Brad is 12 years old and he is the son of my best friend from high school. I didn't get to see much of Brad when he was younger; my best friend and I hadn't spoken for about 10 years (give or take). We didn't have a big fight or a falling out ... I think we just sort of let life get in the way. But thanks to MySpace we found each other again and picked up like no time had passed at all.
The first time I had seen her after all this time was at my son's 2nd birthday party and she came with her children. Her son was 9 at the time and had just recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. She came with a backpack loaded with supplies, notebooks to write down what he ate and when, stuff to bring his sugar up and medication to bring it down, test strips and glucose tablets ..... just lots of stuff. She had told me about when they had realized he was sick. The scariness of finding your child in the middle of the night lethargic and talking gibberish ..... going to your hospital to have him rushed to another state to Boston's Children's Hospital ...... to finally getting him stable and getting the news that your child's life would never be the same. They got a very quick lesson in diabetes and my best friend was handed a needle and said here .... stick you son, it will keep him alive, here is some medication .... now head home and change your entire world.
I'm not sure what I expected when I met him. I was not prepared for the lively, smiling, active kid that I met. Not a complaint about haveing his finger pricked to have his blood checked, no whining about fixing his sugar levels. I am not sure what I expected, but what I got was a kid .... just your average, run-of-the-mill kid. I was amazed. At this point I had lived with my illness for about 2 years. I have always thought that a positive attitude was the best medicine. So I was convinced that this kid would grow up and find a cure for diabetes. He just seemed to accept all the horrors of this disease as inconveniences not worthy of much discussion or debate (I think that also has something to do with my best friend being a fabulous mom). And I have wondered often if I, as an adult, could go through this kind of life altering diagnosis and come out as unscathed on the other side.
To top it all off, this amazing kid asked his mom .... some six months after being diagnosed, if he could participate in a 3-mile walk to raise money for a cure. How could his mom refuse that! So, on the fly they created a team: Brad's Bruisers and they walked.
He is now 12-years-old and is still your run of the mill kid getting ready to be a teenager. He hangs out with friends, fights with his little sister, and occasionally talks back to his mom; just a normal kid. And he is getting ready to walk his 4th walk to find a cure. I hope that you will visit his page and give him a hand. I know that times are tough, but I also know that heroes are hard to come by and to find one in a 12-year-old boy needs to be rewarded! What better reward than helping them at best find a cure .... at the least find a way to make his life a little easier and more tolerable. Every dollar counts!
If you would like to find out more about JDRF or donate to Brad's team click HERE!
If you need more information about Type 1 Diabetes click HERE!
So, I was thinking about how I would write this blog on my drive home. And on the radio there was an interview with Roger Ebert of Siskel & Ebert fame. It is amazing how you can find a hero when you least expect it.
I have to admit, I never watched the show. While I enjoy movies, they never really were my life-blood if you know what I mean. listening to this story I am wishing I had watched him more often. He again is someone who has been struck by illness and just seems to embrace life more than most healthy people I know. He has battled several cancers and the devastating results of reconstructive surgeries that haven't worked. He can no longer speak, but continues to do the work he loves via blogs (you will notice I added it to my blogs of note), Twitter and voice recognition software. It is amazing how sometimes you can learn something about someone you have never given a second thought and all of a sudden you wish you could meet them and shake their hands.
Two heroes in one day .... funny how life works!