Disclosure: Even though I’ve lived in Baltimore for almost 18 years, and in Columbus, Georgia for a couple of years back in the 80’s, I was born in, grew up in, and lived many years in Cincinnati, where I became, and remain, a HUGE fan of my hometown Reds. So I tuned in to MLB Network Sunday afternoon in anticipation of watching the Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech of Barry Larkin, who will likely be the last Reds player inducted in my lifetime (Dave Parker? Dave Concepcion? Anyone? Bueller?).
Before Larkin’s speech was the speech from Vicki Santo, widow of Ron Santo, who was also inducted this year. His induction comes mere months after losing a long battle with diabetes at the age of 71. He’s not the first baseball player with Diabetes inducted into the Hall of Fame (the great Jackie Robinson comes to mind). But Vicki’s speech, honoring her husband, and his life with diabetes, was an inspiring wake-up call to all of us. It reminds us that the work for a cure goes on, and that great things can be accomplished in spite of what diabetes does to our lives. She reminds us that Ron Santo helped raise over $65 million for JDRF, and that when you walk, ride, or give to a Victoria Cumbow, a Moira McCarthy, or a Jeff Mather who is Riding for a Cure, you are helping to find a cure too. And she reminds me that I have a long way to go in the advocacy department.
The link to the full video is below, courtesy of MLB Network. A few snippets that resonated with me:
“Ron said that playing the game was easy… that only the diabetes made the game hard”.
“He embraced his gift and his hardship equally– believing that one would not have mattered without the other. He believed in his journey and he believed in his cause. His journey has led him here to Cooperstown. And his cause is finding a cure”.
“…in his legacy let it be known that here is a man who attained the highest honor his sport can give, while playing with an insidious disease”.
The speech starts at about the 1:55 mark in the video. If you can, please take the time to listen. And let this speech inspire you to make a bigger difference.