Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Friends For Life 2012

International Children with Diabetes Conference - Friends For Life 2012 happens annually in Orlando, FL.

I'll get to the post about awesome DOC madness next.

Matt, Morgan, myself and Biljana

The conference boasts about an international group of world-renowned clinicians, researches, physicians, adults, children, and families with diabetes to learn the most current information in diabetes care. You can attend educational sessions and get cutting-edge ideas for diabetes management. It allows people to participate in parent discussion groups and find new, creative ways to help and motivate children (and others). 

The past few years I have wanted to attend this conference for various reasons. I wanted to get in on the action of new products. I wanted to meet other people and network while sharing ideas. I wanted to represent something bigger than me. This is my first  year attending.

I was there on behalf of Team Type 1 and all it's glory. We had a booth to run in the exhibit hall. Because of my duties I wasn't there to attend any of the educational sessions or workshops. We had quite the handful of TT1 representatives. Morgan Patton and I from the women's cycling team. Matt Brooks from the men's development team. Missy Foy from the running team and Sebastien Sasseville from the triathalon team. As well as some additional support from Phil's mom Joanna and his fiancĂ©e, Biljana. Not everyone was able to stay for the whole weekend but Phil and Sebastien did some speaking sessions while Missy, Biljana and Joanna joined our booth for the opening day of the expo.  

I had a really great time at the booth. I got to spend a lot of time speaking with Missy Foy and I was just in awe. She is a wealth of information and allowed me to pick her brain a bit. Not that I plan to become an ultra marathoner any time soon. I just really enjoyed listening to stories about when she was in the pro circuit making a living off of running. She is an asset to the team.

I only briefly got to speak with Sebastien. Being the only other Canadian on the team we planned to later do some scheming about how to expose the team up here in the great "CANADALAND". I had some hard learned lessons also from the ever brilliant Matt from the men's devo team. I learned what it is like to live, eat and breath cycling as your day to day life. I was envious. I've been saying how I'd like someone to take me in and just turn me into a machine. It's not all roses and sunshine of course.

So not only did I get to talk to and enjoy the company of the people I was with but the amount of interest in the team was phenomenal. Many of our booth visitors had heard Phil's talk at the beginning of the conference and were inspired to learn more. There were a lot of young teens interested in being a part of Team Type 1. Morgan and I were pretty big on pushing for more women as there aren't enough women in cycling and we're all like, "girl power!". I was overwhelmed with the comments about how much people appreciated what we, as a team, were doing for diabetes. I was honoured when they actually wanted to take our athlete bio cards with them and even more so when they wanted us to sign them. I don't feel like an athlete of that caliber but being a part of the team is more than just being an athlete. Standing behind that booth proved to me that it's so much more.

I had a lot of young people with diabetes asking me for blood sugar management advice. One girl said that her school wouldn't let her ride her bike 3 miles to and from school because they were too afraid something would happen. Another person told me that they were told by their doctor to go into their workout with a blood glucose of 250 or higher and just "work it off". What a miserable way to exercise not to mention a good way to do some damage to your body. I felt the need to explain here and there what I could. That's when it all kind of hit me. I have learned to train with a pretty consistent blood glucose and I feel I manage it pretty darn well. I need to share this. I was desperate to help those folks who had these horror stories and point them in the right direction. I could just imagine how much more they would love their exercise if they weren't struggling with highs and lows.

There was plenty of interest in Phil's missions in global outreach and philanthropic efforts in Rwanda and China. It was of particular interest to a lot of the parents who had heard his talk. 

A plaque given to Phil in honor of him sponsoring a teen with the Diabetes Scholars Foundation

It certainly was an affirmation that Team Type 1 is kind of a big deal and not just to me but to all those who we inspire and who inspire us in return. It felt really good to see the interest from everyone involved.


  1. Last week I had never heard of FFL and this week I'm reading about it on everyone's blogs. Sounds like a pretty amazing thing to be part of. Everyone else attended sessions or presented - it's cool that you were part of a team who inspired folks. Good for you! The adventures you've had since joining TT1 are ah-mazing and I love following you around the world - from my laptop :)

  2. It is such a great experience for the kids to be able to talk to the adults with T1 who have 'live it' and can tell them what has and hasn't worked so they can feel more confident about trying new things or pushing harder into what they already love to do!

  3. I totally want a "Scully" athlete bio card. Autographed

  4. I LOVED MEETING YOU!!!!! When I saw you at that booth, all decked out in your TT1 getup, I wanted to cry!!! So proud of you :) JOY JOY JOY!

  5. Me too, Scott! Autographed bio card, please!

    Having done a couple of events with you, I have to say that you rock the BGs in a way that makes me super envious. You're a great role model.


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