Our sweetie pies

Our sweetie pies

Sunday, September 11, 2011

dollar donations for juvenile diabetes

I went into the store Marshall's, tonight. I was shopping for my sweeties upcoming birthday. September 20, she will be four. I haven't thought about the title of this blog...for now she will stay indefinitely three. Just as I am indefinitely 29. But I don't walk around with a title. Just tired.

When I walked upto the register to pay for my items, I noticed that they had balloons tied at the registers. They were all stamped JDRF. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Marshall's is currently asking their customers to donate money to help further research for Juvenile Diabetes.

That moment of realization seemed so surreal to me. Almost a trip into a vortex. The 17 year old girl ringing me up probably taped the signs at her register as she was told to do. Somebody blew up balloons with helium and tied them to the stations at the counter. A manager probably told every young employee that a new procedure that they had to follow now was to ask each customer if they would like to donate a dollar to help cure Juvenile Diabetes.

Every dollar being collected now suddenly was coming back to me. This campaign is for my family. But will it really benefit us? We are the real thing standing in the middle of all of these customers and amongst all of these inflated balloons, but how does their dollar change my life? Most of these people don't even know that we are a living example of this campaign and what living with diabetes even means. Or even how people become diabetic or how serious it is and how even a little three year old can suddenly find herself in a hospital bed with an IV and not hear the whispered conversations of the doctors deciding how close to death she really was at diagnosis.

Just like at Babies R Us, you can add a dollar to your purchase to help research Autism. Or at the pet store, you can add a dollar to help animal shelters.

This prepackaged marketing campaign that shows up in kits to be displayed for a set time actually represented us. It was like walking into a store that had strung photos of us all over the store. Like walking down a maternity aisle pregnant. Like watching a film about a cancer survivor while lying in a hospital bed with cancer. It was real. It was no longer just a marketing campaign to help us all feel better about spending our money in a store on extraneous items. Suddenly the JDRF letters came into focus and meant something.

Very convenient and yet does anyone even know what Juvenile Diabetes is? or where their money really goes? People just dutifully give a dollar or don't. Then take their purchases and leave. Do they feel good about giving a dollar? Or do they feel good that they didn't give a dollar?

Before my 17 year old attendant, could ask me if I would like to convienently add a dollar to my purchase. (ironically for my diabetic daughter's birthday!). I pointed to the sign taped to her counter. I said, "my daughter has diabetes." Then I just looked at her. She responded with a very sad look and a response of "ohhhh." and then proceeded to ask if I would like to give a dollar. I pulled out a photo of my daughter and said "here she is...she has diabetes...we live with it everyday." Again she responded with a sad face and "ohhhhh". (imagine sad pucker and downward expression)

She asked me if we participate in the JDRF walks. I said, not yet. She was only recently diagnosed. Insert here, another sad pouty face. She proceeded to tell me how some people are happy to donate money and some people get angry and don't want to donate. I said, "I think a lot of people just don't understand what diabetes is." She agreed.

and with that, I said thank you and left yet another uneducated person about diabetes. It wasn't the time to start teaching her about what it is. But I did tell her before I left that she just met a real mother of a real person living with diabetes. So the next customer she asks for a dollar, she can tell them about me and my sweetie.

and ironically, a store can hang signs and validate a worthy cause and encourage you to donate money and yet we mother's still run into people that just don't understand what diabetes is and what needs our children have and make our paths even harder.

tell people to read my blog. Money is nice, but education is always cheaper in the long run.

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