The best of the best today was Natalie Strand and her presentation during the General Session. If you have not already heard the buzz, she is the anesthesiologist from California that, with her partner Kat, won the Amazing Race reality show. The uniqueness of her winning with her partner was twofold: 1. It is the first women's team to win and 2. She has had type 1 diabetes since she was 12 years old.
I love reading about, watching and participating in physical challenges, so the videos and stories of traveling around the world with both mental and physical obstacles most of the way were so...well, amazing! She believes that the problem solving she encounters everyday with this tedious and relentless disease provided the background for her to find solutions to the obstacles and endure the challenges of this adventure race. She appears to have conquered a lot in her life. Considering that she was not only was able to survive and excel during this challenging 22 days of racing, but she also completed medical school and a residency in anesthesiology over the last 10 years. No minimal feat in itself!
As a diabetes educator, the message was not just about Nat. It was a message about collaboration, team work and the fact that the diabetes educators have the potential to encourage, support and truly be a part of a team to enrich the lives of children and adults diagnosed with this challenging disease. She graciously gave credit to her partner, Kat, who she has known through medical school and also to her diabetes educator, who never said, "Don't do that, you have diabetes!"
Thank you Nat, for including us on your team, and emphasizing the important role we have to play in saying to our patients, "You are going to be all right and yes, you can be whatever you want to be!"