One of my favorite parts of the NextGen experience was networking with endocrinologists and Certified Diabetes Educators (CDEs) currently working in the field. I loved getting to discuss diabetes therapies and how clinics might improve to help families more, as well as discussing how my role as a person with type 1 might help in this kind of work. I had a particularly interesting conversation with a CDE and Registered Dietitian (RD) about helping kids who feel alone or angry with their diabetes. Our discussion sparked thoughts of mine that made me realize how valuable my experiences as a person already living with diabetes could be with those kids and teens working as a CDE in the future.
Exploring and working at the exhibit hall was also one of the highlights of my experience at FFL.
There were representatives from every part of the diabetes industry. Everyone from Dexcom to Beyond Type 1 was there to share what they could offer to the T1D community, and boy did they deliver! I asked all of them so many burning questions about their organizations or technology, and none of them batted an eye. Having them all at my disposal to explore and hear from was so interesting. I even won a Myabetic diabetes clutch! I also got the chance to work the CDN booth representing the organization and all that we offer. During this time, we had so many parents walk up and express their gratitude to CDN for being there for their child when they need it. Even those with small toddlers with T1D were glad to know there was an organization already established and waiting to support their kids. I got to hear more from parents when CDN organized a Q&A session for those families whose teens may be off to college in the near future. We were able to put most of their fears to rest after hearing about our real-world experiences and the resources and support that CDN has established for their students. The “thank-you’s” I received after made my week so much more worth it. I knew they really appreciated all we do.
I also had the opportunity to meet with a mentor who was already working in the diabetes industry. He was a CDE who specialized in diabetes tech. I found his career to be so interesting, simply because it opened my eyes to all the possibilities of roles I could venture into as a CDE. I can work with pump and sensor companies, as well as in the clinical setting directly with patients.
I was blown away by all the fun, friendship, and connections CDN and Friends For Life provided me. I am already figuring out how I can go back next year. I encourage anyone who wants to work with diabetes and children to apply to CDN’s NextGen Leadership program and attend a conference.
Editor's note: thank you to Sanofi & Lexicon, the T1D Alliance, for their sponsorship of CDN's NextGen Leadership program.