We are so excited to share details about our upcoming Cabaret Night on March 11. What started out a couple years ago as an event to help us offset some fundraising has turned into an EVENT! And we are proud of what it has become.
For those new to DA4D and our Cabaret Night, we planned it as a way to combine several of our passions: finding a cure for Type One Diabetes, Live Music, Theatre, and Food & Drink!
The night will feature several local and regional performers, ranging from traditional cabaret performances of theatre music, pop music, and folk music, to world-renowned (not exaggerating) Irish dancing, to some stand-up comedy, and more! Last year's show had performers from age 6 to about age 50! It's a great group! And this year, I will have a co-emcee in Vanessa Belani, a well-known personality in our area (and a dia-badass as well!).
We also feature a silent auction, which will include some great items. Baskets full of Hershey products, gift certificates to a variety of local vendors, wine, sports memorabilia, game baskets, apparel, and more. We recently heard from people at ESPN, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the New York Yankees: all sending something to us for the auction!
Of course, good food and drink will be on hand. And this year, we will be offering a custom brew we are making with the brewer at Tattered Flag: our own official ButterBeer! So come join us for a fun evening.
Sit back and enjoy the entertainment, relax over some good food and drink, and maybe even go home with an item or two from the silent auction! Hope to see you at Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works on March 11!
We did it!
The JDRF One Walk was held last Sunday in nearly perfect conditions. Sunny, cool, breezy, mayfly-free (a big deal on City Island in Harrisburg!), and really just a picturesque location. We truly had an Army of supporters there to support Davis and cheer him on. And I always try and take a step back to appreciate that. I like to remind HIM of that as well, that all of the funds we raise, all of the shirts we sell, all of the attention and love is because of him. I might coax some people along from time to time, but truly Davis is the heart (and pancreas!) of the operation.
What started out as an attempt to at least reach our initial goal of $7,500, took on a life of its own. Our expectations for this year were not that high because we have been doing this for a few years, and interest often wains. But my dear family and friends, what we saw this year was incredible. What we saw this year was not just another effort in fundraising and support. What we saw was an actual movement.
And as we try to process all this goodness directed our way, it continues to come our way. Several people have contacted us about still donating, and still buying tee shirts. Both options are still possible. If we get enough interest I can place another shirt order. I'll advertise this on its own.
As we sit in amazement while the dust settles, we must look ahead as well. The official kickoff of our 2017 campaign will be Saturday, March 11, when we hold our Third Annual Cabaret Night. We are excited to announce it will be held in town this year, at Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works. Such a great community partner!
We must thank you all again for the generosity, support, prayers, and love you have given. This is an amazing effort, and shows why we are not just a team, but an ARMY! Thank you for being our light.
Fittingly on this, the start of National Diabetes Awareness Month, Davis had a regular appointment with his Certified Diabetes Educator at the endocrinologist's office.
Walking in there should be routine by now, as we are there at least three times a year. But that lobby always strikes me back to the first day we went there, to confirm his diagnosis and start treatment on December 12, 2012 (yes, 12/12/12). Those emotions will reside in me forever. And as scared as I was of what was to become our new way of life, I cannot imagine the fear Davis felt. I snapped a photo of him that day, and it captured all the emotion in a single frame. This is one of the most honest, most raw photos I have ever taken. I cannot share it publicly though, as this was a moment of authentic, visceral vulnerability. But trust me when I share that the fear he felt that day was not a solo act.
Flash forward nearly four years later. Davis went from four injections every single day to the autonomy of an insulin pump. (Coolest life-saving iPod ever!) He openly talks about his diabetes with friends and family, and for the most part acts like it is no big deal. I could only hope to be that strong. The thing is, aside from witnessing pregnancy and childbirth with my wife, this has been the most educational experience of my life. We learn something new every day, not just about the disease but about ourselves. It has taught us all resolve, selflessness, deeper love and compassion, an understanding of others' hidden struggles, and acceptance of differences as simply unique qualities that make us all really cool. (I'm admittedly a big nerd, so I use that term loosely.) I have been so proud of how Davis handles himself and this disease. He has grown immensely because of it, faster than most kids his age typically need to. His experience at Diabetes Camp in Summer 2015 was incredible: the things we learned about him, and the things he learned about himself! We have all grown through this. Nicole and I need to protect, support, and love, of course. But we have grown. As a family. And his little brother Jude is such an amazing human being and loving younger brother. Watching them do their version of Saturday Night Live skits is absolutely delightful. I believe I have heard their versions of Matt Foley, Motivational Speaker, and David Pumpkins, about 20 times each this week. And I laugh every time. They fight because they are brothers, they laugh and carry on because they are friends, and above all, they love because they are family.
So as we venture into National Diabetes Awareness Month, we all need to remember that Type One Diabetes is never easy to live with, but it is easy to cope with when you have love and support of so many family members and friends. The outpouring of love and support our Walk Team has received throughout this fundraising cycle has been nothing short of astounding. This was extremely evident last night at our Restaurant Night fundraiser at Capitol Diner in Harrisburg. I lost track, but estimate that 120 or more people were there in support of Davis and our fight for a cure. We even met people we never saw before, and they wanted to participate after meeting Davis and learning of his story. So in this crazy period of time where there is so much anger in this country because others don't share the same opinion, we witnessed how much goodness there can be in our world. Or at least in our community. Remember folks, we are only as good as how we treat each other. Golden Rule always applies!
As always, we do this for a cure. We do this for Davis! And we don't do it alone, we do it as an army.
Dumbledore's Army for Davis
We are less than a month away to the JDRF One Walk on City Island in Harrisburg! We have done so well this year, and again have people coming out of the woodwork to ASK us if they can help. That my friends, is compassion!
Businesses are joining in on the fun as well! We received a donation and great all around support from Hairacy, Etc., in Middletown. If you see Duane, tell him we said hello!
We also have great friends at the Brownstone Cafe in Middletown, and not only did their staff approach us about putting out a donation bin, but the restaurant itself made a nice donation too!
Just this week we also received a nice donation from Deb Sharp and Sharp Cuts in Middletown. Business owners in small communities get it, folks. We may not have a ginormous corporation sponsoring us, but we have many family-owned small businesses, which are the core of our community.
The latest excitement comes from the Capitol Diner, on Eisenhower Boulevard, in Harrisburg, PA. They also asked us if they could help, and are holding a restaurant night fundraiser for us on Monday, October 31! For anyone who brings in this flyer (click on image!) between 5 and 9 PM that evening, they will donate 20% of the total sales. We are beyond blessed with this type of generosity.
And finally, discussions are going rather well with Tattered Flag Brewery & Still Works in Middletown, where we may be hosting our Cabaret Night in 2017, and *might* even have our own official brew on tap for people to enjoy!
The world is a bit of a mess, and I won't even get into our own political system here in the US. But on a regular basis, no matter how much negativity we see in the world, we know we are surrounded by goodness and generosity! We love you all, and thank you for the amazing support we have been granted.
The One Walk is in 25 days, and we are close to being in first place. I will not be surprised at all if we get there folks! You are all just that good.
Our One Walk Team received a pretty exciting and motivating email from JDRF this week. Cumulatively, we have raised over $26,100, and if we can raise $3,900 (and hit $30,000!!) more we will be recognized on the day of the Walk, as well as placed onto the JDRF Wall of Fame! The thing about this that makes me the happiest is that this is not a solo effort. This is not just a team effort. In this case, it took the effort of an ARMY to raise this money! (That’s right, Dumbledore’s Army for Davis!) Not a day goes by that we are not humbled by the support of so many people, near and far. And honestly, a big part of reaching our goals has been the benefit of the corporate match!
As we sit here, about 50 days from the JDRF One Walk in Harrisburg, we remain hopeful. The thing is, fundraising is way for us to connect with you: our family and friends. It is a way for us to advocate for Davis and others like him. They have so many technological advances to help them live normal lives, but at the end of the day, they still have Type One Diabetes. So yes, we remain hopeful, hopeful that all this fundraising will lead to the one discovery that will change Davis’s life forever: a cure. With your help, we get closer every day. So thank you.
So this week we started a Couch to 5K program together, as a family. (Jude opted out for now.) So here we are, an overweight, hypertensive dad, an asthmatic mom, and an eleven-year-old with Type One Diabetes. We are all a little softer about the middle than we would like (some more than others, cough, cough, me), and we needed to find some sort of goal to kick start our effort. Well, Saturday, December 10, we will be running in a 5K at Bishop McDevitt. This is not a fundraiser for our JDRF Walk team, or anything that will promote our own cause. But what it is, is a chance for us to get healthier together, as a family.
We all know that there is no cure for Type One Diabetes, and there was no way to prevent Davis from getting it. But the healthier he is throughout his life, the better he will be overall! He has already proven that he can rock through this diabetes thing; we are just hopeful (and overtly optimistic) that a cure will happen sooner rather than later. What his diabetes happens to be though, is manageable. The same goes for Nicole’s asthma (“Sucks to your ass-mar!” — first one to get that quote without Google wins a prize!); she can’t really get rid of it, but it can be controlled to a point. And after a few short days of running, she already has noticed a difference! And then there’s me: my own predicament can actually be righted. I can lose weight, and I can get my blood pressure back to a point where I don’t need to take meds. Beyond all that physical improvement though, is the fact that doing this together is bringing us CLOSER together! And there is nothing like that.
And the 5K at Bishop McDevitt maters to us because that is most likely where the boys will go to high school. So it will be a place with a figurative and literal finish line. And that is cool too.
Moving forward, the next few weeks will be all about a big push for our One Walk team! We will be selling team tee shirts soon (very soon!), and really getting our team organized. So if you haven’t signed up yet, take a minute today to do so! The home page of this site has many ways for you to do so! We want to be a top team again, and we want to once again have a kick-ass team on City Island! You know why? Because Dumbledore’s Army for Davis KICKS ASS!
August has always been a bittersweet month for me. As a kid, I was so happy for August to arrive because it meant my birthday was coming (August 26). But at the same time, my excitement was tempered by the fact that school would be starting very soon. Keep in mind, when I was in school growing up, we always started after Labor Day. Now, knowing school is around the corner doesn’t bother me quite as much. I love the fall, and everything that goes with it. It’s a time when it gets cooler, while the colors about us grow warmer.
As we approach those cooler days (hard to fathom on a day like today!), I consider the impact of family and friends in our lives. We have had a pretty rough year emotionally due to a death in the family, and we owe so much to the incredibly caring and loving support system in our lives. This same support system has also been wonderful with us since Davis’s diagnosis. We know how difficult it can be to donate time and time again, and in knowing this, we are eternally grateful for so many sacrifices that are made. Plus, for so many who cannot donate financially, their love, support, and prayers have been priceless.
We teach our two boys the importance of kindness to others, of volunteering, of helping others more that they help you. Regardless of your spiritual beliefs, it is hard to argue with the Golden Rule. To this day, the Golden Rule is such a guiding principle to me! So many life lessons can be taught and learned through experiencing this. And some wonderful conversations occur with the boys that demonstrate that they are growing into caring, empathetic people. And we are all huggers, so watch out!
The JDRF One Walk is now 86 days away, and we are very busy planning and plotting creative ways to offset our team fundraising goals. We hate going back to the proverbial well year after year (although no one has really complained that much!), so we appreciate when our crazy schemes are received so well. We have the Walk, and Cabaret Night in early 2017 (potentially changing locations!!), and some other fun/goofy ideas to help us stay motivated. I have been in touch with a graphic designer about ideas for a new logo, so I am hopeful this will be the year we can unveil it!
We would love if you joined our Army this year, as a walker (we have a big team every year and it is lots of fun!), a donor (financial or Cabaret Night auction item), as a behind-the-scenes planner (just let me know!), or just as a friend. The summer is closing quickly, but the excitement is really just upon us. Join us and make it even more exciting!
“We push away what we can never understand. We push away the unimaginable”- Angelica Schuyler, It's Quiet Uptown, Hamilton – An American Musical
I am writing this today to reflect on some amazing things that are going on. The past two weeks have been incredible in the eyes of future historians. Messages shared by so many people have either united us as a people, or divided us further. It’s really about your perspective, and how you choose to view this powerful dialog. Beyond this turbulent time, though, we have a reason to hope as people, as aspiring humanitarians, as altruists, as flag bearers of the Golden Rule.
You see, science plays a big part in my life, on different levels; 1. I work in a lab, with amazing scientists, many of whom with intellects that would blow you away. 2. I am married to a pretty kick-ass scientist, and this amazing relationship steers my ship through smooth seas and rocky shores alike (this last year alone has been a test she has aced, mind you). 3. Our son Davis depends on science. And math. Not because it’s a great interest to him (it is, in some ways), but because his life depends on science and math; on advances in science and math. As a Type One Diabetic, he cannot take for granted the things most of us can.
For this third and final reason why science is important, I implore you to not overlook it. You may have personal feelings one way or the other about the importance of science in your own life, but you cannot deny our reliance of it. Every week, new discoveries are made that lead us closer to making the management of diabetes even easier. Furthermore, it leads us closer to a cure, and prevention of new cases. 95 years ago this week, scientific persistence and discovery led to finding a way to deliver insulin to humans (props to Doctors Banting & Best). Because of this discovery, Davis (and so many awesome kids and adults like him) get to live, plain and simple. The thing is, many of you see Davis, knowing he has Type One Diabetes, and think he is just fine, that he isn’t suffering or anything. Frankly, that’s kind of cool (for his sake), but also reduces the fact that we sometimes forget how difficult it can be for him. Our goal from day one of his official diagnosis (12/12/12) has been normalcy. We want nothing less than for Davis to live a normal life, to be able to experience what every other kid his age does. To this point, our family has been quite successful. He doesn’t use it as an excuse, he doesn’t seek attention or pity, he simply wants to be Davis, with his friends, playing. I am proud of him for this. WE ARE proud of him for this!
Today, July 29, 2016, marks exactly 100 days until the JDRF One Walk, being held Sunday, November 6, on City Island. We are officially kicking off our drive to help fund a cure. As has been the case the past couple of years, we have given ourselves a head start through the amazing support we get from our Cabaret Night. This year’s event provided $3,626.72 towards our goal. We are currently just shy of $4,000, which we will hit within the next couple weeks after a small grant from my employer. That makes us halfway to our ultimate goal of $9,000 (we did it last year, so why not again??). We kindly ask you to just think about how you can help. There are some simple ways to start: join our Walk Team (Dumbledore’s Army for Davis – but you know that by now!), and ask others to sponsor you in the Walk. Maybe your employer offers dress-down days that people can participate in if they make a donation to the charity of the month (convince them how awesome our Walk team is!). Be creative – I am sure you can think of other ways to help us. And if not, check out some ways you can help. Here you can find out how to join our team, how to simply donate (and utilize matching funds from your employer), how to find out more about Cabaret Night, how to secure a team tee shirt (once again, I am hopeful we will have a new logo for this year’s walk! With a new logo comes a new shirt and maybe other swag! Just imagine a cool logo of your favorite JDRF One Walk Team on a Yeti!), and of course, a list of several other ways you can make a difference.
So as we continue to witness history this year, don’t you think it would be amazing to say you were PART of history? To say that because of your help, a cure for Type One Diabetes was made possible. Then kids won’t have to find scientific and mathematical ways to live normal lives, they can simply live normal lives.
I thank you in advance for considering how you can support our cause. And I apologize for such a long initial blog post. Two weeks of listening to political speeches must have rubbed off on me.
Let’s make a YUUUGE difference over the next 100 days. In our case, It Takes an Army — Dumbledore’s Army!