Why Conferences for Young Adults Seem Silly But Really Aren’t

There I was starting my second year of college with all of my life planned out in front of me, not letting anything change my plans, not even my type 1 diabetes. I had a plan to be a doctor, continue volunteering as a counselor at a camp for children with type 1 diabetes, and not letting anyone tell me otherwise. Until one day that all changed when someone very near and dear to me told me I need to attend a conference for young adults with type 1.

At first I was taken aback, attending a conference for type ones to gain more support just seemed so unneeded. Did people think I needed support? Did I seem like I needed help? I still do not know, to this day, the answer to those questions but I do know that attending that conference changed my life.

In 2012, I attended my first young adults conference for type ones called, DTreat and there I found my best friend. I learned so much more about myself than I could have imagined. I went in hesitant but came out with so many new friends and ideals on my diabetes. We learned about things like alcohol, stress, and relationships. Along with meeting some really cool people like Iron Andy! DTreat had changed me into a new diabetic and a new person with so much more perspective on life with and without my diabetes.

While there I learned way more about myself than one could imagine. I learned that I have a deep love for diabetes education and support. Needing support does not need you need help or are struggling but really its just a free pass to be friends over a common life struggle that then can form into so much more. Now days all of my close friends are diabetics that I have met through programs like DTreat. I went from being that girl who had diabetes but didn’t let it be overly known to that girl who is diabetes. Everything I do generally has some relation to diabetes; bettering my care, planning a program, seeing my diabesties, training a diabetic alert dog, and many others.

Since then I have been to many more leadership and young adult conferences for type ones that have shaped me and made me question my life plans like no one could believe. Some of those have included Students With Diabetes, DLead, and more Dtreat conferences. And yes if you can imagine that girl who started her sophomore year to become a doctor as mentioned in the beginning of this article has changed her major 5 times since then. I will now be graduating in May with a public health degree and starting my master in public health leadership degree in August. That girl who wanted to be a doctor now wants to create programs nationwide for all young adults with chronic diseases.

I have turned a negative connotation of ‘diabetic support’ into my life goals to help every young adult have the same opportunity I have had to gain that knowledge that I have gained through young adult conferences. I have grown to be a director of DTreat and could not be any more thrilled to be doing it!

Now it is your turn to experience this great conference in the way I have, not because “people think I needed support” or “you seem like you need help”. Attend because you deserve to come grow yourself and meet incredible others just like you, dealing with their disease everyday like you do, and not letting it hold them back one bit!! DTreat 2015 will be July 10-12th in Boise, Idaho. Find out more at www.hodia.org/events.


SWD 2013: Above the Clouds

I cannot begin to describe the Students With Diabetes Leadership Academy and Conference.  The learning, growing, friendships, and emotions are way beyond measurable! I am still trying to understand all these feelings. There is one thing I am sure of after this experience, I just spend 4 day with one of the most amazing groups of people that will change the world!

These students were not merely just students but dreamers, thinkers, creators, leaders, health care experts, dentists, mothers, siblings, but mainly survivors. We are all surviving a horrible circumstance, type 1 diabetes, but all of us are using it to benefit us through friendships, groups, camps, advocating, and a drive for a better future.   

I always find myself after leaving my DIA-Family wanting more, always feeling motivated to do better, always wanting to do better with my T1D, motivated to work harder, and motivated to prove to the world that We may have diabetes but we can do anything like Nicole Johnson did by becoming Miss America of 1999 or Sebastian Sassville did by running the Sahara and climbing Mount Everest or Ethan Lewis by showing us his drive to start a business against all odds that helps benefit people living with T1D. 

Now it is our turn to become those leaders and motivators of the future. We have a year until the next SWD 2014. What will we have to prove by then. Will we be advocators? Run our first marathon? Win a body building competition? The options are endless to show up all the normal people in the world 😉 

For all of us 14 interns for the summer… We are directly in opportunities to help mae a difference! Make sure to us these next 8 weeks to do so! I believe in all of you and all of us will forever be bonded as the first group of interns set out into the world for Students With Diabetes! We all will do great things! I know it!! 

Sunday at 12 PM we will said see you later, not goodbye. Goodbye means it is unsure if we will meet or see each other again. We will all see each other again, I am sure of it. We will see each other next year and changing the face of diabetes for the years to come. 

So see you later Students With Diabetes of 2013, I will see you again next summer! Until then I will be working my hardest to make a difference!