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Celebration of Life.

August 5, 2008

The last stop on my summer Lemonade Tour was Washington D.C. for the Quilt for Life exhibition on the National Mall. A huge tarp was erected on the grass directly in front of the Capitol building. As I walked closer, I saw rows and rows of quilts hooked up to boards with wire and clips. Over in a smaller tent, there was a collection of navy blue T-shirts milling about.

I volunteered a couple of hours for the Children with Diabetes Quilt for Life, which is a collection of nearly 700 quilts representing children and adults with diabetes. We listened to Jeff Hitchcock and Ken Moritsugu talk about the Quilt and what it represents. Jeff spoke about his daughter Marissa diagnosis, but the emphasis was on our lives – not on diabetes – that makes the Quilt for Life so special. While it is certainly a dramatic reminder of all the people diabetes has touched, but Jeff said this was a celebration of life.

Rows of Quilts

I walked up and down the rows, examining each quilt and the child behind it. Some of the quilts represented adults, like Scott Strumello and Amy Tenderich. I also saw my quilt, number 457.

Towards the end of my shift, I spotted Jillian and, as I do with everyone I meet, gave her a big hug. If you’re affected by diabetes, you’re in my family. Plain and simple. (Unless you’re a psycho, but so far, so good.)

Jillian told me that Kevin was down at the other end of the tent.

Yes. You read that right. Kevin. THE Kevin. With his wife, Meg, and his freaking adorable children, Ian and Eleanor.

Kevin with Ian and Eleanor

Rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated.

Kevin (with Ian and Eleanor), me, Jillian and Meg

Kevin (with Eleanor and Ian), me, Jillian and Meg.

Afterwards, Kevin had to return to work, so Jillian, Wendy and I went to Ruby Tuesday’s for lunch before taking off.

It’s been a long long few weeks for me and I’m thrilled to be grounded for longer than a couple of days. While July was nothing but a great adventure, I’m looking forward to a quieter, mellower August. Exploring my new town and the larger one across the river sounds exactly what I need before my big voyage across the pond.

If the past couple of months, with all the people I’ve enjoyed spending time with, have taught me anything it’s that there is nothing so rejuvenating and inspiring as spending time with people who understand you and encourage you. Thanks to everyone who have come out to the meet-ups and I promise there will be more.

Eventually.

More photos are in the Quilt for Life set on Flickr.

11 Comments
  1. Sara permalink
    August 5, 2008 3:19 PM

    Seriously! Those are some freaking adorable kids!

  2. August 5, 2008 3:55 PM

    Thanks for posting the photos! Looks like you had a great day.

  3. August 5, 2008 4:22 PM

    It was great meeting you! I’m glad you made it back safely. Enjoy the next few weeks back in NJ, you deserve to relax.

  4. clickfornick permalink
    August 5, 2008 7:53 PM

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  5. August 5, 2008 9:38 PM

    What a beautiful quilt and a moving method of celebrating your life. My mother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult. Watching her overcome the challenges of day-to-day life with this disease made me appreciate the gift of her so much more. I love that you are sharing your experience in a way that strengthens others.

  6. August 5, 2008 11:52 PM

    What a great man. Having vacation with two babies, amazing….

  7. August 6, 2008 2:43 AM

    wow….they are really cute and adorable…😀

  8. August 6, 2008 12:29 PM

    So cool and you are right, adorable kids!

  9. August 8, 2008 9:52 PM

    Awesome pictures – thanks for sharing! I got such a big grin seeing the six of you all smiling and happy in the last picture!

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