crowd around them. Next thing I know, he picks little G up, and she wraps her sweet little arm around his neck like they're old friends....and the Outreach Manager from JDRF took a great picture of that moment (see above). We met some new families and I was able to connect with this great mom of a 2 year old that was diagnosed at 12 months old.....she blogs and I need to find the paper she wrote her blog name down on. Overall, it was a good experience, I wish there was a different name for Type 2 diabetes so the generalizations don't become hurtful and that I had taken my camera.