Words by Heather Gomez  |  Images by Blair Ryan

If you were going to be stuck on an island for three days, what would be the one thing you would want to have with you? If you said “30 other awesome people with Type 1 diabetes”, then you just described SoCal Slipstream on Catalina Island! (Ok, technically 30 people isn’t “one thing.”)

Fortunately for all of us, we weren’t limited to just one thing; we had great food, inspiring people, and chances to learn from our peers. We were able to get outside and sail, snorkel and SUP against a gorgeous California backdrop and even snuck in a diabetes-themed Halloween costume party! 

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On Friday evening a group of T1s made their way to Catalina Island via ferry and water taxi, finally unloading at Camp Emerald Bay.  Over the next 48 hours, that group of strangers became more of a family as we bonded over the weekend activities.

The retreat was an eye-opener to the many ways we “do” diabetes in our lives. Sure, there are many things we all had in common, but we quickly learned the little differences that make all of our diabetes stories and day-to-days unique.  We use different physical activities, pharmaceutical drugs, low supplies, and electronic technology to complement insulin therapy. Throw in a few major differences between American and Canadian healthcare, and you’ve got quite the array of diabetes management variability, all packed onto one small island!

As an extra bonus, we also had not one, but two diabetes alert dogs attend the weekend with their Type 1s who were attending Slipstream. Many of us left the weekend wanting our own cute and furry CGMs!

20161103-socal-slipstream-img_2270For some, this was the first chance to meet someone else with diabetes – for many, it was the first time to experience ‘diabetes camp’. It’s safe to assume that most of us learned at least one new tip or trick. We also got the chance to learn about new advances like inhaled insulin, pump and CGM innovations, and current clinical trials searching for a cure. We made sure there was time for silliness too, showing off our two left feet while line dancing at our Halloween “Hoe (don’t go low) Down”.

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We want to take the chance to thank everyone who came out and shared their weekend with us and who helped build this community stronger. We’re grateful for each of you and the unique experiences you brought along with you.

If you missed out on SoCal Slipstream, let us know! We are always looking to build community and are excited to meet even more adults living with Type 1 in the United States. Sign up for our newsletter, or fire us an email at info@connectedinmotion.ca to let us know you’re interested!

Keep your eye on our Facebook Page next week when we’ll post another 100 or so of our very favorite pics of SoCal Slipstream!

A special thank you to the following wonderful partners who helped us ensure that SoCal Slipstream was amazing, for valuing the importance of community, and for continuing to push us to live life without limits.