Living with Type 1 DiabetesTreatment of Type 1 Diabetes

A New Role For “Misplaced Parents?”

Special Commentary

It’s a typical July day in Orlando, Florida: sunny, hot, and humid – a good opportunity to spend time at any one of Disney’s theme parks. But for hundreds of adults sitting in partially darkened rooms at the Coronado Resort Hotel, the fun can wait, even though most have kids in tow. Few of these parents are doctors or have advanced degrees, but they’ve come from all over to listen to 75-minute presentations on topics like the latest clinical trials of a bionic pancreas, progress in developing an implantable “mini-organ,” to regenerate pancreatic beta cell function and the “personality” of the gastro-intestinal system.

This is Friends For Life, an annual six-day combination of treatment and research information, product demonstrations, family fun, and joyful reunions of children and parents who have formed lasting friendships through this event. Sponsored by Children With Diabetes since 2000, FFL is the only long-stay diabetes conference I’ve encountered attended by thousands of people who actually have or live with diabetes. Most of them are children and their parents, but there also are many grown-up Type1s who return to Orlando each year for therapeutic doses of treatment progress reports, fellowship and support. For all, it’s a chance, for a few days at least, to be surrounded by people exactly like them – people with diabetes. As one attendee told me, being at Friends For Life gives him “a chance to feel normal.”

Insulin Nation sponsored a table at the FFL exhibition so we could meet our readers. Directly across from our table, there was a gathering point that had been set up for families who had gotten separated in the shuffle; a sign indicating the spot simply said “Misplaced Parents”. Staring at that sign for three days stimulated a thought in me.

Caring for a child with diabetes 24/7/365 is an extremely immersive form of training. Many of these parents know more about diabetes lifestyle and treatment issues than most family physicians. But children with diabetes eventually grow up and become adults with diabetes, leaving mom and dad with a lifetime of experience and knowledge and no one to care for or share it with.

Two of the most striking attributes I see in the parents I meet through Insulin Nation are their knowledge of diabetes and ability to ask intelligent questions. Could these students of diabetes eventually be enlisted as teachers? There are tens of thousands of people with diabetes who need both advice and support, and the medical community has little time and too few human resources to meet their needs. By finding a way to tap directly into the collective knowledge of the preceding generation of Type1 parents, we can avoid having to reinvent the knowledge wheel for each new generation.

Call these parents the “DiaCorps” or “DiaVets” and find a way to support them to help others in their community to cope with diabetes. We’d all be better off if we could help them share their wisdom.

Thanks for reading this Insulin Nation article. Want more Type 1 news? Subscribe here.

Have Type 2 diabetes or know someone who does? Try Type 2 Nation, our sister publication.

Chris Leach was the founding editor of numerous diabetes publications, including Insulin Nation, Type 2 Nation, and Health Matters. A lifelong entrepreneur, he also founded New Jersey Monthly and was part of the team that created ESPN, the Magazine. Chris passed away in 2013.

Related Articles

11 Comments

  1. 782959 789233This sort of considering develop change in an individuals llife, building our Chicago Pounds reduction going on a diet model are a wide actions toward producing the fact goal in mind. lose weight 105929

  2. 190590 808772I discovered your weblog website on google and check some of your early posts. Continue to maintain up the quite good operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading a lot more from you later on! 764126

  3. 915237 927954Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your internet site? My blog is in the exact very same location of interest as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from some with the details you provide here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Thanks! 832059

  4. Thanks for every other informative web site. The place else could I
    get that kind of info written in such an ideal way?

    I have a undertaking that I’m just now working on, and I’ve been at
    the look out for such information.

  5. Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to know a lot approximately this, such as
    you wrote the ebook in it or something. I feel that you could do with some p.c.
    to force the message house a little bit, but other than that, that is wonderful blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  6. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been doing a little homework on this.
    And he actually ordered me lunch due to the
    fact that I found it for him… lol. So let me
    reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending some time
    to talk about this subject here on your web page.

  7. Howdy! Quick question that’s entirely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My weblog
    looks weird when browsing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a
    theme or plugin that might be able to fix this issue.
    If you have any suggestions, please share. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button