Welcome to my Personal Page
Where to start...So, we all know that COVID has wreaked havoc on the world. And, as I am sure you are all aware, diabetics are harder hit by COVID than others, so it is at this time that organizations like the ADA require our help more than ever! I could never tell this story as succinctly as our Fearless Leader(tm) Brad Maas can, so I won't try to. Please take the time to read his email, it is an incredible testimony to the spirit of a man, a father, a friend, and a teammate. As someone who grew up with a sister with type I diabetes, I understood all of this on an intellectual level. Now, as a father, I get it. We will fight this disease until we are no longer able to. I will post his email to our team below, and that will explain all the reasons I am continuing to support the ADA and the Tour de Cure.
One note before I post his email, though. Due to COVID, this year the Tour has gone "virtual". Unlike usual, we will not be meeting in Portland to enjoy our annual ride through Oregon wine country. Instead, we all will be riding on our own, where we live. I will no longer have my teammates to push me through, but I also no longer have the defined constraint of 100 miles on me. So, this year, I have decided to utilize something that Salt Lake City provides in spades: elevation. Instead of riding 100 miles, this year I will be trading miles for altitude. My planned route this year is 54 miles, but will include more than 8000 feet of elevation gain. Specifically, I will be biking up (and down!) both Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons in SLC. Here is my route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/33140511. This will be by far the toughest ride I have ever done both physically and mentally, but I have been working hard over the last few weeks to train and be ready for this ride on July 25.
In honor of this new route, I am changing the way I fundraise. Instead of asking for a set contribution, I am asking you to set a challenge goal by donating $0.005, $0.01, or even $0.03 or more per foot of elevation gain I am able to complete. I honestly don't know if I can do it. Help me get there by pledging to donate for every foot I ride uphill! Help us get to $250,000!
And now on to Brad:
Hello Fellow Teammates:
First and foremost, I would like to offer my sincerest apologies for my lack of communication this year. It was not my intent to wait this long before writing you all, but there are some major changes occurring, and it is not until now that I am able to give you concrete information. There is a lot of information here, but you deserve to know the status of "Paige’s Pilots". Below is a bullet list of important items. For additional information, please scroll to the appropriate sections that you find beneficial.
Why the ADA versus JDRF
Closure of local ADA office
Tour de Cure 2020
My plan going forward
Your impact - If you only read one section, read this one
Why ADA – The question I get most frequently when fundraising for the ADA is, why not JDRF? This is a great question and my response is multifaceted.
First, my company, Delta Air Lines, generously donates to several charities annually. One of those charities is JDRF, an organization that I support. Since my company is making a significant impact, I wanted to fight this disease, from a personal standpoint, using a different avenue. The more entities that are fighting diabetes, the better.
Second, when Paige was diagnosed in April of 2011, Pam and I were completely overwhelmed. Our lives changed overnight and we had few resources to navigate this new challenge of keeping Paige alive. In addition, we had no pathway to get Paige back into a normal life. The school would not take legal responsibility. Paige’s school did not have a full-time nurse on staff. One wrong insulin injection could be fatal, which is a pretty huge responsibility for a first-grader.
The ADA was absolutely incredible! We had real people helping us regain normalcy. The ADA sent trainers into the school to train non-nurse staff and to introduce protocols to keep Paige alive and safe. The "Safe at School" program was crafted by the Portland office and a fellow Community Leadership Board member. Now, it is used nationally.
Third, the ADA gave Paige a voice, when JDRF did not. Soon after Paige’s diagnosis, she applied to be a JDRF advocate at their annual Call to Congress. Paige’s application was understandably denied since she was fairly young and there were literally thousands of other applicants. In 2013, Kris Bockmeir called and asked if Paige wanted to participate in the Washington state Call to Congress. She had the opportunity to meet with her state representatives Brandon Vick and Liz Pike. Paige even shook hands and chatted with Governor Jay Inslee for a moment. For the first time, Paige had a voice.
Thanks to Laura Keller, Paige was asked to advocate at the national level at three Calls to Congress. Paige met with Jaime Herrera Beutler, her Congresswoman, as well as the legislative assistants to Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. Finally, Paige had a voice, and that is ONLY because of the ADA. Pam and I were in tears watching C-SPAN, when our Congresswoman used Paige’s name and story during a hearing with the National Institutes of Health. At that moment, Paige’s voice made a huge impact!
Fourth, the ADA does not focus solely on research. The majority of the funds go to research which is good, but there are programs like Safe at School that are absolutely vital. By having a local office, some of the funds were earmarked to necessary local and regional programs. It is important to me that I can see real people in the region that were positively impacted by real people at the local ADA office.
Video of Carson - https://vimeo.com/390640192/261bc5706d Please view the link to meet one of Type 1’s latest victims.
COVID-19 Fallout – I never thought that a virus could simultaneously cripple the economy, my occupation, as well as the American Diabetes Association. Many of us are pilots or immediate family members of pilots. The impact of a shut-down economy is devastating. At least four team members are facing furlough [TJ's note: That's me!]. The remaining pilots are facing downgrades and significantly reduced compensation. It is interesting how quickly many of my teammates went from “fighting for a cause” to “being the cause.” I know firsthand, this is a tough time so if you are unable to contribute or participate, you will not get pressure from me.
I am fortunate to still have a job, but I have been notified of a downgrade. After only spending one year as a Boeing 737 Captain, I am being forced back into the First Officer seat of an Airbus A330. Again, several team members have it much, much worse.
Closure of the Local ADA Office – The local ADA office no longer exists. You heard that correctly, there is no longer a physical ADA office in Portland. Almost all of the employees, whom I consider family, have been terminated. The office is closed and there is no plan for the local office to reopen. The Community Leadership Board, where I proudly served, has dissolved. For the Maas family, this is absolutely devastating.
The ADA needs donation dollars to operate. Because of the economic shutdown sparking financial hardships across the country, donations to the ADA have basically stopped overnight. 44% of the ADA employees have been terminated. Local offices in Portland, Seattle, Dallas, Minneapolis, and several others, have been closed. Most corporate real estate has been removed. My ADA family has contributed their time, their intellect, and contributed financially for a common cause. I am heartbroken and grief-stricken for the loss of my ADA family. I was incredibly loyal to them and my loyalty continues with them. I absolutely cannot replace real people with email and Zoom meetings. There must be a local office and outreach for me to continue.
Tour de Cure 2020 – As you probably know, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tour de Cure is going virtual this year. Tour Center and fundraising is unchanged but instead of all of us meeting at Amberglen Park in Hillsboro to ride together, we will all ride/run/walk any route at any location.
I have made this year’s fundraising goal $34,657. Sounds like a strange number, right? From 2012-2019, our team has raised $215,343. It would be a dream come true to reach $250,000 in total fundraising and the fundraising goal reflects this.
My Plan – Since I am already a fundraising champion, plus my girls are over half way to champion, I am proceeding with the Tour de Cure. I will ride my bike 50 miles on July 25 with my girls, which will be a personal distance record for Jamie. I hope you all will join me for one last ride/run/walk, no matter where you live.
This will be a nice bookend to a fundraising campaign that was unimaginable, thanks to you. What started out as the Maas family plus Erich Hess in 2012, turned into the most successful family/friend team in the history of the Portland Tour de Cure.
Impact – All of you need to read, and reread, this section carefully. YOU HAVE ALL MADE AN IMPACT! With recent events, we have seen a huge increase in performative activism. Performative activism is mainly done to selfishly increase one’s social capital, but does absolutely nothing for a cause. These are keyboard warriors that want to change the world, but never leave their couch to actually make the change.
You are all performance activists. You have all left your couch, raised money, cycled, walked or run to fight against a deadly disease. All of you need to understand that you made a difference for people living with diabetes.
Insulin prices have dropped, thanks to you. If you were watching any cable news station on May 27th, you may have seen ADA CEO Tracey Brown on the White House lawn, announcing that Medicare Part D recipients will pay no more than $35/month for insulin. Eight states (with more to follow) have capped insulin prices at $100/month for anyone on a state-sponsored health plan.
"Safe at School" is a program that I mention frequently. Thanks to you, children have safety nets at public schools as well as some private schools. No school that receives one penny of government funding can turn a child away because of diabetes. Faculty and staff are trained to manage diabetes and they are relieved from liability thanks to this program. I know firsthand that Hathaway Elementary School in Washougal, WA, executed Paige’s emergency diabetes plan and they performed flawlessly. Again, this is one of the main reasons I decided to support ADA over JDRF.
The closed-loop insulin delivery system is now a reality. The ADA supported research to make this available to people struggling to keep their blood glucose in range. Paige will leave our nest and hopefully live a long life due to technological advancements that were partially funded by the American Diabetes Association.
Pilots with diabetes can now continue to fly because of technological advancements and ADA advocacy. She hasn’t expressed interest to follow in her dad’s footsteps but thanks to your efforts, she could fly an airliner someday.
Thank you – Because of you, we have raised over $219,000 for diabetes research, education and advocacy. You should feel proud of this. You have all positively impacted the lives of people living with diabetes. We were the top family/friend team for several years running, and we beat most corporate teams as well. Think about that! You are the epitome of success. You are generous, selfless people that came together to support a group of people living with a deadly disease. Words cannot describe how thankful I am to call you teammates.
Let this number sink in…$219,000!
I couldn’t have done this without you. I am heartbroken that this effort must end, but you will all be in my heart. I do not take any of you for granted and I am humbled that you chose to support my family.
Your Team Captain,
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