Medtronic employees posing as Animas reps, because clearly this was where the fun was at! (factual correctness may vary)
Sadly my actual life got in the way of my blog this week (don't worry, I fired it!), so this post is just a little late. But here's something you may like to know about World Diabetes Day in the Johnson and Johnson camp.
World Diabetes Day, 14th November, is a day the International Diabetes Federation brought into circulation and is a day which gives PWDs everywhere the opportunity to talk about diabetes, share facts, raise awareness, raise funds and often get together in large groups to celebrate the fact that we are slightly better than everything else in society (ish). It is illegal to wear anything but blue (not really), everyone must light up their workplace blue otherwise there is a hefty fine (not really) and we get to talk about all things diabetes without being interrupted (not really). This is the law (sort of).
Many use diabetes Awareness Month (November) to teach diabetes facts on forums like Facebook and Twitter while others arrange to cycle for 150 miles to raise funds and spread the word. Whatever your choice of activity, the 14th of November is about diabetes, about us, about the diabetes community.
This year, I had the opportunity to try something completely different. I got to spend the day with the Johnson and Johnson team. Why, you ask? Because Lifescan and Animas, two of the most established names on the diabetes movers and shakers and providers of sophisticated medical technology such as waterproof pumps with integrated market-leading CGM and blood glucose meters that detect high and low patterns, decided to use their diabetes day to raise awareness too. Only they wanted to do so for the other non-diabetes related J&J companies. Different? I thought so.
The day started with two talks from JDRF and Diabetes UK, both of whom J&J actively support in their work to raise awareness of diabetes, improve the lives of those with it and fund research into cures and treatments. Then the day paused while the bloggers, activists and community bringertogetherers went on their way to a focus group session. These are always, always the part of the day I enjoy the most; nothing makes me happier than sitting down with other people who want to speak their minds, and give them a topic to run with. This group was about asking questions like 'What does a Gold standard insulin pump company look like' (GREAT question!). We talked about what tools are important to us and what diabetes educational events we would organise. Lastly we talked about Animas heroes. And not heroes as in King Arthur and the Knights of the round table, but heroes like you. The ones who decide to run a marathon because they can, diabetes aside. They bring others together. They change the way people think about diabetes. They write blogs because they have something to say. They swim the channel, climb a mountain or run 151 miles to raise money for charity, because they can. They are the ones who get out of bed on the days when neuropathy is firing through their limbs, and the ones who say 'I don't think so' to the 22mmol shouting at them from their testing kit. These are the heroes Animas are referring to.
The day ended with one of the most comical presentations I have been to; Fred Gill, British Rower and hopeful 2014 candidate. Packed with humour, attitude and determination, his talk was one hell of an end to a great day with the motivated, dedicated and welcoming group of people. He taught the audience that diabetes just had to fit in with him, not the other way around. Like.
As the group of around 70 people walked the circuit around the J&J building, it gave me a chance to catch up with everyone's favourite DOC champion and person behind the GBDoc, and put the diabetes world to rights as the Johnson and Johnson building was lit up blue, as is the law on WDD.
What will you do next year?