Wednesday, November 9, 2011

D-blog Day: how has the online community helped you?

Today is national d-blog day. I was asked to participate with the hundreds of others who don't seem to mind the whole world knowing what goes on in their life. We were given two tasks. 1) to create a page for a book that will be at the Children With Diabetes (CWD) Friends for Life (FFL) conference and also to talk about what impact the online community/presence has made on life with diabetes - for me personally.

In 2002 I became a moderator for JDRF's Online Diabetes Support Team (ODST). Basically, I would get all of the emails that were sent to JDRF from families and was assigned the task of finding a great "cyber volunteer" to answer their questions. Back in 2002 I remember the occasional email coming in that no one wanted to see..."I lost my child to diabetes...can someone help me?" Of course at the time no one really could. We tried, but we couldn't fathom.

So many years have gone by and with the death of Jesse I've learned sadly two new ways the online world has been so very useful. First of all, I'm back on the ODST with one specific task - answering emails from families who have lost their children. Second, the world of grieving the loss of a child to diabetes you would think is small. It is not. Facebook and other social media has allowed us to unite into a new group that "no one wants to be a part of." And I'm damn lucky to have both. Because helping others as I always say - helps me. Without those other families I would be grieving quite alone.

So put to task here is my page for D-blog day. My page represents Mile 23(a mile of silence for those lost) and all that it stands for not only for Jesse - but for all the kids lost to this disease. Pictured are many different moments in Death Valley, CA, La Crosse, WI, Grandad's Marathon in North Carolina (My two favorite type 1 Triabetes athletes pictured Steve "Ninja" Ahn and Dave Shack) and Mile 23 of the Ironman Wisconsin. I literally cherish each picture I get where I know someone - anyone - spent a mile thinking about the death of my son and what it means to them. And surrounding the photo are the names of children I never met, but who's parents have become my friends - through our grief - we are united.

I was also asked to provide the blue circle that indicates World Diabetes Day. I did not have to create one. One was created when Trent Nicholson died at the age of 14. So for Jen & Bob Nicholson, this one is for you, baby. The bracelet says, "Find a cure for T1 Diabetes" and more importantly to me, "Remember Trent Nicholson."