A Special Message from Our Co-Founder Sandy Bourdette
It was March, 1995. Steve Edelman and I had been working together for about two years, holding medical education conferences for healthcare professionals, when he came to me and shared his vision to hold a large educational conference for people with diabetes (PWD). I thought his goals were quite lofty and, at the same time, incredibly exciting because, to my knowledge, this was something that had never been done before. His vision was to have 1,000 people attend a day-long program; to keep the registration fee as low as possible so more people could attend; to offer a wide variety of topics in large general sessions and in workshops for people newly diagnosed and also for people who had lived with diabetes for many years; to have lots of sit-down, ‘hands-on sessions’ between diabetes specialists and PWD so they could get meaningful answers to their individual questions; to have a lively health fair showcasing all the latest and greatest treatments and technologies available to help control diabetes; and, most of all, he really wanted to teach EVERYONE how to take control of their own diabetes!
The First Conference
At that time, we didn’t have nearly as many medications to help control diabetes as we do today, but we had enough, and it had been clearly proven that if PWD would eat a well-balanced diet, stay physically active, and take their medication as prescribed, nearly everyone could get and keep their diabetes in good control (most of the time!). And it had also been proven that well controlled diabetes results in fewer, if any, of the serious complications associated with diabetes, and people could live long and healthy lives despite living with this condition! These facts were the reasons Dr. Edelman wanted to hold that very first conference, which we did in September of 1995. He believed then, as he does today, that if PWD understood that successfully controlling their diabetes would result in living longer and healthier lives, they would make the necessary changes and get their diabetes under good control. And he was right!
Fast forward 23 years to 2018. What have we learned and what do we know for sure?
We have learned so much during this time about how what we eat (as well as how much we eat) affects our blood sugars, and how important it is to keep our bodies moving so they can more efficiently metabolize the foods we eat. The number of devices and medications that have been brought to market to help manage diabetes has exploded during these years, and we know for sure when someone becomes empowered to be the most knowledgeable person about their own diabetes, they thrive, living more robust and happier lives than they ever thought was possible.
During these 23 years, TCOYD has held 185 conferences in more than 70 cities around the United States, teaching people how to take control of their diabetes, and we’re poised to continue bringing one-of-a-kind programs to more and more people across the country. Our digital programs will become available globally to anyone with access to the internet and they are going to be groundbreaking! I like to think of it as “The TCOYD University”. We already have a wonderful video series on our website and as we move forward, we will be adding more and more classroom-style videos for type 1s, type 2s and medical professionals, so stay tuned. The best is yet to come from TCOYD!
Onward to New Adventures
For me, personally, the time has come to step back from the day-to-day operation of TCOYD and take some time to smell the roses, travel more extensively, and experience some of my bucket list dreams, but in the wildest of those dreams I never thought I would have the opportunity to work side-by-side with Steve Edelman to help create and nurture the growth of TCOYD for 23 years. It has been the absolute best and I have all of you to thank.
My wish for all of you living with diabetes is to understand and BELIEVE that you CAN take control of your diabetes. With the guidance of your healthcare provider and your own personal grit, you can learn about and take advantage of the many medications and technologies that are available to help you. Along with these and practicing a healthful, active lifestyle, you have everything you need to live a long, happy and healthy life.
Oh…in case you’ve ever wondered why the heck we named this organization ‘Taking Control Of Your Diabetes’, it’s because that’s what TCOYD is all about… so, if you have already taken control of your diabetes, congratulations! And if you haven’t, well, get going. There’s no time like the present to start living your best life!