I’m sitting there in my yoga pants and old sweatshirt totally ready for a festival of sparkly outfits and judgement (Sparkly outfits for them. Judgement by me.) and everything was going exactly as planned-- I totally ranted on Facebook about Miss So-and-so getting robbed in that last elimination. Except my own Miss Idaho brought me back. Back to what was real and what was really important.
My partners and I had been working on a killer pocket. I am an entrepreneur. I can’t help it-- it’s in my makeup. This pocket was going to change the world. Everyone needs it. Everyone needs a place to carry their smartphone and lip gloss. Everyone wears a little tank top under their outfit. This was going to be awesome. But when I saw Miss Idaho on stage with her insulin pump, I realized our killer pocket had a higher purpose.
I started thinking about and researching Type 1 Diabetes like a sneaky kid hoards candy-- grabbing information and devouring it. I knew our pockets, with a little fine tuning, could serve a community that I was coming to know and love. And so we set off in a new and focused direction to serve an army of fighters. The PumpPocket was truly born, in my heart, the first time I gave it to a little 7 year old girl. I heard her story. Diagnosed at 16 months. DKA. I saw the permanent resigned worry in her mother. I also saw the gratitude in both of them that we had something needed, cute, and functional that solved a problem for them. Now Taylor could wear her pump at gymnastics. Now she could go to recess and hang upside down. Now she could go to the bathroom in the middle of the night-- all without worrying about her pump. And we kept testing prototypes and giving them away until we knew we had something useful and necessary. The day my partner met Kycie in the hospital, we knew we had to fight a little harder-- be advocates and contribute to this effort in a way that mattered.
Now, our #oneforone mission is to give one child’s PumpPocket away for every adult pocket we sell. We aren’t curing this slave-master of a disease. But we are joining the fight. We are extending relief. We are taking some of that worry out of the equation, however little, so people can think about care rather than pumps. The funny thing is, the more PumpPockets we give away, the more we gain. Pocket Innerwear is a cool thing to be a part of, but the T1D community is the real reason we push on. I’m so grateful Miss Idaho walked on that stage proudly displaying her pump and her message of courage and resilience. We don’t have Type 1, but we will always identify with those kind of people. People who stand up and fight a good fight. And we’ll have your back. #pocketswithpurpose
What the T1D community has taught me:
Speak up. Tell people about who you are and what you need. PWD are bold and self-sufficient.
Don’t be ashamed of who you are. PWD are more than their disease, but they don’t need to hide it either.
You are stronger than you think. PWD didn’t ask for a life of blood testing and needles, but they rise above and persevere. Like all of us can, diabetes or not.
Band together. Find your people. PWD connect to each other without judgment or pretense. They form an alliance and stick together.
Take care of yourself. PWD are in tune with their body and what it needs. They strive to sleep enough, stay hydrated and get exercise that works for them. Taking notes…
- Stay humble. PWD recognize they need support. They ask for help when they need it and they treat others with kindness and gratitude.