CDN Retreat 2017: A Lasting ImpactNo Diabetes XXL
CDN NewsCDN Chapter Leader, Seryn, blogs about her experience at the CDN Retreat 2017!
Editor’s note: apply for the 2018 CDN Annual Retreat today! https://www.tfaforms.com/4654442
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) when I was 11 years old. I was in middle school at the time, and I was only able to communicate with three others my age with T1D. It wasn’t until I started college last year that I was connected with over a dozen others around my age with T1D through The College Diabetes Network (CDN) Chapter at Ball State University. After I joined this organization, the rapport that ensued was like a true breath of fresh air. I finally had others with whom I could truly relate to, and I have learned a great amount from these individuals since T1D is managed in a plethora of different ways.
Since starting college and meeting others with whom I can truly connect, I have been looking for more opportunities and ways to support, advocate, and expand my knowledge about type 1 diabetes. However, that can get a little tricky when one doesn’t know where to start. Add becoming co-president of a CDN Chapter to that mix and one just might have to search for an instruction manual.
The aforementioned instruction manual came to me like a light at the end of a tunnel. It was in the form of the Retreat 2017. The previous vice president of my CDN Chapter had attended the Retreat the year before, and highly recommended applying based on his experience. From the information he shared with me, it seemed like a worthwhile opportunity.
I religiously counted the days down until I left for the Retreat. Once the awaited day arrived, I had a mixture of anxiousness and excitement. It was my first trip where I was completely on my own. Therefore, one can imagine my skepticism when a large white van full of strangers pulled up to the airport terminal exit to pick me up. Once I got into the van, my skepticism turned into awe. During the ride to Bridgton, Maine, I learned a great deal about some of the people with whom I would spend the next five days.
Everyone I met had their own unique stories, but I felt connected to all of them in different ways. Everybody contributed to the overall learning experience during the retreat. The education this trip offered through breakout sessions, informative presentations, networking, and various exercises have made a lasting impact on me and offered a whole slew of information I can carry on to my CDN Chapter, family, community, and future career.
Because of this trip, I feel as though I am prepared to start my journey of support, advocacy, and education for T1D. I now have the instruction manual I had been searching for to start me on this journey. This trip helped me to make 30+ new friends with whom I have a connection, and who have inspired and educated me in numerous ways. I’m very thankful to The College Diabetes Network for this amazing opportunity to expand my knowledge, develop new friendships, and to get me started and on track to educate and support others who have a shared interest with me—T1D.
Contributor: Seryn Crawford, Ball State University ‘19