What a great theme for this year’s AADE Annual Meeting and what a great opening general session!
Tami Ross, President of the AADE Board of Directors, started the session describing how she has been open to the point of possible throughout her life, looking for opportunities and saying “yes” along the way. This attitude helped to lead her to her current position. Next, the keynote speaker Phil Southerland, talked about challenges he has had and how he refused to let those challenges prevent what he felt was possible.
If you don’t know who Phil is, I will try to briefly introduce him. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an infant. He told the audience that his mother received grim news that he would likely not live through his 20s due to the problems that would result from having diabetes. He learned the importance of managing his glucoses early on (through what he described as a bit of a tough love approach from his mom) and, furthermore, learned that exercise allowed him to eat more of what he wanted and to still have blood glucoses in goal ranges.
Fast forward several years, Phil is now 30 years old and has accomplished many amazing things. He was a competitive cyclist during college, earning top rankings at the junior level. He has since participated in many races including a tag-team event, the Race Across America, where the team covered 3,000 miles, finishing a close 2nd to a professional team. This wasn’t good enough-the team won the next year!
He told us how he is grateful for the knowledge and support of his diabetes educators, spotting a few of them in the crowd and thanking them personally. What a great example of how important it is to have a team effort with a person with diabetes paired up with caring and knowledgeable diabetes educators.
He has brought together other competitive cyclists who have type 1 diabetes, creating and becoming the CEO of Team Type 1, now team novo nordisk. With this team, he hopes to bring awareness and change the perception of diabetes throughout the world. His goal for the future is to have a team of cyclists, all with type 1 diabetes, compete in the Tour de France in the year 2021, 100 years after the creation of insulin. I, for one, think he will accomplish this! With Phil’s determination, it surely is possible!