Just the other week our family had the privilege of attending the Friends for Life 2014 Children with Diabetes Conference held in Orlando, Florida. If you have not attended this conference or haven’t attended in many years, we highly recommend you put it on your “to do list” for July 2015.
The conference attracts attendees internationally and from across the United States and Canada. Although the conference is dedicated to children with diabetes and their families, it is also open to any adult with diabetes, caregivers and friends. There is something to be gained for every person attending. Childcare is offered so that parents/grandparents can attend sessions.
Opportunities for Diabetes Education
There are basic sessions, like the Caregivers Bootcamp, that cover carb counting, diabetes care giving and glucagon administration. There are also educational sessions where you learn cutting-edge strategies for diabetes management, psychosocial sessions and discussion sessions. And then there are sessions that present the latest technological advances in diabetes care given by leading experts in the field.
Diabetes Networking Opportunities
Beyond all these learning opportunities, there are so many social opportunities for networking and making “friends for life.” These opportunities include a “first timers” coffee, pool time, focus groups, sports central, TrialNet and Celiac Screenings, elementary/tween/teen/parent/grandparent programs and outings, events for adults with type 1 diabetes, a family movie night, the Family and Friends Banquet Dinner/Dance, and the exhibit hall.
In the exhibit hall, you meet celebrities who will share their diabetes story, taste diabetes-friendly snacks, visit booths where you can view and learn more about the various insulin pump options, CGMs and other diabetes products and supplies. You’ll also be exposed to the latest diabetes apps for your phones and tablets, as well as meet authors at book signings and diabetes bloggers famous in the diabetes online community. There are games for the kids to play, giveaways and plenty of activities for all to enjoy.
As Omnipod ambassadors, we were in the exhibit booth with the Omnipod team interacting with other families who may be interested in the Omnipod insulin pump. It was a truly awesome and rewarding experience to be able to network with fellow Omnipod families and to meet so many families who were in search of information to help them decide if insulin pump therapy was right for them - and which insulin pump would be the best choice for their son/daughter.
Our Family’s Diabetes Story
Our daughter Katrina was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago at age nine. Trying to manage an active kid while on insulin injections and trying to keep up with day-to-day life was almost impossible at times. We started on pump therapy after nine months of injections.
The decision to switch to an insulin pump was made when Katrina looked us in the eye and cried, “Please stop hurting me with all these needles!” As scary as the needles were to her, the words “pump therapy” were even scarier. Traditional pumps with tubes were not an option. How would she dance in her ballet productions with costume changes? How would she swim and boogie board in the ocean? Shower? Run and play without tubing getting caught? The answer was easy for us...Omnipod!
It was such an emotional and rewarding experience for Katrina to be able to comfort new friends and share her story about how Omnipod helped let her be a kid again! She is strong. She will not let diabetes stop her and the Omnipod has only strengthened her “nothing will stop me” attitude.
All in all, the experiences we shared at Friends for Life will last a lifetime!
The Diel Family
Katrina (Age 11)
Fred and Kim (Parents)