Last week at the Friends For Life conference I attended #Masterlab which was put on by the folks over at Diabetes Hands Foundation. I was a little nervous, it felt like a first date in a few ways. I was meeting so many people that day that really helped shape who I am as a diabetes advocate, blogger and member of the onnline community.
Let me say this first: I was greeted by Mike Lawson, who scooped me up in the friendliest, warmest hug before even signing me in. It put me at ease and did you ever get a Mike hug? If not, you're missing out.
There was a big discussion to start things off about the state of federal regulations and diabetes and how it affects us. It was hard to wrap my head around since I was trying so hard to Canadianize it in real-time. I have never heard of Health Canada having an open discussion with a patient community and I think that it is time to change that. I will be doing some research into the Canadian equivilant of open dockets. I can only hope we have someone as open to hearing from patients as Stayce Beck from the FDA is.
We also had the pleasure of hearing from Mike Mangianello from HCM strategists. Mike was an advocacy pioneer in the 80s and 90s during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the US. He gave us a little fire under our feet to mobilize ourselves. I believe that he was quoted by almost everyone in the room saying "The diabetes community is a sleeping beast that needs to be awoken. And he is right! We are one of the MOST common chronic illnesses in North America. People are scared to speak up because of the shame we feel and it is time to stop it. He was extremely inspirational and smart.
We finished the day off with hearing from people in our very own community talking about several very successful advocacy campaigns such as Bennet from Stripsafely and Kerri spoke about the Spare a Rose campaign.
Keep an eye out at diabeteshandsfoundation.com/masterlab and you will soon be able to see a video of the whole event.