JDRF TypeOneNation Summit in San Diego

I attended my first JDRF TypeOneNation Summit since moving to San Diego and had SO MUCH FUN!

My father-in-law and I spent countless hours watching boxing together over the past 20 years, so I was excited when I realized who walked in the room to kick things off.

None other than former pro boxing IBF World Champion, Paul “The Ultimate” Vaden! He’s been supporting JDRF since 2004 and was elected as the San Diego Board President in 2018

JDRF facilitated tours of the diabetes lab at the institute. My favorite station was the microscopy station, where we learned about the complexity and how much there is left to learn about how and why the immune system attacks our beta cells. 

Did you know that the ability to look at and test with living pancreatic tissue has only been around for about five years? And until just recently, it was only possible to keep those samples alive and run tests for about one day? That’s not enough time to figure out very much! 

Thankfully, now technology and science have advanced to a point where living insulin-producing tissue can be kept alive, tested on, and accurately viewed for about one week. That’s better, but still not very much time.

Is it just me, or have you also assumed that type of thing was already possible and had been happening for a long time? 

That’s why I find these events essential and exciting. They calibrate my expectations and remind me of just how complicated the puzzle of diabetes is.

The next station was handing out new pancreases, though, which was pretty cool.

nPOD Stress Pancreas

Then I bumped into an old friend from waaaay back in the day who I didn’t even know lived in San Diego! First time actually ever meeting in real life, by the way.

Just before lunch, I enjoyed Matt from FTF Warrior & Pardon my Pancreas talking about metabolism, nutrition, and fitness.

The closing keynote was terrific. Eric Tozer talked about running the World Marathon Challenge® – seven marathons in seven days on seven continents. Yes, really. 

Eric running in the foreground, the team plane in the background

Eric talked about the crazy schedule, and wacky timezones, and jumping from hot to cold and back again, and that the flights between countries being the only time they had to rest, recover, sleep, and eat anything. 

What stuck with me the most was Eric emphasizing that mental strength was such a significant component in a challenge like this. He said living with diabetes was an asset there. And it’s the same for all of us.

With diabetes, there is no quit. It’s not an option. When our mind, emotions, or even our bodies start jabbing at us with negativity, we have to figure a way through it. There is no other option. 

It reminded me just how strong and able I am. And so are you.

Eric, Lorraine, Stephanie, Scott with Lorraine and Stephanie holding Eric's race medals.
Eric, Lorraine, Stephanie, Scott
and all of Eric’s medals!

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…