In this world you are either a Pepsi fan or a Coke fan.
During AADE, I found out that the Philadelphia Convention Center was definitely pro-Coke. It was with much regret that I headed to the concession stand in the back of the exhibit hall. I grabbed some lunch and a Coke Zero and headed to the register to pay.
My brother often harasses me for talking to “strangers” in line, and I don’t even remember how the conversation started but I started talking to the two register workers and one member of the cleaning crew about our soda preferences. We all agreed that overall Pepsi products taste sweeter than Coke products, making Pepsi too sweet but Diet Pepsi just right. As I was about to mention that I can’t/don’t drink regular soda anymore when the custodian brought up how much she likes Pepsi Next. She said she can’t drink the regular stuff anymore because of her “sugar diabetes.”
I asked her if she knew what the conference was about that was just a few feet away from her on the exhibit hall floor. She did but she told me that she wasn’t allowed to go onto the floor (understandable but really unfortunate).
I wasn’t the only one that had this type of interaction at the conference. Bennet had a very similar conversation with another employee who was only feet away from a conference on diabetes education, yet had very little knowledge of his own condition and how to manage it.
Late last week I was at a meeting at my local JDRF office. We were working on the details for an upcoming event and one of the board members told us the story of an experience he had at a different fundraising event.
It was a competition between several celebrity chefs and one was raising money for diabetes research. The board member had friends who were also at the event, to see and be seen, and apparently root for the other competitors. One friend approached him during the cook-off and said, “You know I really hope your guy loses. I want the money to go to a real disease.”
1 in 3 people will have diabetes in 2050 and we are still trying to convince people it is a real disease?