When Insulet Corporation invited Nick (my son with type 1 diabetes) and me to join them at the Children With Diabetes (CWD) Friends For Life Conference this year, we were thrilled. Not only does Nick use the Omnipod insulin pump, but Insulet was the first company to get behind my film DxONE - the only dramatic, narrative ever made about type 1 diabetes.
Our DxONE Screening
This was our first time attending CWD. We kicked it off by holding a screening of DxONE. I have to be honest when I say that I wasn't sure if anyone was going to attend. The schedule had close to a dozen programs competing for the attention of conference goers during our time slot, including an event for the Artificial Pancreas (that was one I regretted missing!).
In an effort of shameless self-promotion, Nick and I cornered every passerby we could, telling them about our 11:00 AM screening and offering a free copy of the film to the first 10 families through the door. My fears were allayed, however, because by 10:30, seats began filling. In fact, additional chairs had to be brought in. By the time we were set to roll, all seats were filled and people were also standing, crowded, behind chairs and along the walls. I'm quite certain we were in non-compliance with the fire code for room capacity. We even had to turn people away!
I have been lucky to view the film with audiences in the past, but there is nothing quite like seeing it with other type 1 diabetes families. The reactions I hoped for when writing and later directing always came as though carefully cued. This screening was no exception. I saw silhouetted hands move to the face to wipe eyes, I saw heads nodding in understanding and I heard laughs in places I planned. It's not because I'm some filmmaking genius (but feel free to spread that rumor often and loudly). It's because DxONE is the story of every type 1 family. It is only my film, but the essence of DxONE is the universal experience families living with type 1 diabetes share.
Teaching Others About the Omnipod
While people living with type 1 diabetes share many of the same experiences, it can vary for the individual in dramatic ways. Everyone with diabetes has to create their own plan for dealing with the disease; one that works for the dynamics of life, work and family. Hanging in the Omnipod booth at CWD gave us the chance to talk with folks who hadn't met "real people" using the insulin pump. Sharing our family's experiences with the Omnipod was an opportunity to tell people about an insulin pump we feel passionate about; one that has helped my son's day-to-day life feel as close to normal as it once was four years ago.
Friends for Life
When Jeff Hitchcock named the conference Friends For Life, he was onto something. Nick made fast friends with other teens with diabetes. On most days, rather than slip out to the Disney theme parks with his family, Nick opted to spend time with the friends he made at the conference. His mom and I were not upset at all. He talked about his nightly pool time with his new friends, their trip to Downtown Disney and the teen dance where he shook a leg with a horse-faced amigo (see photo for a better understanding). This is what the trip to the conference was about.
The fact that we got to show DxONE, spend time at the Omnipod booth, touch base with friends we’ve made in the diabetes community, and meet new friends and down-to-earth celebrities like Crystal Bowersox was just the icing on the cake. This was Nick's time to feel normal; where those of us who can eat carbs freely without ever testing our blood glucose were the odd ones out. I'm glad.
To try a free demo of the Omnipod insulin pump for yourself, click here.