If you are an active participant in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC), you have read about multiple diabetes conferences that seemingly “everyone else” attends. There are multi-day conventions such as Friends for Life and Diabetes Sisters and single-day events such as TCOYD and the ADA Expos. Some like the ADA Scientific Sessions are huge and designed for medical professionals. Others like the JDRF Reach & Teach U’s are sponsored by local JDRF chapters and targeted for children, adults, and families.
But you might live in a small town where nothing like this is available. You might be terrified of not being able to afford your next bottle of insulin and the cost of attending a conference, especially one out of town, is lightyears beyond your reach. You might be shy and fearful of immersing yourself in an environment where maybe no one will talk to you or you might have an embarrassing low. You might have absolutely no interest in spending your time and money to travel somewhere and talk to a bunch of people who have diabetes.
At the same time, diabetes is a nagging and constant companion. It takes no vacations. Just when you think things are going well, it slaps you upside the head and reminds you just who is in charge. Maybe you have a few complications and the crippling fear of your next eye exam or blood test has hurled you in a deep dark cave of depression. Maybe you’ve had this disease long enough to worry that your luck is about to run out and the future is lonely and terrifying.
I invite you to participate in the 2nd Annual Diabetes Hope Conference. This is a 3-hour online webinar scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014 from Noon until 3:00pm Eastern Time (USA). There is no cost to “attend” this conference, but you must pre-register and space is limited.
The theme of the conference is HOPE. No matter how frightening and severe diabetes complications can be and no matter how depressing it can be to live with a lifelong chronic condition, we all need HOPE. One way to create HOPE for people with diabetes is to talk about our fears and learn from each other, the medical community, and pharmaceutical and device companies.
This is the point where I need to let you know that this conference is sponsored by Pamlab, the company behind the prescription-only nutritional supplement Metanx that can be effective in treating peripheral neuropathy. Scott Johnson, whom many of us only know as a blogger, is a consultant to Pamlab and has been instrumental in the creation of the Hope conferences. To read the story behind the development of the conference, click here. Last year’s online program had about 250 participants and the expectation is to double that number this year. Nothing about the conference is a marketing ploy and you don’t need to be concerned that your sign-up information will be used in any way by the sponsor. Okay, that’s out of the way and let me tell you more about the Hope Conference.
There are three panels for the conference, each lasting about one hour. The panelists are all A-list diabetes professionals and bloggers/advocates. For the price of a free ticket and three hours of your time, you have the opportunity to listen to and interact with some of the most influential people in diabetes. The first panel is titled The Doctor Will See You Now. Christel Marchand Aprigliano and Karen Graffeo will present questions to Dr. John Anderson, Immediate Past President, Medicine & Science of the American Diabetes Association. Once you sign up for the conference, you are urged to submit questions for this panel. What are the questions about the science of diabetes that you have always wanted to ask your endocrinologist? What do you wish you knew about ongoing diabetes research? What is the ADA doing for us?
The second panel is The Value of Blogging in Chronic Illness. Kerri Sparling and Mike Lawson will talk with Pamela Katz Ressler, the co-author of the research study Communicating the Experience of Chronic Pain and Illness through Blogging. This should be a fascinating discussion between three experts on the role of social media in healthcare outcomes.
The third panel will be Who’s in Charge? Who Says What? And Why? George Simmons will dive into patient/doctor relationships with Dr. Jen Nash. Dr. Jen is a practicing clinical psychologist, as well as author, consultant, and oh yes, a person with Type 1 diabetes.
What should you do?
- Put the date and time on your calendar.
- Get your ticket to participate.
- Check out the website to learn more about the panelists and the conference.
- Spread the word about the conference. The Twitter hashtag is #dHopeConf. You can download graphics at this website.
- On the day of the conference, follow the link on your confirmation email to join the webinar. You can use your desktop computer, your phone, or your tablet.
I participated in last year’s Hope Conference and already have my “ticket” for this year. The “virtual panels” will be live streamed and the audience (that’s us!) can submit questions live to the panelists via Twitter using the hashtag #dHopeConf.
I’ll be there. I HOPE to see you there also!