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  Back to 2001 Conference Report from Disney 2001

Disney 2001 - Wednesday

Gary Hall, Jr. talks to the kids in the pool After getting settled in their hotel rooms and registering, families had a chance to relax during the afternoon. One hundred kids were treated to a one hour swim clinic by Gary Hall, Jr., 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist, courtesy of LifeScan. Gary first told the kids of his diagnosis with diabetes and being told by his first doctor that his swimming career was over. Not willing to give up, Gary found an endocrinologist who agreed to work with him to integrate diabetes care into a life devoted to world-class athletics. Gary's strong determination allowed him not only to succeed, but to excel and to take the Gold Medal in the 50 meter freestyle at the 2000 Olympics in Australia. It was amazing to watch a pool full of 100 kids sitting nearly motionless, listening to Gary as he encouraged them not to let diabetes stop them from pursuing their dreams.

Gary then jumped in the pool and offered swimming advice to the kids. Even the little kids who were a bit afraid of the water had a great time. At the end of his pool time, he offered to race one of the kids. Gary would swim two laps to his opponent's one. Ben Cooper was chosen to represent the kids. Gary showed why he won the Gold Medal! (1.3 MB MPEG movie)

Kids stopped by the DRI booth to pick up their free Mickey doll Wednesday evening, families were treated to dinner at the Welcome Reception in the exhibit hall, sponsored by LifeScan. The hall doors opened at 5:30pm and booths were quickly packed.

Each child was treated to a free Mickey doll by the Diabetes Research Institute, which was strategically positioned right at the entrance to the exhibit hall. Each Mickey doll came with a plastic horn, and kids quickly began using them. The sounds from the horns could be heard over the din of the huge crowd in the exhibit hall and throughout the Coronado Springs resort well into the night.

Exhibitors answered questions from parents and kids For many families, visiting the Exhibit Hall provided a unique opportunity to learn about the great variety of options for diabetes care, and to learn about new products under development by companies involved in diabetes care. Parents and kids could ask vendors about their products and see things that they had never been able to see before. Exhibitors graciously answered questions from parents and kids alike. Many exhibitors commented on the wonderful opportunity they had to meet and talk with people who use their products, and all were overwhelmed with the crowds on the first night. Thankfully, the crowds let up during Thursday and Friday as families attended the many education sessions.

Everyone wanted to try the FreeStyle meter Platinum sponsor TheraSense, at the front of the exhibit hall, found themselves inundated with parents, kids, and adults who wanted to try their FreeStyle blood glucose meter, which takes the smallest drop of blood of all meters (0.3 microliters). The line to do a blood test with the FreeStyle meter spilled out into the aisles and didn't let up until the Exhibit Hall closed for the evening. Anxious kids and parents, after waiting in line to test, often walked out of the booth saying, "That's it? I didn't feel a thing."

Other exhibitors experienced the same intense level of interest from the over 1,000 people who visited the Exhibit Hall that night. It was rather exhausting for the staff in the booths, but exciting at the same time.

Kids -- and parents -- lined up to get Gary Hall, Jr.'s autograph LifeScan showed their new meter, the ONE TOUCH® UltraTM, which takes a very small drop (1.0 microliter) and produces a reading in five seconds. They also hosted Gary Hall, Jr. at their booth, who signed autographs for kids and parents for over 90 minutes. Many kids -- and moms -- had Gary autograph their T-shirt, in addition to the posters that LifeScan brought along. Gary graciously took time to chat with the kids, who all walked away feeling a little bit better about themselves.

Amira Medical showed their AtLast® Blood Glucose System alternative site tester, while Abbott Laboratories showed their Precision Xtra meter, which also tests for blood ketones, and their new Sof-Tact system. Cygnus showed the GlucoWatch and answered questions from parents eager to buy the product. Old timers marveled at the advances in blood glucose technology (I remember well two minute meters with an enormous hanging drop of blood; others recall the days before testing), while technology-savvy kids took it all in stride.

Pump makers talked about the benefits of insulin pump therapy The three insulin pump makers, MiniMed, Disetronic, and Animas, had an opportunity to talk about the benefits of pump therapy to hundreds of people who were very interested in the pump but had never seen one. All three also offered free insulin pump trials using saline to anyone who wanted to see if wearing an insulin pump was for them. MiniMed also offered trials of its Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS), which meaures blood sugar values every five minutes for up to 72 hours. Demand for pump trials was huge, with parents and kids alike proudly showing off their demo pumps to everyone.

 

Gary Hall, Jr. holds court at the pool
Gary Hall, Jr. holds court at the pool
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Kids listened intently to Gary Hall, Jr.
Kids listened intently to Gary Hall, Jr.
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The crowd outside the exhibit hall
The crowd outside the exhibit hall
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Families had a chance to learn about the latest in diabetes care in the exhibit hall
Families had a chance to learn about the latest in diabetes care in the exhibit hall
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DRI's Mickey Doll was a big hit with the kids
DRI's Mickey Doll was a big hit with the kids
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Kids -- and Mickey -- take a break from booths
Kids -- and Mickey -- take a break from booths
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Dinner was served at the back of the Exhibit Hall
Dinner was served at the back of the Exhibit Hall
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Gary Hall, Jr. signed autographs
Gary Hall, Jr. signed autographs
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Last Updated: Monday August 18, 2003 08:20:30
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