{valuing friendship and community during the busiest season–it’s JDRF time once again}

Did you know that in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made an attempt to move Thanksgiving up a week?

I don’t know about you, but I could really use that extra week right about now. I would like to start some holiday baking, but we’ve just barely started working through the Thanksgiving leftovers.

I would likely have supported FDR’s effort to move Thanksgiving up from the fourth Thursday of November to the third. His goal was to extend the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas,  allowing for greater economic activity during the Great Depression.

My support would have been hoping for just a bit more breathing room.

Yep! I could use an extra week before hurling myself into holiday prep!

Within two years this “good idea” had run its course, however, and Thanksgiving returned to its original place on the calendar.

I wonder if the legislators from the sixteen non-compliant states were the ones in their households responsible for all the pre-holiday cleaning, shopping, invitations, cooking, more cleaning up after all that cooking, and then a giant repeat four weeks later? My money’s on “NO!”

I noticed that before we even set our Thanksgiving table I was already fielding a barrage of assorted media messages to “Avoid the Christmas rush! Hurry and shop NOW!” Nothing says “happy holidays” like a little agitation.

On the other hand…

Instead of being sucked into the frenzy of consumerism, this is a good time of year to reflect on other valuables.

I started thinking about the benefits of a strong personal community of friends when a few weeks ago we once again joined thousands of others at the annual JDRF Walk to Cure Type 1 diabetes.

Keep Calm

The goal of the walk is to raise money for research. Our personal goal is to help raise that money, yes, but also to share in the experience and make it very clear to two families who hold a very special place in our lives that we care about them.

Aimee and Madison

I shared about Aimee a few years ago, when she wasn’t yet in high school. Even though Aimee, pictured here on the left with her sister Madison, would prefer not to have so much attention placed on her health and occasional crises, she very graciously welcomes friends and family eager to participate in the walk.

T1-D affects the whole family, and the two families that invite us to walk along with them are creative and resourceful, and definitely know how to mobilize their supporters and maximize the effort.

Prior to the walk at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, Aimee’s mom, Cristin, organized “Craft for a Cure,” a neighborhood boutique with proceeds going to JDRF/Los Angeles County, and providing friends and family another way to connect and support.

A couple of weeks after the Rose Bowl walk, we went to Angel Stadium in Orange County to support our six-year-old friend, Jack.

I wrote about Jack last year at this time.


I asked Jack’s mom, Dani, if I could share a current photo of this young man and she consented, saying it was “fine” for now, but we agreed it would soon be his choice. Like Aimee, Jack is not comfortable with being in the spotlight.

The “Jack’s Jiants” team of supporters is one of the largest in the region, and most of that attention is focused right back on Jack, with the hope that one day he won’t be in the T1D spotlight at all.

Both of these very successful walks were grand examples of community. Thousands of people came together to support individual loved ones, and while the effort may be directed towards personal connections, there is a larger coalition of commitment to eradicate this disease for all of the children and their families.

The value of community and the benefits of friendship in support of one another is a joy to witness. While we represented a tiny fraction of support, I marveled at how these two families so joyously connected their many friends together creating a team of support that extends into their daily lives, not just for a fund-raising event.

It’s been something to think about.

Friendships old and new, the value of creating and then tending a supportive community and the satisfaction that comes from rallying around others with need–these are the priorities I’m thinking about before jumping off the deep end into the holidays.

That is after the Thanksgiving leftovers are no longer a discussion, of course.