Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Saturday's Finding Balance with Diabetes Conference

Part of my job at JDRF is to help the outreach in the community. We have a small budget for outreach....and by small I mean non-existent pretty much.

I don't care.

That's my passion, it's important. I push to make sure that we are meeting needs of people living with type one diabetes until there is a cure.

Less until none.

Less doesn't only mean less needles, less finger pricks. In fact, to people inside the organization and people who get it...less until none means less burden of living with T1D.

So I set on this mission. I wanted to bring people affected by T1D together in Halifax and hear some people talk about the stuff beyond the numbers. I wanted to bring people who knew about living with diabetes and I wanted them to share their expertise. Our community needs it. We need to branch out from relying on our numbers and focusing on whole body diabetes management.

Without focusing on the psycho-social impacts of type one diabetes you are only managing 50% of the disease.

That is a concept lost on endocrinologists, medical doctors, (some) certified diabetes educators and nutritionists. It's something that you won't hear in your yearly 15 minutes of fame at the doctor's office.

So I worked hard.

I nailed down sponsors, I worked with the JDRF Canada head office. I found a location, and then I found another when we outgrew the first. I picked a menu that would fit a person with diabetes' lifestyle.

I developed the promotional materials, I made phone calls and lined up speakers. I bounced ideas off my co-workers endlessly and gathered opinions and hoped it would look like I planned.

So I brought in Kerri Sparling  to teach us about the importance of finding your community and what the diabetes online community can do. If you're reading my blog, you have read her blog. But if you by some freak chance have not read her blog, click on her name. Go ahead, I'll wait.

And I brought in Joe Solo. If you're reading my blog, you know who Joe is. If you don't go ahead and click his name. I'll wait.

And we also had Dr. Mike Vallis. Dr. Vallis is well known in Halifax. He is a health psychologist that focuses on the difficulties of living with diabetes. So basically he is a pioneer in the world for what this conference was covering.

It was an awesome day. I felt the vibe in the conference was welcoming, there was a good mix of families and adults with type one diabetes. There was so much that I could tell you about the meaning of all of this. And I could go on and on...and on

BUT.

Kim Vlasnik did it in a way that is heart wrenching, gut churning and tear jerking. And TRUE.

TRUTH.

Watch. This.

Now.

And then go read her blog. And if you're lucky enough, meet Kim in person, she is as charming, caring and hilarious in person as she is online.


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