Today I helped out with the CDA's Golf tournament in Brantford. I volunteered last year as a guest speaker, and this year I came back to volunteer with raffle tickets. I enjoy volunteering, but really, the best part about it comes from meeting new faces or reconnecting. At the last tournament I met a dedicated volunteer that is just inspiring in the fact that he bikes from store to store handing out flyers every year for the Brantford CDA. He really, truly is a hard worker and I love the enthusiasm he has for his hard work.
I was happy to see him again working hard at the event, but devastated to hear his reply when I asked him how he was doing. "I have throat cancer, the doctors don't think I will live too long after the surgery..." he said it softly and without too much fear in his words. I couldn't help but reach out to him, resting my hand on his shoulder not truly knowing what to say. I instantly put myself in his shoes. Wondering what it would have been like to hear that news.
He told me how he felt bad for his wife, how he wanted to fix up his house before the operation so that he didn't leave her with chores to be done. His face wasn't as cheerful as it once was and my heart sank in my chest. He said that it will be bad for the CDA because then there would be one less volunteer - but I reassured him that he is much more than a volunteer - I also told him to stay positive, keep his chin up, and do what he loves.
After the conversation was over, it was hard to walk away. I had only met him a handful of times, but instantly felt like I didn't want to let him out of my sight. How can someone be there one second, gone another? How is life so fragile? Why do we not do the things we love every day? Then it hit me - it hit me hard.
I drove back to London tonight thinking about that moment. That moment when I stood still, looking into his eyes as he told me the doctors don't think he will live. Why did that effect me so much? Why did I instantly think, what if that was me? Well, at one point diabetes was a fatal sentence. Children were dying from diabetes and there was nothing anyone could do about it. Now, diabetics are living a lifetime. Had I been born a hundred years ago, I would have never been so lucky.
I believe positivity can go along way. But, my cry to everyone is that we don't wait for THAT moment to change your life around. Why do we spend nights mad at someone? Why do we go through tasks we hate? Why do we make wishes and never follow them? So it took me diabetes to kick my butt in gear and to really start making a difference and most importantly ENJOYING making a difference. If I can be the one that makes you think, 'Hey maybe I should do something I love before it's too late...' then I am so incredibly happy for you because truly, we only have one chance.