The Diabetes Community lost a great advocate and friend this week.
Judy Reich, who faced life with diabetes with incredible dignity and grace for more than 50 years, died on Wednesday with her husband, Gary, by her side.
Judy was an unabashedly proud resident of Las Vegas and had an illustrious career in the Nevada broadcasting industry. She was honored as an inductee into the Nevada Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame in the year 2000.
Judy was also heavily involved in local diabetes advocacy as a volunteer with the JDRF, and was a former chair of the Las Vegas chapter.
I was fortunate enough to get to know Judy over the years through our interactions in the Diabetes Online Community. We bonded over shared health and life experiences. She was always so kind, empathethic and encouraging, and always there if you needed someone to listen.
I finally had the opportunity to meet Judy in person for the first time in 2016, when I attended the Diabetes UnConference in Las Vegas. She was just as warm and welcoming in person as she was online. I will always treasure the time we spent talking during that weekend and the advice and encouragement she offered for some of the situations I was dealing with at that time. We caught up with each other again at the UnConference in 2017.
For Judy, it was the shared interests beyond diabetes that meant the most when it came to her diabetes friends and collegues. Arts, musicals, theater, writing, and great wines were just some of her interests. And if you shared them, you had a friend for life in Judy.
Judy expressed an appreciation for the way that I share life experiences and for my artwork, and I’ve always valued her support of my efforts.
Judy was a fan of my nature photos and especially loved the Northern Cardinal shots that I’ve shared on Facebook. When she lived in the Midwest, these beautiful birds were in abundance. Judy told me more than once that she missed them, as they are not common in the Las Vegas area. She would have absolutely loved this photo that I captured recently of a cardinal in flight.
Some folks believe that a cardinal sighting is an indication that a loved one who has passed wants you to know they are around. Reflecting on this image now, it seems like the perfect representation of Judy’s bright, vibrant spirit soaring into the great beyond. While I’m saddened by the loss of my friend, it is comforting to think that the next time I see a cardinal, it just might be Judy stopping by to say hello.
My thoughts are with Judy’s family, collegues, and all of her friends in the Diabetes Online Community. May her memory be eternal.
Lots of love.