I was again honored to be a part of the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Vancouver Conference this past weekend. As a member of the faculty, I enjoy interacting with the many families who attend the conference, chat with some of the vendors and learn from the other staff and faculty whom attend. It is an amazing experience.
Over the past few years I have been a little discouraged at the lack of support from Canadian vendors. Each year that I attend, I hope to gain some insight into which insulin pump I should chose for my son. His warranty will soon be up and what better place to learn about pumps then at a diabetes conference?
Last year, when the conference was in Toronto, one of the major pump companies was obviously missing. I was quite disappointed because I had decided that I wanted to seriously look at their CGM integration. A few other companies also seemed to be missing but the event was still a great success.
This year, when looking at technology, the pickings were even slimmer. There were only two pump companies to chose from. There was only one glucometer company to check out. There were no insulin companies showing us the new directions that insulin and other hormones are headed in. There were no sweetener booths showing us the awesome ways that better tasting alternatives to sugar could be used.
There were some great companies present. Children could decorate OmniPods. Everyone loved dressing up and having their picture taken at the One Touch booth. There were new gaming apps on display by an innovative company called ayogo as well as booths from Store a Tooth, MyCareConnect, Dex4, CDA, JDRF and more.
At the beginning of the event, I was really disappointed by the poor Canadian corporate support to families living with diabetes. Why were we not important? Did they feel that they were already reaching us through social media and did not need to be "seen" at such an event?
As the event came to a close, my perspective changed dramatically. I am sure that Jeff Hitchcock, Laura Billetdeaux and the other CWD staff experience this all of the time, but it was a bit novel for me. I had vendors coming up to me as we were leaving thanking me (I spend a lot of time directing people from the registration booth so they have seen me a few times)! They were grateful to have been a part of such a special weekend. They were honored (as I always am) to be involved in something that touches so many.
I am not sure why the "other guys" don't think that they need to attend CWD Canada events. I know that they are truly missing out! These events do more than bring families together and connect kids with new friends who also have diabetes--they create friends for life. They create memories. They inspire. They touch our hearts like nothing else can.