This past weekend, I had the honour of attending the PWD Conference 2015, organised by the GBDOC and Team Blood Glucose. It's the first of it's kind in that it was organised by patients, for patients. There was no agenda. There were no companies present. Just us: the people living with diabetes, both type one and type two, and those caring for those living with diabetes.
So, Friday evening saw me running out of work, rushing home, getting changed, grabbing my things and leaving again to make the train to Nottingham, where the conference was held. I met Lizzie en-route, and after just under two hours on a very packed train, we'd made it. (A word of advice - never catch the first super-off-peak train out of St Pancras to Notts if you want a seat; it is highly unlikely you will get one!)
I don't think anyone was really sure what to expect when it came to the day. Like I've mentioned, there was no agenda. What this basically meant was we picked what conversations we wanted to be having. Topics ranged from diet and food to managing blood glucose when exercising, diabetes in adolescents and mental health issues. The sessions were ran by us, and the conversations kept on going. It was diverse, and if you didn't want to go to any, you could stay in the main room and catch up with friends, old and new.
|A-conferencing and checking out DexDrip.|
When I go to events such as these I'm looking to connect with my peers, and that's exactly what I did. I hung out with old friends, connected with new ones, and hugged those that I talk with online through the DOC on a regular basis. We laughed, we learnt, we listened, we loved. We also ate cake. There was a lot of cake. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy the more structured conferences, but it's also nice to go to these things and chill. It's nice to not be running from one presentation to another, and it was empowering to know that we, the people living with diabetes, were shaping the conversations being had.
The GBDOC and Team Blood Glucose should be SO proud of what they achieved last weekend, and I would like to thank those that organised it for having me. It was a privilege to be a part of, and I hope that there are more events like it in the future.
(On a side note, after the conference, a small group of us ended up at Wollaton Park, the home of Wayne Manor from the Batman movies. Given my love for superhero-type movies, I thought this was wicked awesome, and it nearly (nearly) topped attending the conference itself. (I really love superhero movies!) See pictures below).