I love this time of year. Not just because it's warming up, the sun is shining and the neighbourhood kids are outdoors again. Okay, the few extra hours of sunlight is awesome but also because every year, around this time, I get an email from JDRF to let me know that it's time to register Team C.J. for the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes. For me, it's an easy decision.

My son C.J. has Type 1 Diabetes. He was diagnosed at the age of nine when he went into DKA (Diabetic ketoacidosis) and became very ill. He was immediately rushed to Sick Kids from our local hospital and spent several days in the CCU. Thankfully, due to the incredible care he received there, he quickly recovered but our lives were changed forever. His daily life now includes many needles and blood glucose tests, not to mention balancing his carbohydrate intake with his insulin doses. Insulin injections and blood tests are his life support and without a cure, he will follow this regiment for the rest of his life and is at risk to battle many of the other illnesses associated with Type 1 Diabetes. This has become our new normal and my son is doing great but my family can't wait for a cure to be announced!

But the people who participate and/or support our team don't necessarily do so because they live the daily ups and downs of this or any other disease or condition. My experience is they do so because of the integrity of their nature. I believe it's because they genuinely care. Most of the people I come across want to help make a difference and are looking for much more than a tax receipt.

How can you get involved?

  • Start or join a team. There are so many great causes out there. You may have a cause that is near and dear to your heart or be inspired by others experiences.

  • Pledge an event participant. Don't forget many people host their own fundraising events like auctions and garage or bake sales to raise money for their cause. Even donating goods to these efforts makes a huge difference!

  • Volunteer at an event. This is a big one that is often overlooked. Guaranteed, every fundraising organization in the city is looking for people to help out and not just on the day of the event. Not sure where to start? Get Volunteering has a matching service based on your interests, abilities and location.

And what would be more fun than involving your kids? The earlier, the better. When they see that your efforts are rewarding they will want to help too. Most fundraising events offer incentives (you can opt to donate these back), giveaways, entertainment, treats and snacks so it can make for a fun day out for the whole family. Let's be honest, sometimes it seems like a lot of work but at the end of the day we always have such an amazing time together! Everyone is always talking about next year's event as we head back to our cars. The benefits of getting your children involved with giving and participating will continue to serve them throughout their lives.

Getting involved can be an important and rewarding part of anyone's life. I am looking forward to a great walk with our team and participating in many other causes, in many different ways.