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[IP] Donation to IP

Dear Ray:
     I commend you for asking such a simple, but necessary question: why 
should Minimed contribute to Insulin Pumpers? The answer is equally simple: 
because it's the least expensive & most prudent use of your marketing budget 
to attain the greatest yield!
    In this era of managed care, doctors have neither the time nor often the 
inclination to maintain close follow-up monitoring of  newly pumping 
patients. Not wishing to "bother" the busy physician, patients will sometimes 
"flounder", thinking they've "failed" Pumping 101, because "everyone else" 
seems to be having such a wonderful experience. Even the most conscientious, 
dedicated doctor still has a finite amount of time & energy to devote to 
answer the myriad of diverse queries that pump therapy can prompt. Enter the 
Insulin-Pumpers e-mail group!
    When I first "found" this website close to 2 years ago, I believe there 
were about 100 members. That number has grown to over 1700 now. Thankfully, 
they don't ALL post- but those who do offer a wealth of FREE, first-hand, 
"from the trenches", credible, BTDT ( been there/done that) advice. My 16 1/2 
year old daughter (pumping for 3 1/2 years now) doesn't have the time to 
"follow" the threads, but since I am no longer employed OUTSIDE of my house, 
I am fortunate to have the time to begin each day by reading the 30-50 
e-mails that await me and my morning coffee! Melissa and I discuss pertinent 
topics that I've encountered, including yesterday's announcement of the new 
508 pump and the posts a few weeks ago from those IP members who were "test 
driving" the new "micro sofsets".
    Yet, the benefits gained from IP don't end here. My cyber pal, Ellen 
(webmaster of the "other" pump reference site- KidsRPumping- which chronicles 
the experiences of over 40 kids who've begin pump therapy) and I have been 
very involved in the diabetes cyber-community. Between us, we've probably 
helped "sway" (twist arms??) more than 2 dozen families to begin pumping - 
with very positive results! I've referred all of these families to the IP 
website, with the caveat that the amount of e-mail is often overwhelming ( a 
digest option is available, but even that can be onerous for some). Since I 
however have the time to read all the posts, what I do is to forward 
pertinent posts to those families who could benefit from the information 
contained therein.    
    This morning, for instance, there was an introductory post from a woman 
in California who is the mother of a young son pumping for 2 yrs and who 
happens to be a CDE herself. I forwarded that post to about 8 cyber pals 
whose sons are pumping, or considering it, noting that my parental input is 
limited to teenaged female "issues"! Those forwards went to California, 
Massachusetts, Florida, Pennsylvania and Canada!
   There was also a post about NLD, a skin condition that I'd never heard of 
until a "thread" began a few weeks ago discussing this disfiguring disease. I 
forwarded that one to my daughter's CDE,  whom I'd asked about it, and also 
to a mother who'd replied to my initial "group forward FYI", saying that she 
thought her son was suffering from NLD. 
      The wealth of information contained within these posts has not only 
expanded the "patient driven market" for insulin pump therapy, but it has 
also created a "safe haven" from the often isolating, frustrating, relentless 
lifestyle that living with diabetes entails. The range of topics discussed at 
IP has ranged from the sublime to the really silly (Sam & Sara being my 
personal favorites for off the wall humor); from empowering sermons delivered 
by Randall; to practical medical input from professionals like Nancy,  
Barbara and Delaine; from LOTS of helpful hints for "sticking" problems; to 
suggestions on where to put the pump; from techniques for dealing with Kripsy 
Kreme donut consumption; to state-of-the-art posts about the newest 
technology in meters and pumps. My daughter thankfully doesn't have to be 
concerned with "trigger finger", gastroparesis, neuropathy, NLD, pregnancy, 
frozen shoulder, or lots of other topics discussed in depth in these posts; 
but IF she did, I am comforted by knowing that I can turn to this group for 
advice & input. Conversely, she DOES have kidney concerns & has been on an 
ACE inhibitor for 2 years - a scenario I've shared with other IP-ers who have 
had similar patterns & wanted our input on that topic.
    The power of cyber support however doesn't end at my keyboard. Ellen and 
I have met 3 times in person, and last month, after dropping off our other 
daughter at college, my family and I spent time with 2 families in New 
England whose children had begun pump therapy, after "connecting" with Ellen 
and me at the Children with Diabetes chat room. 2 years ago, when Ellen and I 
posted there about our children's experiences, we were in the minority. Now, 
even if we're not there, there are many others extolling the benefits of pump 
therapy & referring the "uninitiated" to the IP group! Had our plans not been 
cancelled, we'd have also met with a 3rd family whose daughter's efforts to 
convince her endo that a 12 yr old COULD successfully begin pump therapy were 
"aided & abetted" by Ellen and myself. That mom is far too busy to monitor 
the IP group, but nonetheless when her daughter encountered "tape issues", a 
"cry for help" via my own posting elicited over a dozen suggestions for her, 
thus quickly resolving the problem.....And another mom in Canada, whom we'd 
also met at CWD, fought to have her then 6 yr old son also begin pump 
therapy. This past summer, she visited the USA & stayed here with my family, 
adding another link to this cyber-chain....Next Tuesday, about a dozen moms 
from the Philly area wil be meeting for lunch- the majority of whom have 
children on pumps & who have also benefitted from IP's existence.
   Every time I encounter a family dealing with diabetes (and since my family 
is VERY "visible" in JDF-Philadelphia, we encounter A LOT), I tell them about 
pump therapy & recommend that they "join" this website, even before 
initiating pump therapy. I believe unequivocally that there are children 
pumping today whose parents' fears & hesitations were put to rest by the 
wealth of support, guidance and information they gleaned from the IP posts.
       And YES - my own donation to IP was mailed this week, literally 
putting "my money where my mouth is!" LOL....

Regards, Renee (increasingly obsolete pump-mom/coach for 3 1/2            
                         years to Melissa)
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