Oley Conference: It’s All about Connecting
Another Oley Foundation Consumer/Clinician Conference is behind us. It was a wonderful meeting in San Diego, marked by blue skies and friendly faces. At the welcome reception Thursday evening, where we joined to celebrate Oley’s twenty-fifth anniversary, many of us were meeting for the first time. By Sunday afternoon, when we gathered for the walk-a-thon and picnic by the pool, we were like old friends, having spent the previous days sharing ideas, experiences, and stories.
Nichole Loewen and her family attended the conference from Manitoba, Canada. Nichole keeps an online journal, where she wrote about her experiences at the conference. Here’s her entry from Sunday, June 29.
It’s been a very full weekend. The Oley Conference has been a fantastic time and the whole family has enjoyed themselves. There is so much to say about it, and I’m sad to see it come to an end, but I am so glad we have gotten the opportunity to be here.
Friday and Saturday were spent in sessions with topics ranging from advocating, to preventing line complications, depression, pain management, transplants, and so much more. Lots of fascinating new ideas and we have some questions to go ask back home, and a few new things to hopefully try out.
While we were at sessions, Kailyn and Joshua spent an afternoon on a private trolley tour of San Diego and an afternoon at Sea World. They were thrilled!! Yesterday evening was the silent auction where the kids went a little nuts at the kids’ auction table and ended up with a bunch of Disney loot. And today was the picnic by the pool with face painting, rock painting (not sure how we will lug those home!), and just socializing. Once again, the kids were spoiled rotten with freebies. Good thing we will have extra room going home after using up all Noah’s supplies!
But the best part of the conference was the people we met. Other parents with kids on TPN, and adults who’ve been doing this for twenty or thirty years. A few of them I have been corresponding with on my Internet TPN support group, so it was wonderful to put faces to names. But to just--for a few days--feel like the “normal” ones, when everyone is walking around with tubes and pumps, was such a great experience. A few times Kailyn mentioned how neat it was to see kids like Noah, especially kids her age. To just be around families that “get it,” without having to explain yourself...they’ve been there, done that...that was priceless. We will miss them and are already talking about how we will get to next year’s conference.
Thanks for sharing this, Nichole! You can read more about Nichole’s family at http://noahgrantjohn.blogspot.com.
Connect at Conference!