when i opened the email invitation to the medtronic diabetes advocates forum for 2014, i looked to mike lawson sitting next to me and said ‘did you get invited to this? maybe they meant to send it to you.’
within the diabetes space i have a lot to learn and a lot to say, but to be included in this group of strongly established advocates proved to me that i too have a strong voice and am capable of speaking for the PWDs that i am connected with online.
i went into the forum feeling young and inexperienced, but was greeted with such warmth and friendliness that my anxieties went out the window right from the get go.
meeting advocates like kim vlasnik, chris stocker, scott e., jess, jacquie, Chris, dana, catherine price, cara, scott strumello and meri, for the first time was like meeting j.k rowling. you’ve read everything they have to say and feel like you understand their creativity and heart, but have no idea about how they laugh or gesture when they speak. AND, seeing all the advocates i’ve had the great pleasure of meeting prior was the icing on the cake (sugar joke). i suppose that a thank you to medtronic is in order for that, for bringing us into one space. i hope they know just how powerful it was for us.
if you couldn’t tell from the way i opened my invite email, this was my first time at an event of the sort. i’ve been to friends for life, joslin innovation, diabetes mine innovation summit, and ADA scientific sessions, but never to a small scale gathering. and boy, was it wonderful.
not only was it wonderful to be around so many encouraging intelligent people, but it was energizing to be discussing moving forward in diabetes care and advocacy the entire time. it was three days. three days of gold; not just nuggets of great information, but truly a whole cave of wonders.
advocates who had attended events like this before mentioned that the topic of doing social good as a collective always comes up, but fails to ever gain any traction beyond the limits of the in-person event.
as you may have read already via the blogs mentioned below or by following the twitter @medtronicDAF stream, something was different this year. the air was somehow new, and filled with our shared insatiable need to create the social change we have all been yearning for.
yes, something was different.
all the pieces were in the right place, and we were collectively putting them together.
we were assembling our own diabetes advocacy puzzle of effectiveness; learning and acknowledging the special gifts that each person brings. reaching out to everyone via twitter for engagement and awareness brought an element into the room like never before. we were a room of 40 bodies and 1,000 minds. and the greatest part, medtronic was a part of it. they were not saying, ‘do your advocacy thing but push medtronic products while you do it’ they were saying ‘how can we help.’
medtronic even agreed to help write a press release for the initiative we planned in the last hour of the forum. be on the look out for the spare a rose, save a child campaign rolling around soon and please please please write a comment or DM tweet me @heathergabel if even a hair of you wants to be involved.
the experience was nothing short of astonishingly awe-inspiring. i’m so thankful to have been invited to participate.
on the last afternoon of the forum, david lee strasberg led a seminar on the art of ‘the ask’. using his method, i’d like to ask you for something…
i’m assuming that you are reading this for one of two reasons:
1. you are a personal friend/family, OR
2. you are involved in the DOC and are interested in what we did last weekend with medtronic
REGARDLESS of why you are here, i first want to say thank you. i want to thank you for your eyes and your brain and your heart. i do write this blog as a journal for personal reasons, but your support is apparent and keeps me writing when writing for myself isn’t motivating enough.
i secondly want to acknowledge that you are powerful, and that even if you haven’t participated, blogged, or tweeted in a while or even in years, you are needed and wanted. you are still a part of this community and you being alive makes it a brighter and better place.
you are a major player in the puzzle we assembled. without you, it cannot be fully complete.
here is my formal ask of you:
jump in on this one.
no matter where in life you are, you are a part of the WE because the difference between us and them can no longer exist in this space.
there is no time like the present.
move onward, my friend, onward.
Please read on if you have not yet seen other blog posts about the medtonic diabetes advocate forum 2014:
Kim Vlasnik at Texting My Pancreas
Catherine Price at A Sweet Life
Kerri Sparling at Six Until Me
Christel Aprigliano at The Perfect D
Sara Nicastro at Moments of Wonderful
Meri Schuhmacher at Our Diabetes Life
Jacquie at Typical type 1
Cara Richards at Every Day, Every hour, Every Minute
Chris Stocker at The Life of a Diabetic
Jessica Collins at Me and D
George Simmons at Ninjabetic
if you would like to hear some chatter from the friday night, listen in on this awesome podcast by chris snider called just talking podcast.
Love this and love you!
Love you back! It was SOOOOOOO nice to meet you!
Heather, I’m really glad you were invited to this event. You totally deserved to be there! I’m glad it was such an outstanding experience for you.
RIGHT ON! It was sooooo great getting to hang out with my old friend Heather! BAM!
It was so nice to meet you, Heather. Thank you for this post — and I hope our paths cross again soon!
Also: YOU ROCK.
Hell to the yeah! I look forward to working alongside you on everything we talked about at the DAF. Glad to know you!
So happy to have met you!
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Heather, I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it felt when we first ran into each other and you told me all about my own blog. After a monthlong hiatus while I contemplated “why do I do this?”, you made me feel like a rock-star. You gave me reason to keep going. So thank you for that.
And to everyone else reading, keep your eye on this girl. With her drive, ideas, and inspiration, she’s going to accomplish big things someday. (Just don’t start using capital letters, please!)
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Glad we got to meet face-to-face!
Fantastic post and I’m so glad you were there!!