Saturday morning I had the privilege of representing InsulinDependence and Triabetes at the Taking Charge of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) event in Santa Rosa. Given my recent schedule I haven't been as active with Triabetes as I would like. I had to bail on the Carlsbad Half-Marathon weekend because of work and haven't been able to advice the 2011 captains to the degree I would have hoped for. When Nate contacted me to man the table at the conference I was 100% game. Plus it was a way for me to work on my BD skills without a suit on!
I introduced ID to each person who walked by the booth with a smile and the simple statement, "we're a national non-profit that promotes active lifestyles for people with diabetes." What was really special about the event was the number of people who had a light bulb go off with that simple sentence. Whether they were diabetics themselves or parents of diabetics the knowledge that there is a social network of people who face the same challenges made their daily struggles seem somehow less ardent. Through my role at Keas I'm learning how important social networks can be in behavior change. Diabetics know how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle but sometimes there isn't a ton of guidance on what a healthy lifestyle is when you're working with artificial insulin. The things that work for Joe Smith down the street may be entirely different for Debbie Diabetes. The collective wisdom in ID and on Phrendo makes it a bit easier to figure out what will work and what might not.
One particular story made the hour drive more than worth it. I met a woman whose 11-year-old son was diagnosed with type 1 sometime in December. Her son as she described him was a "super tough kid," with an untamable adventurous spirit who would be the "first to jump out of a plane," on a skydiving trip. Her eyes totally lit up when I told her about the triabuddies program and the support network that is so important to ID. In speaking with her I was reminded 1,000 times over how incredible the non-profit I'm a part of is and how influential Peter's vision is in the diabetic community. As always I'm just psyched to be a small part of the mission and the growth of the organization.