Children with Diabetes: Making Friends, Connections, and Memories

If you have a child with diabetes, one of the most exciting and rewarding events you can take them to is the annual Friends for Life conference at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. This is such a special occasion for everyone who attends, and the Medtronic team always looks forward to meeting the “sweet” families who stop by the booth. This year, we invited a few of our customers to join our team in Orlando to help answer attendee questions about what it’s like to live with an insulin pump. Read what one of our customers, 16-year-old MiniMed Ambassador, Caroline Carter, who you may remember from Advocating for diabetes in the Big Apple and Diabetes Advocate Competes in Outstanding Teen Program, has to say about her first experience at the Children with Diabetes conference. If you’ve been to this event, we’d love for you to share your experience with us in the comments below!

 Recently, I had the honor of moving my range of speaking about type 1 diabetes from my small state of New Hampshire, all the way down to Florida for the Children with Diabetes – Friends for Life Conference. I had SO much fun! When I arrived at the hotel, I met with a few Medtronic employees and other MiniMed pumpers, who were also there to help speak to families. Right away, I felt like I was a part of the family.

When we first arrived, I noticed everyone was wearing bracelets. The green bracelets signified you had diabetes, and the orange indicated you were a supporter of a family member or friend with diabetes. They also had bracelets alerting to food allergies and other medical conditions to make sure everyone had a fun and safe time. One 5-year-old girl came up to me and said, “Hey, our bracelets are the same!” It was great everyone felt so unified. It was also really cool to be upgraded from the “First Timer” Badge I received when I registered, to a “Sponsor” badge I later received from volunteering in the Medtronic booth.

The entire event was set up to accommodate everyone! Parents – want to go wander the convention hall alone for a little while? No problem! There was an AWESOME sports area for kids of all ages! (To be honest, I almost ran in there to go play basketball with some of the kids). If you have food allergies, no need to fear. There was a Celiac-friendly buffet table to accommodate gluten free attendees, and the chefs had carb counts on all the foods to make it easier for bolusing. On top of that, there were many speakers throughout the day, as well as teen ice breakers, and talks about the future of diabetes technology.

When I first walked into that conference hall, I was stunned. There were booths set up by the ADA and JDRF, and people giving away goodies, like cookbooks. I honestly couldn’t tell you how many kids I saw walking around with items they picked up at vendor booths – everything from yellow beach balls, to Viking hats from the movie night featuring How to Train Your Dragon.

The thing that struck me the most was everyone was there for the same reason – to help those who deal with type 1 diabetes in their everyday lives. You could see the support from the families of the diagnosed. There were these hilarious little triplets around four years old, all dressed in the cutest matching outfits. One of the triplets has diabetes, and the family has attended the conference for the past three years in support. I bet if you search the conference, you will find a picture of them happily munching on their sugar free Mickey Mouse ice cream.

The location was so great, especially for my mom and me! We had some time to relax and have fun, so we drove into Downtown Disney and watched the movie Maleficent. There were great restaurants on site, and to top it off, an awesome pool! The best part was, even if you had a sudden low and didn’t have granola bars or some glucose tabs, everyone was happy to offer them.

It was great to be able to work in the Medtronic booth and talk about my MiniMed Revel. I helped a lot of younger children alleviate some of their fears about switching to a Medtronic pump from MDI by showing them my infusion site, and letting them click it on and off (I use the quick set, so it slides right off when I need to disconnect). We talked about new accessories, and how to handle your pump during sports. The MiniMed Revel has made such a difference in my life with diabetes management, taking 2,000 shots out of my year. I loved being able to tell my story to recently diagnosed families and being one of the deciding factors to choose a Medtronic pump.

I had a blast working side by side with Lenny the Lion, eating zero carb sugar free snow cones with the Medtronic Team, driving a race car with Charlie Kimball (a type 1 diabetic NASCAR driver), and making the transition to Medtronic easier for so many families. Having this experience was great, knowing I made a difference in someone’s day! As I left, I only wished I could’ve stayed longer. There is one thing I know for certain, I DEFINITELY want to go back next year!

Connect with MiniMed Ambassador, Caroline, to discuss her real experiences and get a better understanding of what life is like on an insulin pump and CGM.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

– Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.

– Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.

Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps

– Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.

– Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.

Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems

– The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.

– Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.

For more information, please visit MedtronicDiabetes.com/isi.

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