Let’s face it, I’m really not sure there will be a cure for Type 1 Diabetes in my lifetime. I do know though, I will absolutely be part of finding the cure for Type 1 Diabetes. This dream, idea, vision of mine has grown with intensity as I’ve gotten older. I’ve been a T1D for 34 years. That’s a long time.
I became involved with JDRF, because of my parents. JDRF was their calm in the storm after I was diagnosed in 1979. JDRF was still in its infancy at the time, but now stands the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. JDRF and the families my parents met, managed to give my family HOPE. My parents passed this HOPE along to me. At 6 years old, my parents showed me what it’s like to pour your self into a cause and to BELIEVE. (check out my Mom’s 4-letter word)
In 2001, I founded Alecia’s Stem Cells in New York City with a tremendous amount of help from my friends. A lot of things have changed in my diabetes world since that time. One thing that hasn’t changed though is that our team is still based on friends and family who are willing to sacrifice their time and money (and often lend their creativity). They too will BE part of the Cure.
Alecia’s Stem Cells has had teams walk in Queens, Manhattan/Brooklyn, Boston and Los Angeles. Our team has raised OVER $200,000 towards JDRF’s mission to cure diabetes by funding crucial research! This is incredible and this is because of YOU! YOU too are part of the CURE.
This past November, I was asked to speak along with Michael Strahan at a JDRF NYC Fundraiser. It was a fun event but most importantly, it gave me a chance to share my view. I got to tell parents of T1D kids about my story. How I’ve been diabetic for 34 years, about how I DO understand how they may be angry that there isn’t a cure yet, but how I am proof positive of how technology has changed and is advancing diabetes care and treatments. I told them how I envy their children. I told them that the glucose monitors and insulin pumps I use along with their children simply didn’t exist when I was their child’s age. I told how to check my glucose levels,I would pee in a cup and add some chemicals and that gave a glucose “range”. THAT range that was flawed. I showed off my Continuous Glucose monitor that I wore on my arm. I explained how these technologies are not a cure BUT they are advances. They are advances that come from critical research. Research is the key component of JDRF.
This June, I was honored to be voted to the Board of JDRF NYC. At the same time, I also became the Coordinator of JDRF’s Adult Type 1 Group. Both of these opportunities will hopefully enable me to take another step in my NEED to make a difference. Government advocacy and peer-to-peer support? Yes, sign me up. There’s a third part to this news though. I consider it my diabetes TRIFECTA. I’ve started the process to participate in diabetes clinical trials. Maybe Alecia’s Stem Cells should be Alecia’s Lab Rats?
So one last thought, I’m 40 years old now. I think about how someday I won’t be here anymore, but hey, none of us will. I wonder what my legacy will be. I hope that my nephew and soon to be either niece or nephew live healthy and happy lives and have families of their own. Maybe they will mention me as their creative aunt. I HOPE they remember that I always followed my heart. I REALLY HOPE they never have to worry about T1D in their own children. I HOPE that someday they talk about how their aunt had a friend who told her one time that there are two types of people… victims, and ass-kickers and their Aunt Alecia was an ass-kicker and yes, she helped cure diabetes.
I am not willing to sit back and wait for change. I will be part of it. Be part of it with me. Grab your sneakers and walk with me. Walk for the other 3 million people in the US who are also fighting T1D. Walk for hope. WALK FOR MY HOPE. Support our team. CHEER US ON!
You can join and/or support Alecia’s Stem Cells at: http://www2.jdrf.org/goto/AleciasStemCells
Alecia the Ass-kicker
AWESOME post. Being on the T1D Voices Council has given ME a unique perspective on this whole thing. For the first time in 39 years, I feel like my life is marginally less FUTILE. I have SEEN the future. And while a BIOLOGIC cure is still a ways off, I SAW the ViaCyte encapsulated beta cell prototype in Jeffrey Brewer’s hand. They will be going into clinical trials soon, and I will be on that list. The Artificial Pancreas is already in trials, and not just the one that suspends when you are high…this is TREAT to RANGE technology. They have isolated more than 30 genes that are markers for diabetes, and NOT type 2 diabetes. A vaccine could happen….I have never been more inspired and energized as I have been after attending the One Conference last week in DC…..and we WILL Turn Type One into Type None. Over a billion dollars has been raised by the walks….$20 at a time, more than 50 clinical trials THANKS to JDRF funding. FDA approval THANKS to JDRF lobbying. Better treatments and more effective tools THANKS to JDRF research…the cure, when it comes, in whatever form it comes, will be THANKS to JDRF!
Fabulous story and you are a d-superstar. Thanks for everything that you’re doing for those of us with Type 1.
Thanks Laddie. There’s always a lot of Walk Team chaos but somehow it all works out in the end (well the day of). It’s invigorating and then I sleep like I’m in a coma! xo
I saw this in my email earlier today and thought “Wow, that’s an awesome letter! Maybe I should steal it.” (despite still being a few months away from 40 and never meeting Michael Strahan). Now I have the privilege of reading it again today. This is pure, inspirational brilliance. Nicely done!
Alright, here’s what we do…. Change the age to 39 and photoshop your head into the pics. The dress is flattering to everyone. Trust me! Seriously, thanks Scott! Means a lot.
Ahhh yes! So happy to see your letter. I now have some ideas to tweak mine next year for our adult onesies team 🙂 If you ever want some ideas for your adult outreach, I would love to get you in touch with our JDRF Dish and Dine crew. We do lots of fun stuff 🙂
OMG, Alecia, you kick so much ass. I love it. 🙂
Pingback: No islets in T-E-A-M - Moments of Wonderful - JDRF walk | Moments of Wonderful