This month will mark 20 years since my diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. That means 20 years of countless injections, sleepless nights, quarterly appointments with specialists, a strict diet, unexplained highs and lows, and routine battles with insurance companies to obtain the supplies my body needs to stay alive. Type 1 Diabetes is a disease many do not understand. It’s a disease where if I was diagnosed with it just 100 years ago, it would be a death sentence; unfortunately, in some parts of today’s world it remains as such. It’s an exhausting disease. It’s a disease where you can do everything “right” as outlined by medical professionals and still, anything can go wrong. From the time I was first diagnosed at ten years old, I had this innate understanding of my need to be strong despite this terrible disease, to do everything I could to take care of myself so I would avoid complications, to not allow it to get in my way. So, I haven’t, and this month will mark 20 years of battling this disease 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It doesn’t rest, it is tireless; so am I. That same determination has not allowed as much of the “scary” of this disease to be visible to those around me. You see, every morning, I wake up and put on a shield because I’m determined to do what I want with my day. I don’t want diabetes to think it can interrupt my plans. It still tries, hard at that, daily, sometimes hourly, but I don’t give in.
It is my mission now to help build this determination and strength in other people living with Type 1 Diabetes. And you can help. I’ve been very fortunate to create a growing platform over these past 19 years, turning this disease into something relatively positive. It’s this very platform that has lifted me up when I’ve needed it, and on Saturday, November 9th I want to share it with all of you. Though it started in my parent’s driveway, the Dancing for Diabetes Showcase has grown to become, in my opinion, one of Central Florida’s most uplifting and entertaining nights of the year. There are about 300 dancers involved in the show each year. They come from studios, schools, and dance groups all across the region. They use their passion and incredible talent to help create a truly magical evening of entertainment and hope for all in attendance, and especially for those whose lives are touched by Type 1 Diabetes. I invite you to join us, to feel uplifted and inspired, as we advance the fight against this tireless disease. If you’d like to experience this event like no other, tickets for the 19th Annual Dancing for Diabetes Showcase at the Bob Carr Theater are on sale now and can be purchased at www.drphillipscenter.org.