I just got back from the JDRF Ride for Research today. It was our first time attending one and I have to say that it was awesome! It was a whole different experience from the Walk. There was a huge tent set up in the middle of downtown with a bunch of stationary bikes inside. Most all of the participants were from the corporate world...bankers, insurance peeps, etc. I couldn't help but giggle at the sight of these people showing up wearing their team shirts, crazy colored wigs, and feather boas. We even caught sight of a few men sporting the tiara princess look! These are people who get up in the morning, put on their suits and ties, business dress, and carry around a briefcase...talking about crunching numbers and making mergers all day long....it was quite the sight actually. I looked around at the sea of brightly colored people...laughing, dancing, shaking pom poms...and I was struck by the spirit of it all. It was incredible to think that most all of these people that I have never met and would never really interact with seeing as how I am just a stay at home Mom...well, we all have this common bond...this common force that drives us to do things like this and be involved in the spirit behind it....diabetes. It sounds cheesy, but I could really feel the love in the air.
Anyway, during the event Emma and the other JDRF ambassador for this year were up on stage speaking and thanking the riders for supporting us. It always hits me hard when I see my little girl...7 years old...standing there on stage in front of a crowd of people...being involved in something greater than herself. It reminds me of just how much this disease has matured her and forced her to grow up ahead of her time and think beyond her years. After the speeches, a couple of the major fundraisers (both happened to be banks...TD Canada Trust and RBC bank) came up on stage to present their giant oversized cheques to Emma and the other ambassador. One was for $2,500 and the other was for $14,000....amazing. I stood there off to the side of the stage...in my usual position...trying to keep an eye on Emma's face to seek out potential lows looking to interrupt the festivities...trying to not be in her face and in the midst of what's going on...just staying on the sidelines keeping watch. I stood there watching these bankers hand the cheque for $14,000 to Emma and stand next to her for pictures...and such a feeling of love, gratitude, and pride came over me that I could no longer hold back the tears. I stood there smiling (probably the cheesiest proud Momma smile on the planet I'm sure) and I felt the tears spill over and roll down my cheeks. It was a very emotional moment for me. I looked around at the faces in the crowd as they were riding...competing against each other to get the most distance rode in the set amount of time. There were faces full of smiles and laughter, faces that were red from exhertion and even one man in particular who had the fiercest look of determination on his face...sweat pouring from his cheeks and dropping to the ground below his feet. I couldn't help but stare at him...stare and wonder how diabetes affects his life...if it was him personally who has it or a family member...maybe he was the father of a diabetic kiddo too. I don't know. I didn't ask him. I didn't want to interrupt his moment...his determination...his fight. I knew simply by the look on his face...the fight in his eyes...that he was doing this...he was putting his heart into it. I was in awe just standing there watching him. I will never forget the look on his face. I will never forget the love I felt underneath that tent. I will never forget the immense feeling of support for my child from all of these people. One woman there actually pulled Emma aside at one point and hugged her...she told her that all of these people were here to help her...they were all here to support her...they all loved her. How amazing. It's an indescribable feeling...getting to witness the true human spirit...the goodness...the caring...the support and the compassion. I'm so greatful that we were able to be there.