The Diabetes UnConference – March 12 to 15, 2015

un-diabetes-conference-fullcolor-iconI’ve been keeping a secret from you.

It’s a good secret, but a lot of work needed to happen before I could share this…

To admit that I’m scared that this will be a colossal fail and that no one will want to come would be true.

I hope that I’m wrong.

I hope that this will be everything that our community needs and wants and that this will be the beginning of something amazing.

This has been a long time coming.

The original idea was simply a wish that I frequently uttered quietly (often to myself) at the end of diabetes conferences or meetings:

“I wish that we could just sit and talk about living with diabetes and how we feel about living with it. Share with each other. Learn from each other.”

I articulated this wish at the Medtronic Diabetes Advocacy Summit in January during a brainstorming session about what each of us wanted to accomplish for the diabetes community.

“No tracks to choose. No keynote sessions. No separation of people by category or type. Real discussions in a safe place about the psychosocial aspects of our lives with diabetes with others who get it. We decide what we want to talk about – and then we talk about it.”

There were nods in that room (and one or two exclamations of “Hell, yes!”).  I left that meeting with a head full of ideas about this… but I couldn’t do it by myself.

That’s what a community does. It helps, supports, and celebrates. With some gentle prodding from some advocates and the amazing emotional backing of my husband, I quietly created The Diabetes Collective, Inc., a Florida non-profit corporation (currently waiting for the IRS to bestow that 501 (c)(3) designation) and signed a contract with Caesar’s.

It’s on. It’s begun.

Please read below – and share the excitement with me for The Diabetes UnConference.

If you are an adult with diabetes, come join me (and others just like me and you) in… Las Vegas from March 12 to 15, 2015.

I would love to meet you and learn from you and others about living well with diabetes.

Come on.

Vegas, baby.

Here’s the official announcement. 


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The Diabetes Collective, Inc. is pleased to announce The Diabetes UnConference, the first peer-to-peer support conference for all adults with diabetes.

The Diabetes UnConference will be held at the Flamingo Las Vegas from March 12 – 15, 2015.

The first of its kind, The Diabetes UnConference follows the “unconference” concept of peer-to-peer idea exchange made popular by the tech community. The actual agenda is set the first morning of the conference, drawing from the needs and desires of the attendees and discussions will focus on the psychosocial aspects of living with diabetes.

Manny Hernadez, co-founder of TuDiabetes.org and winner of the Community Spirit Award from the American Diabetes Association, states: “Life with diabetes is challenging enough to go about it on your own. Peer support is essential to thrive for people with diabetes. It is also critical to help us build the kind of movement we need to have around this condition that affects more than 26 million people in the US and 400 million people worldwide.”

Founded by Christel Marchand Aprigliano, The Diabetes UnConference is facilitated by volunteers well known to the diabetes community: Bennet Dunlap, Heather Gabel, Manny Hernandez, Scott K. Johnson, George Simmons, and Kerri Sparling. These diabetes community leaders are familiar with the topics that will be covered; each live with diabetes.

Topics may include dealing with depression and diabetes, countering burnout, diabetes “life hacks”, dating, parenting with diabetes, revealing your diabetes to others, and much more.

Peer to peer support has been shown to be highly beneficial to those living with diabetes. The report, “Peer Support in Health – Evidence to Action,” summarizing findings from the first National Peer Support Collaborative Learning Network shared that: “Among 20 studies of diabetes management, 19 showed statistically significant evidence of benefits of peer support.”

For more information and to register, visit www.diabetesunconference.com.

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