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The Children Are Our Future

I recently attended the Children With Diabetes 2011 Friends for Life Conference in Orlando and it was really a fantastic experience, I would recommend it to anyone.  This was the first year that there was an Adult T1 track at the conference, so naturally there was a plethora of us from the online community there.

George, Scott, Kerri, Karen, Lorraine, Heather, C, Martin, Jess, Brian, Sara, Jacquie, Kim, Heidi, Bennet and I’m sure I am missing some and I know there were some I didn’t have the pleasure of meeting.  Not to mention all the Type Awesomes who came with their loved ones.  Most nights there was a gaggle of us sitting outside until all hours of the night (3am was not unusual) talking about this that and the other.

One of the things I noticed overall, and touched upon in I Saw Children, was that the children and families who were there had established support networks of their own.   Which exactly why the DOC came into being; to support each other, often when no other options were available.

Many of these children have grown up with this type of support and I hope it will continue for them as they transition into adulthood.  As there is an increased awareness of the long-term mental and emotional toll any chronic illness can bring, I also hope that more and more support options will become available.

But having grown up with it, will support eventually be taken for granted?  As something that is just there for them?

As these children move through their lives, will they join the DOC and become its next leaders and advocates?  I certainly hope so, I believe they are uniquely qualified to fulfill those roles.  At some level, they understand how important support is, even if they may not know why it is important.

As one of so many who grew up without support, I think it is vitally important that we tell our stories so that it will not be forgotten how important that support is.   How critical it is to understand that not everyone will have something that so few may start taking for granted.

For all members of the DOC, children really are our future.  As I follow along in the footsteps of some of the true pioneers in patient blogging, I am reminded that our actions could have an impact on what types of support, online and off, may be available in the future.  What will be available for those who are following along behind us, needing the support just as we do?  Let’s all keep that in mind and be responsible in our actions to ensure that never again will anyone be alone in this.  Never again.

And once again, I am drawn back to the question that has been asked so often: How can we reach out to those who need our community but don’t even know it exists?

** Disclosure: I paid all expenses related to attending the Children With Diabetes 2011 Conference including travel, hotel, meals and entertainment.  I was not asked to post or not post about my experiences nor have I received compensation relating to this event.

©2011 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and http://StrangelyDiabetic.com

  • Leighann of D-Mom Blog

    I ask the same question of how do I reach parents who need support and aren’t online looking for it already.

    And then just the other day a mom finds me whose daughter was diagnosed just 6 days before. Even if she doesn’t end up reading MY blog, I’m glad she reached out.

    I popped her a quick note of encouragement & listing a few resources. Those are things I didn’t receive online in those first few months.

    Q mentioned to me again the other day that she’s not sure she’d want a cure because diabetes makes her special. Because of it she’s been in the paper and on radio, she’s raised money and led school assemblies (at six!), and people listen to her about it. (Those are her words.)

    At six, while she doesn’t know that “diabetes advocate” is one of her roles, she has already embraced it.

    I appreciate your post because I truly feel that this generation of D-kids is loud and proud and it’s not going to hold them back…on the contrary I think they are going to do great things for everyone with diabetes.

    • http://strangelydiabetic.com Scott Strange

      Thanks Leighann… I think Q probably be one of the future leaders, and you are enabling that to happen. I think we’re just starting to see what we can all accomplish together

  • http://www.bittersweetdiabetes.com/ Karen G

    This is a question that has been on my mind a lot lately . . . . . I just wish I had an answer for it.  But I think if the D-OC keeps pondering it together, we can definitely come up with something great to reach more people. 

    • http://strangelydiabetic.com Scott Strange

      Hi Karen, I think you are right. The DOC will find a way, we are becoming recognized as a voice for the community and I think we’ll be working with other organizations to support as many as we can

  • shannon

    well said, scott!

    • http://strangelydiabetic.com Scott Strange

      Thanks Shannon!

  • Merle

    Hi Scott, as a t1d of 48 years and a fellow DA friend…I relate to not having support for the first 30 years of my d life.  Not until I founded the Type 1 Diabetes Lounge http://www.type1diabeteslounge.  I sure wish you were local and able to join the meetings with us.  Should you ever pass through  the Chicago area please let me know!  Merle Gleeson

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