SimonPalooza – Touching Lives Worldwide

What is SimonPalooza?

It all starts with Simon.

Simon is an incredible guy living with diabetes in Australia.  He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about six years ago, right in the middle of his otherwise awesome life.  Being blindsided by his diagnosis, and left drowning by himself to deal with it, he pretty much gave up on life.

Until he found the Diabetes Online Community.

So he worked, and worked, and worked.  60-90 hour weeks for over four months.  He had a grand total of four days off.  He worked weekends, days, nights.  He worked all of the time.  In fact, there were probably a couple of days where he managed to work 48 hours in a 24 hour day.  All to save up money to come visit the United States and meet some of the people he has gotten to know online.

Stopping in Los Angeles, then Kansas City, then New York, Simon was in the US for a little over  a week.  Many people sacrificed much to make their way to one of the three stops.  I loaded up my vehicle, picked up Heather & Becca, and drove eight hours south to spend the weekend with some DOC friends.

We (I?) made a major dent in the Diet Coke supply of the Kansas City area – probably setting off supply chain alerts at the Diet Coke headquarters.  They’ll be ready for us next time…

Finally meeting good friends is something that never gets old.  People, like Bob, who I don’t know at all, but know very well and love very much.

We had an official DOC welcoming party for Simon at the Kansas City airport, and I’m so thankful to have been a part of Simon’s arrival.

Simon spent a lot of time telling each and every one of us just how important we are to him, and how what we do makes a difference to many.  He said over and over again how he didn’t think twice about working so hard to get there, that he was blown away that so many of us would travel from so far just to come see him.

What he didn’t realize is that him spending so much time and money just to meet us was something that touched all of us.  This meeting, unlike any other, demonstrates the importance of simply sharing our stories.  Knowing that we are not alone makes a difference.  THE difference.

Simon thinks he was the one who received the most from this trip.  I would argue that each of us got at least as much from it, maybe more.

There were so many magical moments that I will have forever in my memory, and many more that were captured on camera (thank you Sara & Courtney).

And a HUGE thank you to Becca for handling most of the driving on the way home…

** Simon – you are an amazing person, and I’m so glad to have had this chance to meet you in real life, to give you a big hug, and to thank you for all that you have given to us.

*** To all of the KC DOC Peeps – thank you for all of the work and planning you put into this weekend.  It was magical, and I very much appreciate everything you did to help make it happen.

**** For the record, Jeff Mather has the best collection of diabetes/pancreas related t-shirts on this earth.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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