Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook already know that when I heard about Bret Michaels’s brain hemorrhage, I was pretty upset about it. I’m also guessing that a lot of you might not quite understand why so I thought I’d explain myself a bit.
First off, when something awful like this happens to someone with diabetes it really upsets me. The first thought that pops in my head is “Did diabetes do this?” Hearing about other peoples’ diabetes complications is always difficult. It is a painful reminder of what could happen. On the other hand, it’s also kind of a motivator. It drives me to focus on my self-management to keep me healthy and ward off those complications.
It turns out that Bret’s hemorrhage likely is not caused by his diabetes. So why am I still so worried and upset?
Like you my know from a few mentions here and there in previous posts, I have been going to diabetes camp since I was 7. My camp is called the Harrisburg Diabetic Youth Camp (HDYC). We are a very tight knit family, many of us having been there for over 5 years. A few of the people there have literally watched me grow up. Some of them are also some of my best friends. They are my crutch when it comes to diabetes. When I need to talk to someone who just understands, they are there for me. When something happens to a member of that family, whether we personally know them or not, it is pretty devastating. It’s like losing a family member. The picture at the top of this post is our wishing well from our closing ceremonies. Every cabin brings a candle and a penny and makes a wish into the well. The well is also adorned with members of our camp family that are no longer with us. Some of them have succombed to diabetes related complications and some of them have died of other causes. It’s a horrible feeling to add names to that well. Really. It sucks.
Bret Michaels is also one of the major reasons why HDYC even exists. His mom is one of our founders from the original JDF committee. She wanted a camp for Bret to go to where diabetes was not a worry. She also served as our camp director for many years. She was the director my first year at camp! I have always considered Marge and Tommie (one of our other founders) to be heroes and role models.
I guess that explains most of it. It’s definitely one of those things that’s hard to understand unless you’ve actually been to camp. I’ve seen grown men weep at our closing ceremonies. It just has such a profound affect on everyone who attends. Losing one of our alumni and family members would be very sad.
All things considered though, it sounds like Bret is doing pretty well in recovery. His people seem pretty optimistic in his recovery. I am so relieved to hear all of the positive reports that have come out in the past few days. I know that everyone from HDYC is hoping and praying for Bret to get better and continue doing great work and sending kids to camp all over the country!
(Just a side note: If you didn’t know already, Bret has raised $140,000 for camperships through the ADA on Celebrity Apprentice so far!!! That’s enough to send at least 140 kids to camp!!)