Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Gettin' into the last time

School year end is always a busy time for any family.  There are final exams for some students.  There is the countdown to no more school lunches and the joy of no more homework fights for a few months.

I am very involved in my youngest son's school and have been since my oldest child started there...well a few years ago.  The school is very special and works hard to make the school atmosphere very much a family one.  The end of the year therefore becomes exceptionally heck tick.  We have a day at the park when the parents enjoy the sun and then barbeque for the students. There is sports day when I wonder if Liam will sweat off his infusion site or if we have it stuck with enough Mastisol.  There is the year end festival which evolved from a year end concert into a fabulous day of games, food and entertainment.  

The most special of all days, for me, is the Diabetes Walk day.  This day began seven years ago.  We would go to the teachers each year and ask for their support in our fundraising efforts for a diabetes walk in another town.  One year, Liam's teacher said that she would not sponsor us.  She wondered instead if we would be okay with the school doing its own walk for the cause.  I was overwhelmed and so appreciative. 

We live in a very small, rural area.  It was once known to have the highest rate of unemployment in Canada. I don't know if we still hold that infamous title but many of the families living here are retired or single income. When the first walk took place, we had less than 50 students from Kindergarten to grade 8.  I thought that if we made $500 we would have done an incredible job.  Some students would get a lot of money and some would have a hard time coming up with $5.  You can imagine my surprise then when the students raised over $1300.  Each year the dollar value grew. 

To date they have raised over $13,000 for diabetes charities.  The number of students has grown slightly.  We now easily have 50 students from Kindergarten to grade 8 and they remain just as generous and dedicated to the cause as they were seven years ago.  

The day has become a full day event.  Students are taken to a local park where they enjoy a treasure hunt before lunch.  At noon they are fed pizzas cooked in an outdoor oven.  After their stomaches are full they begin their walk.  They all know who they are walking for.  Many may not know exactly what the disease means but they can put a face to it.  They also know that the money they have raised has helped people in their community.  The Diabetes Hope Foundation has a program that assists young people to purchase their supplies when no one else will. 

This year is bittersweet for me.  There is still so much work to do but it will be my last year.  We are moving and my son will be changing schools.  We will be leaving the area that we have called home for so many years.  

Before that happens, I will still make sure that t-shirts are ready for students who raise a certain amount of money for the walk.  Sponsors have donated other items to further help show our appreciation.  I have also created a link on the Diabetes advocacy home page so that those who wish to donate can help make this final diabetes walk extra special and help Ecole Notre Dame du Cap continue to help people living with diabetes. 

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