Printed In Yated, Sivan 5762 - May 2002 in "Health Bits" section

The SECRET is out:
FWD Boys’ Shabbos a Smashing Success!

It’s no secret… Keeping a secret is hard! Although living with diabetes means leading a normal, sometimes even above-average life, many children with diabetes long for someone who can share and understand their condition. Knowing that their peers cannot relate to this unique aspect of their lives, youngsters sometimes feel self-conscious and “different”, imagining that they are the only ones in the world checking blood sugars and counting carbohydrates.

That’s why the Friends With Diabetes boys’ Shabbos at the beginning of May was such a grand success. The participants, teenaged boys from all over New York and surrounding states, converged in Monsey, NY, for an exciting and uplifting program of speakers and activities. But perhaps even more important than the invaluable inspiration and education they absorbed, was the priceless feeling of empathy and friendship that served as a bond between them. The day-to-day details of dealing with diabetes were discussed openly and informally throughout the Shabbos. The delicious feeling of being understood warmed the boys.

FWD places a strong emphasis on protecting the privacy and confidentiality of its members. At the same time, while carefully bearing these wishes in mind, it aims to provide opportunity for interaction and support among the diabetics themselves. In addition to mingling and delighting with diabetic boys their own age, those in attendance gained immensely from meeting adults with diabetes.  These positive role models reinforced the belief that diabetes would not deprive anyone of building a beautiful family and succeeding in life.

There was much more to be gained from that Shabbos. One of the major goals of FWD is to educate its members on incorporating good diabetes practices with a Yiddishe lifestyle. This was achieved by speeches, explanation and clear demonstrations. Rabbi Holtzer of Monsey, NY, treated the boys to a masterful halachic oration. Also featured at the Shabbos was renowned educator, Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz.

A highlight of the Shabbos was the powerful speech delivered by Rabbi Weismandl, in which he stated clearly that diabetes is nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to hide. He pointed out that secrecy, which can ch”v lead to neglect in diabetes control, is actually the only thing a person need be embarrassed of.  For some children, keeping diabetes a secret may be harder than dealing with the condition itself!  The Rabbi also praised all those in attendance who had chosen not to be ashamed of diabetes, but rather to come join this inspirational gathering that would have a positive influence on the rest of their lives.

This Shabbos is only a part of FWD’s ongoing effort to educate, unite, and support youngsters with diabetes, literally from throughout the world! FWD hosts these inspirational and successful Shabbosim on a steady, ongoing basis, for both girls and boys separately. Many of the participants have vouched that a Shabbos with Friends With Diabetes has completely changed their perspective, their entire life. It’s good to know, at least, that these children now have one less secret to keep.

FWD is continuing to fill a vital need in the Jewish community. Our future plans iy”h, also include a support group for women dealing with type 2 diabetes. If you are interested in joining, or know someone who may benefit, don’t hesitate to pass along the secret!

Contact Friends With Diabetes at (845) 352-7532.