My recap will be in many parts parts.
To get this out of the way, my travel, lodging and conference fees were paid for by the Diabetes Hands Foundation scholarship. While they paid my way to attend Masterlab and Friends For Life, my experiences and my opinions are my very own. They in no way influence what I write here. I will also say (and they didn't ask me to do this AT ALL) that they are an organization VERY worthy of your donation dollars. If you can spare some money, please throw it their way.
So before Friends For Life officially launched, I attended a two day intensive conference on Advocacy in the diabetes world. This was my second year attending Masterlab, so while I had somewhat of a baseline for my expectations, I had no clue it would be this mind altering this time around. I will break it down session by session.
Throwing my notes together is very interesting. I like handwriting things, so I have a journal around half full of my experiences. Never underestimate the power of free form note taking and trying to piece it together later.
First speaker: Tom Boyer- Director of Government Affairs at Novo Nordisk.
Tom was an excellent speaker. He is one of us PWDs (a person living with diabetes), and when you are presenting on a subject as he did, having that street cred really helps. He has been advocating for many years on behalf of PWDs everywhere.
He presented on rallying the troupes. How we need to work together as a whole group of people with diabetes to create effective change.
He pointed out that a lot of people living with T1D tend to become obessively defensive when someone mentions weight, sugar, lifestyle causing diabetes. A lot of people will throw their hands up and say "NO way! NOT MY DIABETES." But as research becomes more clear, and people start to humanize others behind all types of diabetes we are starting to slowly see the bubble that diabetes is diabetes is diabetes. It all sucks, no matter how your body decided that insulin production is not its priority. The ONLY way we will make change is if we come together.
He described it perfectly: when the three stooges first met, they were in-fighting. They were fighting with each other, there were injuries and nobody was getting anywhere. Then, they decided to work together and fight as one unit and they startedto make progress. Essentially when they worked together they were All For One And One For All.
We as a community need to stop putting our walls up. Nobody, not you, not me, not the president of the USA can advocate for change in diabetes care and treatment until we educate effectively. Defending your "type" and throwing the other under the bus is unacceptable behaviour, and is counter productive to creating positive change and a world without the financial, physical and emotional burden of diabetes.
I am calling on all of my readers, old and new to commit to never trying to defend your type, and only defending the human beings who are living with mal-functioning pancreases so we can really get to work.