Baby, I Launched It!


by Suzanne Reisler Litwin

Now, what has she done?  What has she launched? I hope it’s not weird and filled with disgusting language as that would be so typical of her! Let’s hope and pray it’s for the greater good.  Don’t worry MA! I promise to keep it clean!

After months and months of planning, I have officially launched my 2018 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Fundraising campaign!  (Bells, whistles, noise, shouts, hooting, horns, sirens!!!!!)  It’s a really big deal for me.

For the last 20+ years, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or JDRF has been presenting the Walk to Cure Diabetes fundraising event.  This year the event will be held on Sunday, June 10th at the Centre de la Nature in Laval, Quebec.  Actually, the same type of event will be happening on this day in different locations across Canada.  Specifically, this event was created to bring together a like-minded community whose goal is to cure Juvenile Diabetes.

I have been involved with JDRF since its inception.  Somewhere well over 35+ years ago, I participated in their first ever JDRF Bike-a-thon event.  I haven’t stopped raising funds for this cause as a cure has not been found.  Until a cure for diabetes is found, I won’t stop.  I don’t think I can stop unless we obtain our goal.  It’s got to come soon because I’m cranking up there in the age zone.

Although my 2018 campaign has been launched and my letters have been mailed to my sponsors, I cannot rest.  My brain is always thinking about how to do this better each year.  Basically, this is my process:

Right after the 2017 Walk to Cure Diabetes is complete; I evaluate and reflect on that campaign. I ask myself many questions.  What was good about it? What was crappy about it?  What can we do better to raise more interest and funds? Was it successful? Did the campaign raise healthy funds?   What was missing and needs to be filled? How can I get more people involved?

In 2016, I presented myself as Elvis.  I loved this theme! However, the visual was kind of shocking for some people. So this year, I eased myself into a more typical role which I hope will have great appeal.

Once I answer all the pertinent evaluation questions, I start planning for next year.  Firstly, I start with a theme.  What will be the theme?  This takes the longest amount of time to decide.  I check my previous years to make sure I don’t use a similar theme.  Then I walk up and down the aisles of different dollar stores, crafts stores, hobby shops and party supply stores to help the creative process.  Finding the theme can take months.

For the 2018 JDRF campaign, I came up with three themes.  I decided on HOCKEY!  The reason I selected a hockey theme is due to the fact there are many catchphrases I can work with. Once the theme is determined, the catchphrases are then generated. This year’s catchphrase is, “IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GOAL!”

Another reason for choosing a hockey theme is that Max Domi, NHL player for the Arizona, Coyotes is our official JDRF Walk spokesperson!  We are so lucky to have Max Domi on our team!

Once I have the theme and the catchphrases, I work on the visual.  What visual is going to catch the interest of my sponsors?  Last year the visual was great, this year the visual will be sporty!

Next, I work with a fantastic and amazing graphic artist, Michael Domingo.  Michael pulls together my letter information with the images and makes it “cool and interesting!”

Then the super wonderful JDRF Montreal staff, Jessica, Claire, and Cindy, help to prepare all the other print materials which will go with the mailing. Now, I’m almost ready to assemble my packages.

The last step is… What will I give my sponsors for supporting JDRF?  What will be the little gift in their packages?  Each year I ponder over what that gift will be.  I cannot divulge the 2018 gift item yet.  Whatever it is, it’s just a token of my thanks and appreciation for their commitment to JDRF.  The gift must be light, flat, and non-perishable! Again, not easy to find.  This year I went out on a limb to found something interesting.  I hope it makes the journey…

Each letter is then personalized and assembled by me along with my children, family, and friends.  This part takes quite a bit of time.

Once all the letters are ready, I bring them to my sweet friend at the post office and gleefully hand them over to her.  She has been receiving my JDRF letters for years.  She will post one of the sponsor’s letters on her postal information board until The Walk to Cure Diabetes is over in June.  She’s a BIG supporter of JDRF and my endeavours.

At this point, all the big work is done.  But…is it ever really done?  Now, I hope and wait for three months that my sponsors will support my efforts to cure diabetes.  At this time, I also need to keep finding new supporters.  My campaign needs to grow a little bit each year.

On Sunday, June 10th, my team “Suzie’s Sweethearts” will be outfitted in a Hockey theme.  We will be wearing matching t-shirts, sunglasses, hats, and any accessory which depicts our theme.  Most of the teams at the WALK event will be dressed in their specific team t-shirts and/or theme.  This makes for a lot of solidarity and creativity.

Collectively, we are all trying to cure juvenile diabetes. We are also trying to come together as a community to support each other’s struggles and successes.

Please enjoy my 2018 JDRF Campaign by visiting my fundraising page at:

I hope the funds we raise will make a big difference.  And… just maybe… we will reach our goal in finding a cure!


Suzanne Reisler Litwin is an instructor at Concordia University in The Centre for Continuing Education.  She is a writing instructor at The Cummings Centre. She writes a weekly column in The Suburban Newspaper and at the West Island Blog. Suzanne is a freelance contributor to The Suburban Newspaper, West Island Blog, Wise Women Canada, The Metropolitain, and Women on the Fence. She is the author of the children’s book, The Black Velvet Jacket. Visit to read more of her published articles, books, and poetry.



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