Saturday 14 May 2011

The Awesomeness ~ Diabetes Blog Week, Day 5


Today's blog week prompt is to highlight some of the awesome things you have experienced as a result of diabetes. We have had some pretty amazing experiences since diabetes has entered our lives, and while originally I had planned to blog about the DOC, or Diabetes Camp, or some of the amazing vacations we've taken with diabetes, I thought it might be fun to highlight some of the more unusual, extra special things we have experienced as a result of diabetes. I asked Dylan to narrow it down to his favorite three experiences and here they are:

The 3 Most Awesome Things Dylan has done BECAUSE of Diabetes

3. Meeting George Canyon. For those who might not have heard of George Canyon, he is a pretty famous Canadian Country singer, who has been T1 since he was a teenager. He is the spokesman for Animas in Canada and does a lot of promotional work for JDRF throughout Canada. A couple of years ago he was doing a cross-country promotional tour via his own private plane (yes, he is a T1 certified pilot - pretty amazing) and stopped at the Vancouver Museum of Flight to perform a private concert and talk for a small group of JDRF supporters. Our family was among the lucky few that got tickets. It was an amazing show and afterwards he posed for photos with each child, and gave an autographed "I Am George Canyon's Wingman" t-shirts to every T1 child in the audience. He spoke to the audience about how strictly he has to controls his blood sugar in order to keep his pilot's license, and how he has never let diabetes stand in his way of reaching his dreams.

Dyl and George. Too bad Dyl is blinking and the focus is off, but oh well...

2. Electronic Arts tour. Dylan has been a youth ambassador for JDRF for the past 3 years and it has afforded him some unbelievable opportunities. He has traveled around the city of Vancouver speaking to corporations about T1 diabetes, has met tons of super cool people, and has really taken ownership of his diabetes as a result. 3 years ago, Dylan also participated in what the JDRF Vancouver office calls the "Hero Program," in which T1 kids are partnered up with a local hero at the annual walk to cure diabetes. The hero spends the full day with the child, learning about what it's like to be a kid with diabetes, and then the child spends the day with the hero at their place of work. Dylan's hero was a woman who worked in the community affairs department of Electronic Arts, one of the world's largest and most famous video game design companies, which happens to be based in Vancouver. The EA building itself is a fortress, with stricter security than any other building in the city. No one can go in unless they work there, or are specially invited. In addition to being a fully functioning office building, this place boasts an indoor gym, yoga studio, swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, and a full size movie theatre. Outside there is a basketball court, beach volleyball court, and an artificial turf soccer field. There are massage therapists who come to your desk, an arcade, a spa, and a full cafeteria in which you eat whatever you want whenever you want, and it's all free to staff. All of this to keep the staff happy and working. We received a private tour or the entire facility, including lunch, a meet and greet with some of the gaming designers, and Dylan got to choose three games, at no charge, to take home with him. For a kid who absolutely loves video games, like Dylan, it was a dream come true. Literally. And all thanks to JDRF.

1. Disneyland. In October of 2008, Dylan got to live out the ultimate kid dream come true. He, along with a number of other children, got to fly to Disneyland for the day. Yes, for the day. The trip was arranged by an organization named "Dreams Take Flight," a non-profit company that offers special travel experiences to children who might not be able to normally travel due to medical reasons. At 5:30am on a Tuesday morning, we dropped Dylan off at a private Air Canada hangar at the Vancouver International Airport. He boarded a chartered, private plane, along with the other lucky children, a team of doctors and nurses, and volunteers from Air Canada and Dreams Take Flight. They flew the two and a half hours from Vancouver to Los Angeles, landed in a private hangar in LA, and boarded a chartered bus to Disneyland in Anaheim. They arrived at the park around 10:30am and spent the entire day there. Around 7:00pm they left the park, rode back to LAX, and flew the same private jet back to Vancouver, where I picked Dylan up at 11:30pm that night. The charity covered everything - not just the cost and the medical team needed to accompany all of the kids, but they gave each child $30 to spend at the park, covered all of their meals, and gave them Mickey Mouse ears, t-shirts, and tons of other souvenirs. The only catch was that the kids had to go without their parents and it had to be their first visit to Disneyland. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that Dylan will never forget.

Main Street Ice Cream break

Dyl with his new friend Stevie, showing off some Disney loot!

On the flight home, after a terrific day

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