Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Friends For Life: Where The Magic Lies.

"I did the math - there are probably around 800 people with diabetes in this hotel. If they all test around eight times per day, and we're here the equivalent of five days... that means we generate 32,000 used test strips at the end of this conference. No wonder we're finding them all over the floor." - a father of a child with T1

If I told you that attending the Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference in Orlando, FL meant that you'd be completely surrounded and engulfed by diabetes for a week (and that it might be one of the single best things you can experience as a person living with T1), would that give you the complete picture? I know it won't.

How can I recreate the feeling; the atmosphere for you? How do I adequately explain the wonder of walking not more than a few steps in the conference center without crossing paths with one of my favorite people, or making a new friend? Can I convey what all of the hugs and face time meant to my heart; my soul? What words can I use to show you how this gathering of our tribe makes us feel stronger, empowered, and more confident?

Showing off our new You Can Do This Project bracelets

The magic lies in the intangibles. The beauty lies in hundreds of small moments of serendipity.

It's in the feelings that ramped up to the exhibit hall opening on Friday - that moment when I felt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, at exactly the right time.

photo credit: Scully

Friends For Life has this wondrous balance to it - it's the get-down-to-the-heart-of-things seriousness you need, but it also has the silly, no-one-tweet-this moments that keep you giggling for hours, days, and weeks afterward. You learn from attending sessions, but you also learn from simply being around other PWDs and their families. You can't help but want to check your blood sugar, inject, or wear your pump on the outside when you're in this atmosphere. You can't help but smile at the sea of green bracelets worn only by those living with T1. You can't help but feel, at least a little bit, like you've found your tribe.

You feel better because you are there.

You'll hear a chorus of beeps, and then a mass exodus of purse and pocket contents as everyone tries to figure out whose device it was that just alarmed. You'll see each and every food served with a carb count. You'll meet some of the most passionate and driven people in the diabetes community. You'll have the chance to hear from people who have done amazing things, given some of the very same circumstances you face.

The magic is in the moments; the atmosphere; the people.

Is it July 8th, 2013 yet?


  1. Dude, that's a lot of test strips. And I'm also jealous. I want to go!

  2. Dear Kim,

    I love you. That is all.


  3. I really hope I can attend next year. It sounds awesome.

  4. That photo of you and the little kids, all sporting your YCDT bracelets, makes me grin and tear up, all at the same time. Which looks like a grimace, to be honest, but it's a well-meaning one. :)

  5. This totally made me cry! Love the pics!

  6. I want to go next year so bad!!! I did a one day conference here in Canada and it was so great to feel like I wasn't "hiding" my testing and injecting and to meet other diabetics. The diabetic meals and carb counts were awesome too!!

  7. i'm with kerri. i love that pic of you and the girls. and i'm glad i was having a good hair day whenever scully took that pic.

    and you definitely were doing exactly what you were supposed to be at exactly the right time. i'm glad you could feel it too.

  8. I love that pic too (three?)

    I also love that you call it the tribe. I didn't realize it until I read this post (and yesterday's), but it's true! The T1 tribe will always hold a special place in my heart. <3


  9. You share what FFL is wonderfully. Ive experienced it in the past and just experienced it again through your post even though I couldn't attend this year. As an orange bracelet wearing past attendee I can say that we too have a tribe and it exists because of the green bracelet tribe and each of you makes being in the orange tribe worth it.

  10. You know how much I love that first picture! I want to write more but sleep is winning tonight!

    Miss you!

  11. And there's my girl, proudly displaying her YCDT bracelet...that she (and I) are still wearing :)

    Thank you for showing her how awesome her future can be. It was an amazing week...made even more special because I was able to meet you!

  12. Ubergeek is uber excited to be quoted! :)

    LOVED that YCDT had a booth and we were able to meet you and the gang!


    omg this: "that moment when I felt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be, doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, at exactly the right time."

    this is a gift that some people never get to experience. so glad you're getting as much as you're giving. <3

  14. Yes!! Yes yes yes yes yes!!! You have somehow captured it all perfectly. And made me even more homesick for FFL.

  15. I've had a hard time imagining attending this sort of event. I hate T1 so much. I would not want to immerse myself in it at such an event. I think it would be a great experience for my 6 yr old T1 daughter. Maybe some day I muster up the courage to attend.


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