There wasn’t even enough time to sew the patch onto my carry-on bag – my latest is from the Field Museum in Chicago where I attended the American Diabetes Association 73rd Scientific Session – and I was off to the Children with Diabetes (CWD) Friends for Life conference. There was a week or two separating the annual conferences, but in my typical Haidee fashion, I didn’t decide until the very last minute that I was flying to Orlando to be involved.
I don’t know why I drag my heels so; it wouldn’t kill me to plan. Though I’d never been to CWD (at least outwardly I’m no longer a child), I’ve had diabetes since I was a child. It wouldn’t be all that strange, I supposed, to show up and rub elbows with some of the younger D-folks. I felt I qualified. Who needs to be qualified for Disneyland?!
There was another reason I wanted to go - and this one could easily provide me with the need of purpose I often try to hide behind. Insulet had asked me to create four t-shirt designs based on my Suite D FingerPricks™ series (also promoting the next-generation, smaller-sized Pod) to be colored and worn by the kids at CWD. The planets had aligned and I was very pleased with the results.
It’s very cool to see people interact with art I’ve created. People weren’t just standing and staring at framed work in a gallery, but were actually picking their preference of design and making it their own. We had a packed house the first night the exhibit hall was open and I was quite fearful there weren’t going to be t-shirts on hand! (Can you imagine how flattering it would be to run out?? I dared not hope.)
I threw a heap of them over my shoulder and targeted kids who seemed interested and those who seemed disinterested. That was my tactic. The only thing I did to truly embarrass myself – and you can be sure it happened more than once – was approaching the same child with a t-shirt more than once. That’s called dementia, kiddos. People with diabetes are a fairly easygoing breed (really?), so my slow-wittedness was met by nervous giggles or eye rolling (at the dopey adult).
At the end of the day, I was not disappointed with people’s reactions and, yes, I felt like an antiquated 40-something rock star for a few fleeting moments. Those are the kind of dreams that come true at The Magic Kingdom (and with the kindness of Insulet!).
The design that had the biggest splash was the rocker doing karaoke with the Pod. Boys preferred the designs without the girl characters on them. I had two brothers so at one point in time that is something I was keenly aware of. Girls were less discriminating and there were plenty of them grabbing for fabric markers.
Overall, it was a great event. But note to self: be cooler next year.