Summary: Participating in diabetes walks and bike rides are a great way to help raise money for diabetes research and programs as well as connect with other families also dealing with diabetes. This excerpt from the “Getting Involved” chapter of my book Kids First, Diabetes Second is about fundraising.
Fundraising is often done through walks, rides, and gala events. Of course awareness is elevated through these events, but the goal is to raise a substantial amount of pooled money, usually for a designated entity, such as one of the major diabetes organizations—the American Diabetes Association (ADA) or the JDRF—or for a specific group conducting cure-based research.
Both the ADA and JDRF walks are family events that take place across the country and are put on by the local chapters of each organization. The walks are typically one to three miles in length. You can raise money online before the walk by e-mailing friends and family and asking for donations. You can also set up an online donation page including your family’s story and a photo of your child. Signing up as a team is fun, especially if you can come up with a catchy team name, maybe a play on your child’s name, and a great logo. Wearing matching t-shirts on the day of the walk shows your solidarity as a team and demonstrates the support of the team members to your child. Because my daughter has a love of superheroes, and because we think she’s an awesome hero, our team wears capes each year. People with diabetes participating in the ADA walks can sign up as a “Red Strider,” and each will get a red baseball cap which identifies him or her as a person with diabetes.
The good thing with the ADA and JDRF walks is that there is no fundraising minimum. Let’s face it, some years you have extra time, energy, and motivation, and you raise a ton of money. Other years, you just don’t have it in you, and that’s okay. But don’t let that keep you from signing up on walk day. I consider these events more than just fundraisers. I see them as a day to celebrate my daughter and show her that we support her. Whether our family wrote a check for fifty dollars or we raised a thousand dollars, it’s not always about the money we put in the envelope.
Q usually pairs off with a friend who also has diabetes and takes off on the walk course. It gives me a chance to walk with the other child’s d-mom, and chat about diabetes and how the kids are doing. I remember one year Q and her friend kept running ahead and then doubling back, over and over. They covered way more than the mile we had set out to walk. Needless to say, they both had low blood sugar! It’s also good for Q to see all the other kids and adults wearing red caps and know she’s not alone in this. Though I will say, I cry every time I write out our name badges that say “I’m walking for …” I write “Q” on the badges that each of her teammates will wear, and on the last one, the one that is for her, I write “myself.” Gets me every time!
If you are more hardcore, maybe you should consider a bike ride. Annual rides are 30 to 100 miles in length and are offered at a limited number of locations throughout the country. Not only must you get your body in shape—training for a ride like this takes months—but there is also a fundraising minimum to participate of $2,000 or more. The good news is that both JDRF and ADA have team leaders to help you train and reach your fundraising goal.
If you’d like to learn more about the book, you can read more on the Kids First, Diabetes Second book page. It’s available widely in print and as an eBook from book sellers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and IndieBound. And if you do read it and find it to be a valuable resource, I would greatly appreciate if you could write a review on any of the online retail sites. Thanks!
Please remember that I never give medical advice. Ask your endocrinologist or pediatrician for advice about your own child. Make your own informed decisions for your own child.