“Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.” Author unknown
It resonated with me because only a few days before that I worked on a Diabetes Camps Victoria (DCV) day activity for children living with type 1 diabetes. We went to Bounce and it was nuts! Absolutely nuts and completely brilliant! I had a paradigm shift during the check-in process for the forty-strong crowd of children arriving. Pumps were being disconnected left, right and centre. Blood glucose levels were being shouted out across the tables. Diabetes Nurse Educators were reassuring the parents and guardians that we all knew what we were doing and that their children were in good hands. And all of this was being staged in a very small space.
Amidst all of this chaos my mind, body and soul went quiet. Oh so very quiet. And for a short moment I could hear myself breathing. I could hear my heart beating steady and strong. I felt in-balance, alive and satisfied.
I realised that this is the stuff that has helped me get to where I am today. The children in the room were a concentrated petri dish of diabetes peer support. They had no idea they were offering it. They had no idea they were receiving it. But it was happening and it was beautiful.
One of the best thing my parents did just a year after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes was send me to the Royal Childrens’ Hospital (RCH) Camp for Children with Diabetes. This was what was offered to patients of the RCH long before DCV ever existed. Nobody was paid to run it. A pediatric endocrinologist visited for half a day wearing board shorts to check our records books while we were down at Anglesea Surf Beach . One Diabetes Nurse Educator stayed with us on site and was in charge of all things medical; from band-aid distribution to hypo management and insulin administration. But one thing was unequivocally the same as it is today; the peer support was the stuff that really mattered.
That is why I have continued to be involved in that sort of stuff ever since. I was fortunate enough to attend many camps as a child and teenager. As an adult I moved on to become a volunteer recreation leader, camp coordinator and member of the management committee. I made a few risky career choices to work for a diabetes organisation. And since having my children I have co-founded the Oz Diabetes Online Community so I can continue to get my fix of the important stuff.
Because that is the stuff that is important to me… and to so many others.