Slipstream Firsts

Editorial Note: This piece was contributed by a representative of Connected in Motion as part of their outreach efforts.

This time last year, I had just completed my first 5k race. It was a pretty significant accomplishment for me, a self-professed “non-runner”! I hung the finisher medal on my wall to remind me of the time and training that went into my running journey, and to inspire me to invest the same hard work in other areas of my life. This year I signed up for the same race and set a goal to run the course 10 minutes faster. I’m excited for a new challenge, but I know that first race will always stand out in my memory as a milestone that changed my entire outlook. If you’re like me, there are firsts that hold a special place in your heart. Firsts are exhilarating! They excite and inspire us! They can be the launchpads that propel us towards greater experiences and achievements. But often, firsts can be daunting and sometimes downright terrifying. Add diabetes to the mix, and there are more than a few variables that can intimidate us from setting out on a new adventure.

So, where do we get the motivation to take one step forward when we’re staring up at a mountain? How do we open ourselves up to experience more of those pivotal, life-changing moments? What will propel the first step on the journey to the peak? At the diabetes organization Connected in Motion, we hope to be the wind at your back. Connected in Motion’s goal is to Connect, Inspire, and Motivate the T1D community. Our signature program (we call it a “Slipstream” weekend) brings together a group of adults living with Type 1 diabetes for three days to learn from, share with, and support each other. We like to describe it as “diabetes camp for adults.” For many Slipstream participants the education, experiences, and friendships gained during the weekend have been catalysts that inspire them to set out on an uncharted path towards their own, personal first.

We asked the Connected in Motion community: What first have you experienced after a Slipstream? Here are a few of the milestones that our friends from past Slipstreams shared with us:

“After my first Slipstream I put my medical alert back on for the first time in about 5 years! With so many awesome people also living with diabetes, who was I to be too ashamed to wear my medical alert?”
– Jill W.

“I joined an online fitness challenge for T1Ds. Over the years I have frequently given myself an ‘out’ for exercising because dealing with my fluctuating blood sugars was too difficult. I was very inspired seeing others at camp and what they have accomplished. Real people, moms in their 40’s, like me — using their tools and information to get it done. I have a LONG way to go, but I see that it’s possible. No excuses.”
– Julie G. 

“Before my first Slipstream I had a double-digit A1C and now I’m at about 7. Also, I had never met another person with Type 1 diabetes!”– Paul C.

“The following all happened within 10 months of Slipstream 2012: First 10k, first half-marathon, second half-marathon, first canoe trip, first helicopter ride, first time on a plane, first time zip lining, first time bungee jumping, first time traveling alone, first time hiking up a mountain (also first time hiking down a mountain).”
– Luke C.

“The 2016 Ontario Slipstream was my first experience. I was nervous. Signing up to go to that weekend was outside of my comfort zone because I really didn’t know anyone (I had met one other TID person previously) and T1D in general was still fairly new to me. Not only did I meet other people living with T1D (many of whom have become friends), but that weekend inspired me to apply to be part of CIM’s Adventure Team. I was fortunate to be selected to be on the team last summer and it was one of the most amazing adventures of my life. Going to that Slipstream weekend and talking with others who had been part of CIM’s Adventure team helped me realize that living with T1D doesn’t have to be limiting.”
– Allison M.

“Signing up for Slipstream in 2017 was a first for me since I was a teenager. I heard about it from some other camp friends at a lunch date and said, ‘What the hell… let’s DO THIS!’. I wasn’t sure what to expect… but convinced some other childhood friends to join me. It was great to reconnect with old T1D friends and make a handful of new ones! The knowledge, experiences, memories, and ongoing support is invaluable! I have learned to be more kind to myself and practice self care, as well as to check in on my friends and offer them support.”
– Kathy K.

“[I had my] first baby, and I received lots of information, ideas, and connections from a session at Slipstream. First 5k, 10k and half marathon all for sure came out of connections and encouragement post-Slipstream(s)! Also, my second baby was my hospital’s first mom with Type 1 diabetes who delivered while on a pump instead of insulin IV — a result of advocating that I may not have done without Slipstream connections and ideas from that same info session!”
– Shannon F.

“I feel so much less alone. It has helped me feel less overwhelmed, and less judgemental of myself. I have a great network of T1D friends now to chat with, vent to, and bounce ideas off of. Since Slipstream, when I’m up in the night to treat a low, I now find myself wondering which one of my buddies is out there doing the same thing, at the same time, fighting the same fight as I am.”
– Marisa F.

“SoCal Slipstream 2016 was my first diabetes camp experience in my entire life. I LOVED IT. It was the first time I felt “normal” and did not have to explain myself to anyone for anything! So encouraging to know others have the same triumphs and struggles all at the same time!”
– Alicia S.

“Slipstream 2017 was truly the first time I felt I was not alone with my T1D. I found my tribe.”
– Brad L.

We are so proud of each and every individual in the Connected in Motion community who has climbed out of their comfort zone and reached a personal first. It is an honour to be part of their journey! Check out our list of 2018 Slipstream weekends, and let us know what milestone first you will be inspired to achieve.

This year Connected in Motion and Beyond Type 1 are partnering to bring you three Slipstream weekends across North America. Register for the Northeastern Slipstream, happening in June HERE, or sign up for one of the September camps in Southern California and Ontario HERE.

Heather Gomez is the Community Outreach Coordinator with Connected in Motion. She has lived with Type 1 diabetes for 12 years, and has learned and grown so much from being part of the diabetes community. Heather lives in Kingston, Ontario (Canada) with her husband. She loves to go for long walks and hikes, and sometimes...a run!

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