It’s not about me.
Yes, I grew up watching the Boston Marathon from the side of the road on Heartbreak Hill. Yes, I have distinct memories of my father taking me there, and my endlessly optimistic and energetic sister Paula clapping and screaming, “You can do it!” to almost every one of the thousands of runners.
Yes, I have taken off every Monday I’ve lived in Boston so I can cheer on the runners, and watch in awe as they leaders practically fly by, and watch the non-leaders run, walk, and seemingly will themselves by; Some run by with a smile and a wave, but others with a grimace. I still always picture Paula cheering them on wildly.
But … It’s not about me. It’s also not about Paula.
It’s about Steve.
Steve is my brother closest in age to me. He was diagnosed at a young age (7) with what was then called Juvenile Diabetes. I was 5.
What can any kid remember at 5? (You’d be surprised.)
I remember Steve, my bedroom-mate, being in the hospital for several days. I remember wondering where he is, and that I would be really scared if I had to spend the night in the hospital. (It still overwhelms me as I type this)
I remember the awesome Concorde Jet replica our next door neighbor Mr. Wolfskill gave him when he visited him in the hospital.
I remember visiting him in the hospital and being really small.
I remember visiting him in the hospital on a Sunday, and watching all the canoes paddle by on the Concord River from the 3rd floor window.
I have vivid memories of Steve receiving his twice daily shots of insulin.
I remember Steve and my mom practicing giving him his shots, by sticking needles into an orange.
I remember them allowing me to practice on the orange.
I remember Steve’s bouts with the scary insulin highs and the especially scary insulin lows of insulin regulation.
I remember thinking Steve is vulnerable and that I need to protect him.
But again, this is not about me.
It’s about Steve and all of today’s 7 year olds that are being diagnosed with what is now called Type 1 Diabetes.
I’ve been a runner now around 20 years. I’ve run a few marathons, and some ultra marathons. I’ve always kept the Boston Marathon up on a pedestal - It is the ultimate in marathoning. Ideally, I wanted to qualify for the Boston, but reality finally (and slowly) sunk in - There is a very slim chance I’ll ever be able to run a 8 minute mile pace for 26+ miles with all my other responsibilities (the best of which are Sasha and our four year old twins Ella and Eamon). With this in mind, I decided to request an entry from one of the charity organizers. If I was going to raise money, I wanted it to be for diabetes given it’s lifelong impact on me and my family.
I started writing to diabetes organizations in May, with monthly follow-ups. Finally, a personal contact put me in touch with Martha Andrews at the Joslin Diabetes Center, which is THE global leader in Diabetes care. After some back-and-forth, she agreed to accept me into the program with the understanding that I would raise $7,500 for Joslin. That’s a big nut, and it will take a lot of work and commitment, but I will meet and hopefully exceed the goal.
But, it’s not about me.
It’s not even about Steve.
It’s about all the future 7 year olds that might contract Type 1 Diabetes.
It’s about preventing that from happening.
Please help and donate today. Thank you!
Chris Shanley, Boston, MA
Joslin Diabetes Center wrote -
Joslin Diabetes Center, based in Boston, Massachusetts, undertakes diabetes research, clinical care, education and health and wellness programs on a global scale. Joslin is dedicated to ensuring that people with diabetes live long, healthy lives and offers real progress in preventing and curing diabetes. Joslin is an independent, nonprofit institution affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and is recognized worldwide for driving innovative solutions in diabetes prevention, research, education, and care.
Our mission is to prevent, treat and cure diabetes. Our vision is a world free of diabetes and its complications.