May 15, 2012

(Me with a few new T1 friends and their families, showing off our pumps)

I am finally getting a few minutes to sit and write about the amazing weekend I had, which included traveling to Albany, NY to give a presentation at Glendaal Elementary school to be fed via video to the school district at large.

The talk was initiated by Lisa DeFelippo, and then spearheaded by the nurse at the school Betsy Williams (who is a pump wearing Type 1 btw).

After a VERY early flight from home, I was picked up at Albany International around 10:30.  Lisa and I headed over to grab lunch, and take it to school so I would have the opportunity to "hang out" in the teacher's lounge and discuss diabetes related issues with the staff there.

The presentation began at 14:00, and was to be followed by a JDRF Walk out on the school grounds.  Ms.  Cheryl Trefzger from the JDRF was there as well to assist with the event.

On the way to the school, we dropped in to see the District Superintendent.  It was nice to get some time to introduce myself to her, and to discuss diabetes school topics with her.  I appreciated this opportunity, and tried to convey the need for diabetes awareness to be spread throughout the district among teachers, staff, and students alike.

While in the teacher's lounge, a number of staff members did come by to say hi.  Lots of good questions about diabetes where asked, and good, very frank, discussions ensued.  Sometimes it is hard to hard hear facts about diabetes, but rumors and mis-information need to be dispelled.   I basically tried to impress on the staff, specifically those with Type 1 students, the need for them to understand the dangers and traits of diabetes.

It's not OCD.   It's not ADHD.  It's not Celiac.  It's not defined by the NJCLD.

It's diabetes, and, if handled incorrectly, can cause VERY serious medical emergencies.

Just before the assembly was to begin, I was honored to have the chance to meet, and speak with, a high school athlete who also has Type 1.  He and his mom came by so we could talk.  I was very impressed with this person.  He plays football, lacrosse, and competes in fencing while maintaining near perfect grades, all while dealing with diabetes.  It was a pleasure to here him tell how he wears his pump during events, that he too was diagnosed at age 8, and how he mentors (whenever he can) the other Type 1s who attend his little brother's elementary school.

Much different than I was back in day.... we won't say how many years. (Ok, so about 29 years ago. Oy.) LOL!

The 300 or so students where assembled at 14:00, and the video feed was established.

I had such a good time talking to the group (and those assembled remotely) about diabetes, challenges, working hard, and staying focused and positive.  I told them about my adventure on Tour Divide last year, about my insulin pump, and what diabetes was and how people got it.

To repeat: You cannot catch it from someone.  :)

These kids where SMART, and asked some very amazing and thoughtful questions.  "How did you feel after not being able to finish your race?". "Is insulin cold?". "How do you fill your pump?". "Just how big was the bear?".  LOL!!

Great stuff!!

The walk was a success, and the weather held out perfectly.  I got to answer a few hundred more questions while out walking, and enjoyed the whole event!

After the end of the walk the Nichter's, a family of 5 with 1 Type 1 in the family came over to Glendaal from a school the received the video feed.  We where able to talk about the all to well known struggles being the parent of a CWD, new treatments, how technology has changed since my diagnosis, and just plain old living with Diabetes.

They are a super nice family, and it was my great pleasure to have the chance to see them.

Mr. Nichter rides bike (he has a Trek BTW, natch) and has a TdC Team for the Syracuse TdC coming up on June 3rd.  As a part of the fund raising process they organized a Flash Mob that occurred last week.  If you would like to help the Nichter's on their TdC, check out their team page.

I always have a wonderful time at events such as this, and I always walk away learning a ton from the folks in the local diabetes community.  It is such an amazing honor to be allowed to sit down with these kind families and listen to their stories about diabetes.

They are all stories of success and inspiration.

Friday's event was no different.

Thank you all very much!!!