Wow has life been a bit of a whirlwind. It was only a couple weeks ago that I attended the IBD Social Circle Summit. It was an amazing, uplifting and inspiring experience. I got to meet IBD advocates that I follow and admire for their educating and bare honesty. I tweeted at a live IBD Round Table which was amazing! Then there was a day of focus groups with best care for the IBD community in mind. And the finest topper of all was the honor of attending the premier of Ryan Stevens’ documentary Swimming with Courage & Crohn’s. If you have not had the opportunity to view this documentary, please do.
About a year ago on Lake Erie Swim 4 IBD Day and into the night I remember sequestering myself away with my lap top to capture any type of update and follow Sara Ringer’s posts as Ryan captivated us all in his grueling super human battle across Lake Erie to raise awareness for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. #XErie4IBD. I sat there with my heart in my throat part cheering Ryan on, part nervous for his safety, a large part really proud. With that bystanders experience as reference I listened as panelists added further insight that served to paint a more vibrant picture of the days events. Ryan was already a beacon of hope within the community before the documentary. To see in stark detail was humbling, empowering, and powerful. The thoughtful preparation, determination, courage, and grit to do what Ryan did all to spread awareness about a disease and to give hope to others. WOW!
Zero dry eyes.
Janssen did a top job of reflecting truth onto film. Even more so, Janssen understood. You can’t make that kind of experience come alive if you stand separate from the cause. To see Ryan portrayed as the strong, raw, honest Crohn’s Disease fighter that he is, really mattered. IBD patients deserve that kind of dignity and respect. Janssen did that.
The next morning I hopped on over to the DDW and experienced its Gastro Health Mecca. A landscape of booths laid out as far as the eye can see, filled with people excited to tell you about their products.
All too soon it was time to head home.
Quite a wonderful adventure for sure. One that was a dream come true on multiple fronts.
The whirlwind picked up again as soon as I got home with child shenanigans, volunteerism, visiting relatives and home buying. Eek! We’re buying a home!
Here I sit typing to you; existing half in boxes. Tomorrow I work as a team with my Hubby to transport life and family to the next phase of our adventure with as little chaos as possible.
This is going to be a two part thing as long posts don’t really get read and the two halves of my day were so vastly different. I went from tourist in a new town with a new friend to attending my first in person IBD Social Circle web chat. I want to give proper attention to each. So here’s how the day began…..
Day two was when the rest of the #IBDSocialCircle participants arrived. The Welcome Reception was scheduled in the evening which gave almost an entire day to entertain myself. Fortunately Jen of Chronic-Crohns arrived early as well. Stephanie of Tonic introduced us via email (because she is friendly and awesome like that) and Jen and I hit it off right away. Jen has a Facebook page called Crohnic-Crohns where she shares her experience with abscesses, IBD and Ostomies. Such an easy going and funny lady to hang around with. So there we were, two IBD Explorers with map in hand, we took off on foot as D.C. has so many cool things to see that happen to be really close together.
Buckle up kids it’s Slide Show Time!!
I promise this is the one and only slide show for this IBD Social Circle ~ Washington D.C. adventure series. Mostly because after this the tempo picked up and I really started soaking in the moments….and forgot to take pictures. In fact, I wish I had taken more. So together let’s enjoy some of the photos I actually did take.
After all this fun Jen and I got lost a little on the way back. In the end we arrived in perfect time to get freshened up, grab our supplies and head down to attend the evenings Welcome Reception. I was about to meet the tip top of advocate awesome in the form of bloggers, vloggers, law makers and dedicated IBD supporters. Excited, a little nervous and really hoping I would do a great job were the thoughts filling my head as I walked towards the group standing just outside the conference room. Here we go!
Hello my lovelies! I’m glad to be back so I can share all the good nuggets with you. I spent most of the first day back napping, recovering and just starting to get caught up with everyone. What an exciting whirl wind of IBD Family and all things new and better for the IBD community. I am super excited for the future and can’t wait to share my experiences with you. I had the best time at the #IBDSocialCircle and exploring #DDW convention. There are just so many cool things to fill you in on that I will be breaking it up into different posts. But I wanted to first off say a thank you to Janssen and Tonic for making this trip possible. From food we could eat to making sure we got to our events, staying up and visiting late into the night and every tiny thing in between; we felt cared for like out of town family.
I also want to assure you that I kept my fan girling to a minimum as to not scare away the super awesome advocates that surrounded me at every turn. You would be proud of the self control.
And because this event was held in Washington D. C. I got to explore some of our nations great historical treasures with my new Canadian friend Jen of Crohnic-Crohns. Such a sweet heart. You should really go check out her page.
*Disclaimer~ This snap shot was taken later in the Washington D.C. IBD Blogger Awesome Adventure. But it was the only photo I took of the Lovely Jen as I was living in the moment so much I didn’t capture as many images as I later wished I had.
**Note to self: Must take WAY more pictures next time!
Today started early with a trip to the airport and kisses good bye to my husband and wee people. Five hours later I arrived in Washington D.C. for the IBD Social Circle Summit put on by Janssen Biotech. My sweetheart driver Muhammad, who kept calling me Ma’am, was delightful to chat with. D. C. traffic was certainly exciting. I was immensely grateful that he was driving, a dazzling conversationalist and was thoughtful in pointing out historical landmarks in our nation’s capital along the way.
At the hotel I was greeted right away by Stephanie of Tonic Life Communications who coordinated everything so seamlessly in advance and anticipated every question I needed to make my first trip to the East Coast a smooth one. This was a blessing and much appreciated as one of my not-so-super powers is getting hopelessly lost. And because I’ve never been farther East than a layover in Denver on the way to Houston, I needed all the help I could get! So that on its own was a great big bucket of awesome!
Next I was off to my room to freshen up with plans to discover something to eat. While there I heard bagpipe music from the street below. Food can wait; I’m off to check that out! Turns out the IBD Summit coincides with the annual pipes and drums memorial for police officers who have fallen the previous year. It was a lovely tribute that felt more like a celebration. The ground shook like thunder and the air vibrated with the magic of bagpipes and drums. You could physically feel the music move through you. I am so glad I went. People were visiting with each other, perfect strangers striking up conversation. It felt like a festival. I heard from historical tourists, someone came from Ohio to visit family, another in town for business. Of course, I shared that I was here for the summit and shared what IBD was. One person knew what I was talking about and the rest were caught up to speed. Lots of fun with friendly people who were game for taking part of their day to visit and share a parade with each other.
Tomorrow I get to meet some of the IBD bloggers I follow and look up to in person. These intelligent, funny, creative people that engage and educate. IBD Family. WOW!
So I’ve got exciting news. Thanks to Sara of Inflamed and Untamed for suggesting me, I am attending the IBD Social Circle Summit as part of Digestive Disease Week!
It’s like being handed a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
The IBD Social Circle Summit has been put on by Janssen Biotech. It’s a way for pharmaceutical, medical and patient advocates to get together to focus efforts towards awareness and education. These are the brains and souls that dedicate themselves to solve the ultimate IBD puzzle. And they do it with humor, accuracy and passion. I feel both thrilled as can be and out of my element in the most deliriously joyful way. Most of all so honored just to be able to attend.
Last year I watched in GI Fan Girl appreciation as some of my favorite in the IBD community got together to share their knowledge. It was hopeful as a patient to see the process in which minds of varying disciplines get together for a common goal.
I plan to document my experiences and share with you along the way. So follow my Crohnie Bologna IBD Facebook Page and Twitter @CrohnieBologna. You can also follow using the hashtag #DDW15. The schedule feels like a magical whirlwind of gastro health awesomeness. It begins with a web chat on Preparing for Procedures and Surgery and ends with the Documentary Premiere of Swimming with Courage and Crohn’s, chronicling Crohn’s patient Ryan Steven’s swim across Lake Erie in an effort to raise awareness for IBD.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Janssen Biotech, Inc. paid for my travel expenses for the summit. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Which is freeing. I can speak honestly and not feel as though I am there to endorse any company or product. I can just be myself which will likely include a contained amount of fan girling, geeking out at the uber smart gastros and most of all meeting people within my IBD family.