A few months ago, near the beginning of diagnosis, we joined a group on facebook called “I love someone with Juvenile Diabetes.” When my facebook friends saw the group I had joined, some of them joined as well because they now love someone with juvenile diabetes. Needless to say, I was moved to tears by this. The profile picture of that group is a couple Blue Dedication Jelly Bracelets from JDRF that say “Cure Diabetes.” When Mrs. Barbara, one of my “Meadows Mommas,” joined the group, she suggested that we needed to get a bunch of blue bracelets to wear. So I started looking. JDRF sells them for $20.00 for 100 bracelets. In my mind, I thought it would be so awesome for Ryan to have bracelets to give to people, anyone he wanted to, and tell them he had diabetes. What a way to take “ownership.” I don’t want him to ever feel embarassed or ashamed or, most importantly, feel like he’s not good enough. And as luck GOD would have it, his diabetes medical bracelet is a blue jelly snappable bracelet (see picture); how incredibly cool is that!?!?! So I bought them. Missy, my sister, suggested that we attach something that tells people to pray for him or somehow incorporate that in the giving of the bracelets. When we received the box of 100 bracelets, Ryan was so excited. We packaged some for Missy and her family in Missouri, and we sent another bundle of them to Baltimore for Jason’s family out there. Then the rest was up to Ryan. He couldn’t wait for church Sunday so he could begin to hand them out. Naturally, he gave some to the four of us and to Nana and Pop here. Ethan is already a jelly bracelet freak (as you can also see in the picture). He wears TWO diabetes bracelets all the time. Aaron’s was too big and kept falling off, so he put it on his bike handlebars. Jason NEVER takes his off – he even sleeps in it. But the other 75 or so were totally up to Ryan. When we went to church with them, he handed them out. This little boy that for months was so afraid (and we didn’t know why), was so unhappy (because he didn’t feel good and didn’t know how to tell us because he wasn’t actually hurting anywhere) and was completely clingy and wouldn’t talk to anyone was walking up to people and giving them a bracelet. I would sometimes prompt him, “Tell them what kind of bracelet it is . . . ” He would say, “It’s a diabetes bracelet.” And then I would say, “What do you want them to do when they see it or wear it?” He would smile and that one dimple would show, “I want you to pray for me.” He got so good at it that most of the time, he didn’t need the prompting. That Monday he took a bunch to school and gave them to his class, his teachers, the nurse, the councellor, administrators, anyone who would take them. Now, he looks for bracelets. He looks to see who wears them. He doesn’t get upset when people don’t wear them, but he does notice when they do. Our pastor wore the bracelet for at least two Sundays. When he would stretch his arms out, his suit would pull up just enough at the wrist where you could see the royal blue band from the back half of the worship center where we sit. Ryan was so proud. There are others that I have seen at church that wear them all the time. Jason and I went out with three other couples from church a few weeks back. Of the other six adults (all whom we go to church with), three of them were wearing the bracelets. I almost cried. It’s habit now for us to get in the van going home from church and for one of us to say, “Did you see ____________ wearing their bracelet?” It’s pretty amazing the encouragement these inexpensive little bracelets have been to all of us. We thank God for the little blessings that make a big difference.
If you think your diabetic child, sibling, parent or friend would be encouraged by these, go to http://store.jdrf.org/product.asp?product_id=359&category_id=12&subcategory_id=&category_title=&category_type . They are currently out of stock and unavailable until next month, but so worth the $20 plus shipping. Why not try to get everyone you come in contact with wearing them? When you see a pink one, you think of breast cancer . . . a yellow one, Live Strong. So why not get the word out and raise AWARENESS with these blue bands? Maybe it will do for you what it did for my family – what it did for Ryan.