As you all know, I was one of the attendees of the fourth Roche Diabetes Social Media Summit. Just like I did last year, I will be writing 4-5 separate posts about the summit and then ending with a summary of the entire trip and my overall thoughts. There are a lot of conversations that are held there and a lot of ideas that spark into my head, so I have so much to blog about. I wanted to start with the one thing that affected me the most, and I think a lot of attendees will probably say the same, and that is Josh Bleil from the Indianapolis Colts.
On the first full day of the summit and our first day of sessions, I noticed on the agenda that there would be somebody speaking from the Colts organization. I had no idea who the person was, if he was a player, did he have diabetes, did his mother have diabetes, or a child, no clue whatsoever. When I initially saw him walk into the room, I thought that I saw him walking with a cane, but I wasn’t sure.
Then I saw him walk up to the front of the room to begin his speech, and I saw that indeed he was walking with a cane, and was a double amputee. I still was not sure what he was going to talk about, but I started to have an idea.
When Josh began telling us his story about why and how he is where he is today, that is when the room began to fill with tears. Josh joined the Marines shortly after 9/11 and wanted to do something for his country. While he was there, during a normal patrol in Fallujah, an explosive went off underneath his HumVee. Unfortunately, two of his men did not survive. Josh eventually lost both of his legs after complications and that is when his new life began.
While Josh was in the hospital he did not want to leave until he could walk. He did not want people to see him like this. All until the day a Gunnery Sergeant walked into his hospital room, with only one leg and told him that he can do this, and he can get through this. That is when his life changed and he knew that he had to learn to walk and face this.
Josh went on to be hired by the Indianpolis Colts to go around and just talk. Tell his story and let people know that “everybody has a bomb go off in their life” as Josh had said. Personally, I do not want to even try to relate my diabetes “bomb” to what he went through, there is nowhere near a comparison.
Josh talked to us about the things that we do as bloggers that are benefiting a community. As a blogger, we are helping people get through hard times in their lives and we don’t hear the word thanks enough for what we do. For me, I don’t want a thank you. If my writing is helping others, than that is awesome and I am glad I am helping, but I don’t need a thank you, because I am going to continue this no matter what. I understand where Josh was coming from however. I do believe that we all owe him a thank you, not just for his service to this wonderful country, but also for sharing his story. I do believe everybody there thanked him, along with the standing ovation he received.
The last part that I wanted to share about Josh’s speaking time was one particular part of the speech that made me stop and think about everything that I do as a blogger. He has two mechanical legs, I believe that is what they are called, please correct me if I am wrong. But, his leg was becoming loose and he had to sit down and pull out an Allen wrench in order to tighten his leg before it came off. It definitely gave us some laughs through this emotional speech. He had also mentioned just shortly after that, he was going to be giving over 200 speeches this year alone. Over 200, that’s a lot folks.
So, why am I telling you this? Because when I wake up one day and I am not motivated to write a blog post or I don’t have “time” or whatever reason I give, it’s bullshit. Pardon the language. This guy is waking up everyday, putting on his legs, going out and speaking. If I can’t motivate myself to write sitting in the comfort of my own home, with both my legs, then to me, there is something wrong. That really motivated me.
Finally, I just want to say thank you to Roche for bringing Josh in to speak. I know for a fact that he was an inspiration to everybody that was there. I haven’t cried in a very long time, but this guy brought tears to my eyes.
Thank you Josh Bleil for your service and your inspiration.
**Disclosure: Roche paid my travel to and from Indianapolis, along with all meals and hotel. Roche also has paid ads throughout this site. The views and opinions in this post are 100% entirely mine and are not influenced by Roche.