This past weekend was the Gala for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. MSNBC's Chris Matthews was our honoree and I got to spend some time with him before the event. You can listen to my interview with Chris here.
Very nice guy. He doesn't know any of us and took the time to joke around and make everyone feel important. Sometimes the celebs at these things just sit in the corner after the pictures are taken.
I set up my interview with him ahead of time. His handlers told me no tough political questions – kind of dopey considering that's what he does all day long - and I asked a couple anyway. He was alone and of course he didn't care. He was happy to opine on the election, after all, it's what he does every night to a national audience.
We talked about why North Carolina went for Obama this year. Matthews thinks it's all thanks to higher education, especially his beloved Chapel Hill, where he went to grad school. His theory is that if you have a college education or higher you were more likely to vote for Obama in the primaries and general election. Other polls have indicated that, but he talked specifically about higher education in North Carolina and how that, perhaps more than anything else, has changed this state over the past 75 years.
Chris Matthews has type 2 diabetes – he's been very open about it since being diagnosed almost two years ago. I'm thrilled that he came to Charlotte for this event. We don't have the final numbers, but I think we raised about $450,000. Not too shabby. (Funny moment – we auctioned off a gorgeous golden retriever puppy for $4-thousand. Our Chris Matthews package, including watching a taping of his show, etc, went for $3500. Don't think he didn't notice. Hey, the puppy was cuter!)
Helping us get to that goal was two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, swimmer Mark Gangloff. He and his wife, Ashley, live in Charlotte. They were great. Mark brought his medals – I think you can see I'm a little embarrassed to be wearing one. He was very funny and told me to wear it or he wouldn't take the picture.
Benny actually has a checkup today with our pediatric endocrinologist. We go four times a year to get an update on his blood sugar numbers and adjust the pump as necessary. With a three year old who's growing nonstop, the amount of insulin he gets needs to be tweaked quite often.
So after a big night of playing dress-up and celebrating our quest for a cure, it's back to the business of managing diabetes. Maybe in a couple of years I can stay home in my pj's, these big fund raisers unnecessary because we've got a cure. Hey – I can dream, right?