“So Billy, I have this idea—I want to raise money for diabetes research,” my stepmother said to me at a family get-together. My ears perked up as she discussed this grand idea of doing local youth talent show in the town where I grew up. My stepmother is a musical director for many of our local town’s shows and holiday festivals. The idea was to raise money by selling tickets to the show and other raffle prizes. This would be the first time someone has held a fundraising event for type 1 diabetes specifically for me and for T1D Exchange, the nonprofit that Glu is a part of.
“We could get the whole family involved,” she said, and so we did! My younger brother, nieces, and nephew are vocally talented and perform at their school and other shows. Me and my sisters, not so much! So my two sisters helped coordinate the on- and off-stage timing of performers and I had the duty of selling tickets with my father. It was such a special family effort, all for my cause, my diabetes and yours. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am.
I had no idea how much time and effort was involved in organizing music or talent shows until this event. I was always just part of the audience, never a participant in a show. Have you ever tried to get three-year-olds to do want you want? Try getting 30 little kids to sing, march, and say their names in rhythm to the Mickey Mouse club house song. A very challenging task, I must say, and I thought diabetes management was tough. I definitely do not have the knowhow or patience to direct any type of show. My stepmother, however, has these remarkable talents and many parents are ever thankful that she does.
“The Wonderful Small World of Disney” was the theme. All the songs, performances, and costumes were inspired by Disney shows and movies. We had a saxophone jazz performance of “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid to the latest songs from Frozen like “Let It Go.” Even Buzz Lightyear and Woody had a stand-up routine.
There were great tap dances and tumbling acts. Many of the children choreographed their own routines. I was lucky enough to take pictures of many of the highlights of the performances.
My daughter dressed as Snow White, I was a pirate of the Caribbean, and Donald Duck made the kids smile as they walked into the show. So many folks from my town dressed as their favorite Disney characters with added to the fun atmosphere of the show. How could you not smile seeing a couple dressed as Beauty and the Beast!
My job was to collect money for the tickets at the front door. When I would greet them with my pirate’s smirk and ask for their donation I couldn’t help but over hear several audience members saying, “It’s going to a good cause.” No one knew at the time this pirate collecting their donations was living with the disease for which we were raising money. Later in the show I gave a brief talk about my life living with diabetes and how thankful I was for their support.
It’s not such a small world after all—you just have to be vocal and sometimes even sing about what means the most to you. Our whole community did, and it was magical night.