July 10, 2013
Written by: Dani Petrunich, CDN Student Blogger (and awesome intern!)
Wow, what a fun and full first day we had at the CWDFFL conference! After a little bit of a sleepless night thanks to three pumps alarming every half hour, Tina, Jo, and I got up early and fit in a quick workout before our first session at 9 am, titled “Social Media & The Monster Under the Bed: the Latest Thinking on Fearing vs. Embracing Social Media.” This was a panel-style question-and-answer session, hosted by Partners for Diabetes Change and lead by panelists Korey Hood, PhD, Jeremy Pettus, MD, Barbara Anderson, PhD, CDE, and Jill Weissberg-Benchell, PhD. Bennet Dunlap (Your Diabetes May Vary), Adam Brown (Close Concerns), and Kerri Sparling (Six Until Me) also mediated and read questions submitted via Twitter by the virtual audience watching from home. As a blogger myself, I really enjoyed this session: it focused on social media and its role in diabetes patients’ health care. I was fascinated to hear from diabetes specialists and prominent DOC (diabetes online community) bloggers on such a relevant topic, and I left the session inspired by the role social media platforms can play in an individual’s day-to-day diabetes management. I will most definitely be posting a blog in the next few weeks that gets more in-depth on this topic—it’s extremely relevant to today’s society, and especialy to all my blog readers and Twitter followers, so stay tuned!
The next session I attended was also for bloggers, but this one focused on the legal aspect of blogging: copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Lead by lawyer Neil Benchell, I learned a lot about how bloggers can protect their intellectual property in this digital age, and I got a better understanding of what is and what is not fair game when it comes to sharing diabetes stories, tips, and information.
After my two morning sessions, the rest of the day was focused more around welcome activities for conference attendees! I went to the First Timers Reception at 3:30 for all the new people to the CWDFFL convention, and at 6 I made my way into the exhibit hall and was taken aback by all of the booths, signs, colors, and freebies that companies were giving away! I explored the hall a bit with my awesome new roommate (Kiraina) who just arrived today, and I spent some time with Jo and Tina manning the CDN booth. It was great to talk to people—students, parents, educators, and other interested individuals—about CDN and all it has to offer. I’ve been working with CDN for the past couple of months and feel very familiar with CDN’s various programs at this point, but taking a step back to introduce CDN to people who had never heard of us before reminded me again how passionate I am about this organization and how much I believe in what CDN is providing to students and families. I was able to share with a family how much CDN changed my diabetes care and life since our Bentley chapter began this year, and I’m so excited to have the chance to convey all the emotion and enthusiasm I have for CDN with the people I meet at this conference—I know CDN has the power to impact many more people’s lives, the same way CDN impacted mine this past school year…they just need to hear about us!
Not only does this conference make me proud and happy to be interning for such an awesome company, but I’ve also loved meeting other people and hearing about all that they’re doing in the diabetes community to make living with diabetes a little more manageable. It’s amazing to see so many companies, non-profit organizations, and individuals who have dedicated so much of themselves to improving diabetes technology, care, and management, and it makes me so thankful for all of their passion, commitment, and concern for diabetics like myself. Plus, it’s very cool to see what kinds of organizations are out there doing good—there are so many ways to get involved and make a difference in the diabetes community!
I ended the night with a dinner for 18-22-year-olds, and I was so happy to connect with peers my own age living with and affected by diabetes! It’s very cool to see the kids who have been coming to this conference for years—one girl I talked to said that this is her twelfth year at CWDFFL! There are groups of friends here who have been to the conference before, and they clearly know each other well at this point (unlike me, the obvious First Timer). I must admit that as newbie to CWDFFL, I was initially a little intimidated by these cliques of boys and girls, but, like most things in life, it turns out there was nothing to be apprehensive about at all. The veteran students quickly introduced themselves to us newcomers and welcomed us into their conversations, and all the other First Timers have been just as friendly. I know I only have one day of the conference under my belt and a few hours with my new diabetes pals, but I can already say that it’s incredible to be somewhere where the norm is to be diabetic. I’ve never sat in a room where pumps are beeping and buzzing every five minutes from any given direction, or seen so many CGMs and pump sites at the pool…it’s a very cool experience, and I can see why people are so obsessed with their diabetes camp or diabetes friends! I’m looking forward to everything else this conference has to offer in the next few days—I’ve already learned a lot, met some really cool people, and felt supported and fortunate for all the do-gooders out there…but I’m exhausted after a busy first day and now it’s time for bed! So until tomorrow, friends…can’t wait to see what Day 2 holds for me!