Take Flight To Stop Diabetes


Friday November 9th, 2012 – Milwaukee, WI

   November is diabetes awareness month, so I gladly volunteered to take part in the ‘Take Flight to Stop Diabetes’ annual gala for the American Diabetes Association in Milwaukee tonight. I try to be of service whenever I can, but I especially want to help with anything to do with diabetes.

My own diagnosis of type 2 diabetes feels like two lifetimes ago. I have made and maintained a major lifestyle change because of it, and I feel better than I ever have. It was a shocking wake up call, but I heard it loud and clear. I’m going to keep hearing it and spread the word to others.

The ADA office in Milwaukee is filled with sweet people, and I have really enjoyed getting to know them. Sally Shepherdson is the director, and she’s an absolute peach. She’s down to earth and easy to deal with, and that trickles down to everyone else I’ve met who works in the office.

Tonight’s event was a big smash hit, and I was delighted to be a part of it. My job was to serve as the assistant auctioneer for the charity auction and lead in a game called ‘Heads/Tails’. That’s when a coin is flipped and people grab either their head or their tail to predict what the coin will land on. I had never seen that game before, but it was fun to do and I’ll remember it for later use.

The host of tonight’s event was Sally Severson from Channel 12. She’s a meteorologist and I’d heard her name for years but never met her in person. Well, that was definitely my loss. What an outstanding lady she is, and she’s been the annual hostess for these events for sixteen years now.

I didn’t ask what her reason was, and it’s really none of my business. I’m not sure if she herself has diabetes or not, but I will say she was all in for the cause and was as sincere as anyone I have ever met. She was there to help, and she did a magnificent job of keeping the event on schedule.

I was really impressed by her onstage and off, and I see why they keep having her back. I have seen television people who don’t have a clue how to handle themselves in a live situation, but not Sally. She took charge from the start, but offstage she treated everyone humbly and with respect.

These are the kind of people I want to be around, and the kind of person I try to be myself. In a perfect world, diabetes wouldn’t be a part of it – but it is. People who roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done are hard to find, but there was a room full of them tonight. I admire them.

One lady I especially admire is Michelle Alsweger. Her son Jesse passed away at age 13 from the disease, and she gave a moving presentation tonight which touched everyone in the room. If that alone didn’t make me want to donate my time and energy, nothing would. It was emotional, but also educational as it opened the eyes of everyone in attendance how diabetes affects us all.

I was not the star of the show tonight, nor did I intend to be. I just wanted to show my support and pitch in to help in any way I could. I hope I can be part of more events on behalf of ADA in Wisconsin and all over the country. I’ve been lucky to be able to keep my own diagnosis under control, but there needs to be a whole lot of education passed on to the masses. I’ll do my part.

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