Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Letter to the Editor

I was asked by JDRF to write a response to a rather offensive article in The Stranger regarding Gingerbread Village. Here's my response:

Dear Editor,

I would be the first to agree with any article cynically reviewing this time of year -- the holidays tend to get a little saccharine for my tastes. However, in your recent article Constructing Christmas, the authors didn't seem to (or didn't want to) understand what the Gingerbread Village is actually about.

Yes, the architecture firms take the building of these displays very seriously and yes, there was a big opening ceremony complete with Miss Washington, but the Gingerbread Village is not about them. As was mentioned only briefly, and in a rather sarcastic manner, Gingerbread Village is a fundraiser for the Northwest chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. All donations and proceeds from the cookie sales go directly to funding research to cure juvenile (type 1) diabetes.

Despite the authors' assumptions that diabetics are "naughty diseased children," you would be hard put to find someone whose life is not touched in some way by this disease. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and, much like other autoimmune diseases, is very prevalent in Washington State. It usually strikes in childhood or young adulthood and results in a drastic reduction in quality of life and shortens the average life span. My daughter was diagnosed at age 5. She requires multiple injections of insulin daily to survive and faces the risk of serious complications. Diabetes complications (everything from kidney and heart disease to blindness and amputation) come on quickly and can strike a seemingly healthy person even at a young age.

As I said before, I have no issues with cynicism. I often find the pageantry associated with Christmas to be empty and commercial but, as the authors failed to point out, Gingerbread Village is something more. So go down, check it out for yourself and while you're there drop a dollar or two in the donation box and next time you're getting a piercing or tattoo check to see if that little girl there with her daddy is wearing an insulin pump on her hip. You might've just helped save her life.

Thank you,

Angie Ravenscroft


Kate said...

Your letter brought tears to my eyes. It's powerful, it's honest, it's eye-opening. I hope The Stranger publishes it. -- kmd

Kate said...

I keep meaning to tell you: I was so glad this letter got published! YAY!