At the close of the CWD Technology conference in Conshohocken, the speaker, Tom Karlya - aka 'The Diabetes Dad - spoke about perseverance, hope and the power of one. He is the father of two children with Type 1 diabetes, and also works for the Diabetes Research Institute. He spoke to the audience from the heart and was honest, funny and down to earth.
One of his main themes was that all it takes is one person, one idea, to change the world. He spoke of people who just took one step, forward, and changed everything. He spoke about having one idea, that makes life better for everyone. That when it comes to every day, taking just one step puts you on a path forward.
And that we ALL can take that one step. Have that one great idea.
It takes perseverance and faith that it will all be well.
And he showed the audience a video that had us crying. And we all cried for different reasons. Some saw themselves as the runner. Some saw themselves as the father. Some saw themselves in the stands, clapping. But I think the reason we all cried is that the video touched us, where we are with diabetes in our lives and who we have in our lives.
As I sat there, with tears running down my face, I saw myself as the father, running out of the stands to help his son. And when Grace falters, now and when she is an adult, I will run to her and help her finish this race. I will help her stand up and cross the finish line if she wants. I will be there, clapping as she runs, but if she falls, she knows that Mama's hand will be on her waist, and hand around her back, helping her to her feet. I will be there. I so identified with the father, pushing past people and pushing people away, to say, 'I was there when he started it all and I will be there when he finishes.'
And Grace saw something every different. She watched me cry, then she started to cry. And she couldn't look at the screen anymore after he fell. She would peek and see the father helping him. And she asked me 'What's wrong?' and I answered through my tears 'His father, he is helping him Grace. He is helping him get up and finish the race.' And I wasn't sure she understood it all.
'When you ever fall down, and I mean struggle, not like fall down on the ground, Mom and Dad will be here to help you. I will always help you, don't I always say that to you honey? That you and I will figure it all out, and you will be rocking those grandbabies, right? That's what it means. That Mom and Dad and others in your life will always be there for you.'
And when the video was done, and we dried our eyes, she leaned to me and said 'Mom, I was crying so hard because when he fell and he had that low, I just felt so bad for him. Here he was running at the Olympics and had a low and he fell!'
And why wouldn't she think he fell because of a low? She hid her eyes from the video, we are sitting at a diabetes conference, everything she has heard in the last two days has been diabetes related.
Why wouldn't she think he fell because of a low?
And my heart sank.
She thinks he fell because he had a low blood sugar.
'Honey, he fell because he hurt his leg. And he couldn't walk. Not because he had a low. But if he did, I think his Dad would also help him. If you are hurt, or fall or have a low, we will always be here to help you.'
And I dried her eyes and she smiled.
Maybe it was about having a low and falling down, after all.