Unless you’ve spent most of 2016 in a cave, you’re probably aware that we’ve been traveling the country in support of our #ALLin campaign. The goal: meeting and talking with people who need and want innovative solutions for their healthcare problems. We’ve taken our #ALLin Airstream mobile recording studio to a variety of walks and runs that support people living with chronic diseases so that we could interview patients and caregivers and learn their stories. On a local level, Intouchers have also run, biked and walked for dozens of health-related causes. 

One of our last stops this year was the Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, hosted by the American Diabetes Association at Sanofi headquarters in Bridgewater, NJ. There, we met Red Strider volunteers with diabetes, sponsors like RWJ Barnabas Health, parents and children, friends and family members, and even dogs! Through our conversations, we learned what a prevalent and insidious disease diabetes can be. Nearly 10% of the U.S. population has diabetes — that’s 29 million people — and another 86 million have prediabetes, or higher-than-normal blood sugar. 

Out of the many patients and caregivers who stopped to speak with us, we particularly enjoyed sitting down with Candace, who was diagnosed with Type I — a.k.a., juvenile — diabetes, in 1996 when she was nine. Candace was spending her 30th birthday at the walk with her friends and family. Her mother also spoke with us, and she, like Candace, emphasized the importance of having a support network. Candace’s childhood friends, her husband, and her family have all played a vital role in helping keep her safe, come to terms with her disease, manage it properly, continue to improve her health, and support awareness-raising efforts like the walk. 

The #ALLin journey has been a profound experience for all of the Intouchers who’ve been lucky enough to be part of it, whether through their own local efforts, at one of the Airstream stops, or both. It’s been an ambitious journey, but it’s been punctuated by plenty of laughs and hugs — and tears, too — thanks to the patients and caregivers who’ve been generous enough to share their time and stories with us. 

What we’re learning has helped us identify untapped needs in those communities and will change how we deliver meaningful, inspired healthcare marketing to our clients. The next stop on the trail is Digital Pharma East in Philadelphia. Stay tuned by following the #ALLin hashtag, the Intouch blog or @teamallin on Instagram — or maybe we’ll even see you in Philadelphia this week!