I spent the last 10 years realizing that there are so many stories worse than mine. In the past 5 of those 10, I have been doing my part to help close the book on all of these stories. I began by joining JDRF to whom I owe my life. By funding advancement in diabetic care and monitoring, JDRF gave me a fighting chance against the disease. When I was diagnosed at 14, drinking a milkshake with my friends could land me in the hospital. Today, I can test my blood sugar and with a few units of insulin prevent any problems.
My approach has been to put together and fund trips and packages that
would attract individuals to purchase them and raise funds for this
great cause. Both the recipients of those packages and I as a donor have gotten more than we’ve bargained for. I
have seen first-hand the excitement on the faces of a family as we
snowmobiled to the top of the continental divide in Beaver Creek, CO. I
have seen the boyish grin on the face of a lifelong baseball fan flash
across the big screen at Royal’s stadium just before he threw the first
pitch into the waiting glove of a best friend. More than that I felt the warmth in their hearts realizing these were experiences that would last a lifetime. And best of all, furthering a cause that has improved millions of lives.
This year, as honoree, I have helped put together a gala event that will be nothing less than spectacular. We will achieve and experience things like in no other gala. This
night will garner The Hope Gala the prestige it deserves and needs to
grow to a level sufficient to allow us to get the job done. It will
create a buzz throughout Southwest Florida and beyond. I
would like to personally invite you to not only be able to say you
witnessed it, but to be able to feel in your heart that you were a part
of it. The team and I have put together the most fabulous list of packages ever. From
arriving at a NASCAR race in Austin, TX via private helicopter direct
from your 5 star hotel, to experiencing the culture of China, to riding
elephants in the jungle or bamboo rafting in Thailand, to personal
pampering from staff at Naples’ finest restaurants, there are nearly a
dozen unique life experiences awaiting you. 50 years ago, diabetes threatened to cut my life short and steal these experiences from me. In so many ways, JDRF has given me the ticket to a lifetime of experiences that are nothing less than priceless.
From purchasing a ticket and attending the gala, to purchasing a
package, to raising your paddle during cash call, you make all of this
possible for me and so many others. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.