I returned to LA on Friday night after an incredible experience at the AADE Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. I attended the conference on behalf of one of my agency’s clients, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, and spent most of my time on the exhibition floor. Along with discussing the health benefits of blueberries and sharing new research, my colleague and I dished out samples of a blueberry-wheatberry salad that got rave reviews. I had a great time talking to diabetes educators about everything from healthy recipes to conference sessions they had attended.
The big difference in my experience this year at AADE was the number of people I knew in attendance. While a couple of them I had met in person, like Scott and George, most of them I had only talked with online. It was so nice to meet people like Allison and Alexis in real life.
On Wednesday night, Alexis, who lives in Vegas and has an eight-year-old son with type 1 diabetes, organized a meetup. For a full recap of the night, check out her post. Alexis wrote that she is happy her son Justice has such awesome diabetes role models. Even though I’m 20 years older than Justice, I’m happy to have awesome role models too. I’m still new to diabetes and seeing people living well with it is an inspiration.
On Thursday night, I got to see many of the same people from the meetup, plus others, including Manny, Bill and Ginger at a dinner hosted by Roche. It was amazing to be surrounded by so many smart and influential people who are doing great things in the diabetes community.
I returned home from AADE exhausted, but re-energized. While Twitter and blogs are a great fix day-to-day, I find it so powerful to connect with people face-to-face. I talked with so many people with diabetes who are doing incredible things to support others with diabetes and advocate on behalf of everyone with the disease. It’s inspiring to see how these people have used diabetes as a catalyst to make a positive difference.