Friday, April 20, 2012

Expo Awesomeness

Attending my first-ever American Diabetes Association Expo in Chicago recently was a great experience, not only for the event itself but because of the great opportunity it presented for a D-Meetup with friends from the online community and others in the D-world for the first time.

We traveled from Indianapolis to Chicago by bus, the 30 of us ranging from ADA volunteers, to parents of children with diabetes and adults living with all types.

From the online community: Aside from myself, there Mike Durbin and his girlfriend who are from northern Indiana, and Jeff Neitzel from Central Indiana.

Once in Chicago, we had the privilege of meeting up for the first time with Marie and Missy who live in that area. A couple others who live in the area were unfortunately unable to make it, but we carried their spirit with us. Plus we met an array of new friends in the Diabetes Community, from parents to people living with all types of diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Being my first time at one of these expos, I was mildly impressed. There were cooking demos with "healthy" food, exercise routines, medical screenings and every possible type of information about diabetes you could ever care to find. Plus dozens of vendor booths, offering free products and masses of propaganda brochures and pamphlets about their newest wonders in diabetes-friendly products. I was intrigued to get the low-down on a cool new OneTouch lancet device that I didn't know existed, and also got to actually hold the new Tandem t:slim insulin pump in my hands and learn a little about it firsthand. And I came home with a bag full of materials and items.

Overall, a fine experience: but it was really the people that made it what it was, not necessarily the information or items at the Expo. These events are largely focused on type 2, just because of the simple nutrition label displays and "what is diabetes?" information and screening that gobbles up the most space and attention. The Diabetes 101 nature of these events can be boring... sometimes, I actually prefer the medical conferences where it's more "insider-baseball" that gets at a different intellectual or experience level.

But, being around these friends and professionals and some of the cool experiences of meeting new people made it completely and awesome day. Plus, it was cool meeting a new D-mom from Central Indiana who have a 14-year old son diagnosed at age 5. We talked quite a bit on the bus and especially about the Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana D-Camp, and I enjoyed those conversations and being able to make a new connection.

So, final verdict: the people made the day worthwhile. And here's the photo evidence:

(Oh, and check out the BLUE and a certain blue circle pin being worn in this photo!!!)

April, Me, Marie, Mike Durbin, Jeff

1 comment:

Mike Durbin said...

Great recap, Mike. Finally got mine posted a few minutes ago.