Friday, July 13, 2012

Friends For Life: The Booth.

Bring the You Can Do This Project to Friends For Life is an experience that I will always, always remember. It's a collection of memories that will be locked up in my heart until the day it stops beating. (Overly dramatic? Maybe. But it's true.)

I'll never forget seeing the booth for the first time and thinking, "AAAAAH! That's... this is a thing! It is really happening!"

I'll be forever grateful for the handful of people who gave up their time and money (because really, they had to miss some of the sessions they paid for) to help me out with this. Brian, Chris, Dayle, Sara, Jess, and Courtney - these people are amazing, and were a huge part of why the booth was truly a success. They helped lug a bunch of heavy stuff around (okay, we might have used a bellboy for most of it... advantage of the hotel setting); they saw what needed to be done (or what I might want done) and jumped on it; they knew how to connect with people as individuals. They were kind, passionate, and focused. They brought me Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast on Friday. They ROCKED IT.

I'll never forget the hundreds of positive responses that went something like, "This is so needed. I'm glad you all are here", or "Can I take some of these flyers home with me?", or "Wait, this isn't a company? It's just you?", or "This is so awesome!".

A parent also asked me if I'd heard of something called It Gets Better. I smiled, said that I had, and took it as a very high compliment that she made that connection.

I'll never forget the man who pulled me aside to tell me that I had changed his life, because he had realized after reading and watching that he wasn't alone.

I'll never forget the woman whom Chris directed to me, and her story: she had found the project three weeks prior. Her family is the "go-to" when there is a newly diagnosed T1 child in the area - her family is the first resource they find. She had been sharing You Can Do This with her network, and she told me that it was already changing lives. She told me that what I - and we - are doing is making a huge impact for those families. She thanked me, and I was speechless.

(Care to place a wager on whether or not that made me tear up?)

I'll also never forget the teenage girl who walked past our booth, then slowed to a stop at the stickers. She shrieked, "Oh my god! These are awesome! Can I take a handful of these?", to which I responded, "Of course!". She then turned to her friend, eyes sparkling and enthusiasm radiating, and said: "You know what would be funny? To put these on the wall of a bathroom stall. Or on someone's forehead when they go on a date! Oh my god, that would be hilarious!"


But really? The whole experience of actually talking face-to-face with the very people who can benefit from the support these videos supply - parents, adults with T1, teens, kids - was unreal. It had an energy that was just - wow. Do you know what I'm talking about? The air just feels electric and tastes of possibility? Where you catch yourself grinning like a fool for no reason? Where the invisible puzzle pieces of life slide together just ever-so-perfectly for a few fleeting moments? Where you know they won't freeze in place, so you just soak it up while you can?

God, I loved that feeling. Loved.

And out of the whole thing, I have a lot of new videos to share - including the one below (big thank you to Sara for putting it together!). We brought two dry erase boards with us and asked people one of two questions: "What advice do you have for other people with diabetes?", and "What kinds of things CAN you do with diabetes?".

I think it turned out pretty spectacularly. What do you think? (And what would your answer have been? Snap a photo of YOUR advice, and share it on the You Can Do This Project Facebook page.)


  1. I almost maybe teared up a little watching it. I want to go back!

  2. OK, so it took me three tries to get through the whole video, and two attempts to get through the post, because it's so emotional. This is just incredible!

    I know this is supposed to be about helping each other, and not about building up praise for yourself, but I hope you have a chance to step back and reflect, and be proud of this project, how far it's gone, and how much it's helped. You did this!

    I keep thinking of the movie "Pay it Forward", where the kid thought his attempt to do something good for the world only reached a few close acquaintances and that's it. Eventually, we see how many people were touched by this movement, a crowd as far as the eye can see, in numbers that the founder had no idea of and could never have dreamed of. The You Can Do this Project is like a real-life version of that. The "go-to family" woman is proof. (It's when I stopped reading and tweeted about regaining my composure).

    I just hope your story doesn't end the same way as in the movie. :)

  3. Totally crying right now. This is just such a wonderful project that helps so many people. Thank you so much for creating it and for sharing the ffl experience. I'm hoping to make it there next year.



    totally made me cry, yes it did. brilliant work on the editing, sara!

    the puzzle pieces, it's so true. the technology of video creating and hosting and youtube and blogs and this is the exact right moment for this project to emerge and make the largest impact.


  5. Totally awesome. No idea how I never got back to that amazing booth to participate. Love and hugs, Ellen

  6. The second sentence of this post is exactly how I feel.

    Thank you for letting me help with the booth and with putting together the videos.

  7. KIM!!!!!! This post is so beautiful on so many levels.

    The one thing that jumped out at me is the pic of the 7 of you in front of the curtain. I see that picture and your description of the team effort it took to coordinate the YCDT booth...and in my heart I hear a little voice that says "You were there." Meaning, I was there...I saw how well you guys worked together...I saw the conversations and witnessed the facial expressions while people perused the table. I was there, and I felt the warm fuzzy feeling inside that comes when you randomly turn a corner, and find yourself greeted by such kind hearted, smiling faces.

    I'm proud of you, Kim. I'm proud of your team. I learned many, many things at #FFL12, and one of them was how powerful the YCDT project speaks to others.

  8. not overly dramatic at all, in my opinion. i feel the same way.

    kim, it was my honor to be able to be a part of the booth. and i mean that- it truly was an honor. this has transformed the way i think about the YCDT project, and confirmed how much this is needed. and how many people are being helped.

    thank YOU for having the courage to create this project, and for putting in all that hard work and time. i know it isn't easy.

    i can't wait for TCOYD so we can work the booth again! :)

  9. It was amazing to see everyone at the booth! YCDT is such an amazing inspiration on line, but to have it live and in person was even more amazing!
    Can't wait til next FFL!!!

  10. I LOVE the You Can Do This Project. I can't tell you how much it's helped me through my daughter's diangosis. And while I'm not quite ready to make m y own You Can Do This Video, I loved seeing you guys at FFL and am still wearing my You Can Do This Project Bracelet - right along side my Diabetes Champ one!


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