Ahhhh ... Springtime in Cincinnati. Blue skies and sunshine, crocus and daffodils, 70 degrees and a warm breeze, right? Not exactly! Freezing temperatures and a dusting of snow welcomed (yes, welcomed!) about 250 participants to the CWD Focus on Technology conference, March 25-27, 2011, held at the Cincinnati Marriott North at Union Centre.
Most families attending the conference were from the Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky/Michigan area, making this a truly regional event. About 50% of the participants were brand new to CWD conferences, and a handful were newly-diagnosed. Everyone was delighted to learn that, at CWD, learning is a family affair. The conference schedule featured programs all day Saturday and Sunday for parents, grandparents, adults with type 1, and children of all ages. Sessions were interspersed with beverage and snack breaks and meals -- perfect opportunities to discuss information that had just been presented, and also great opportunities to ask questions of the conference faculty.
Friday evening kicked off at 7:00 p.m. with Registration and a Reception for all of the participants and sponsors. This featured some yummy hors d'eouvres and a first opportunity to visit with the sponsors and exhibitors to learn about new products and programs available to families with type 1 diabetes. Thank you to Julia Mattingly, Outi Cornette, Adrianne Cornette, Lauren Lanning, and Brenda Hitchcock for offering such a warm welcome at Registration. And another huge thank you to the conference sponsors: Animas Corporation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, OneTouch®, Novo Nordisk, Roche Insulin Delivery Systems, and Sanofi-Aventis. CWD sponsors are conference partners in every sense of the word -- they help bring the best information to CWD events, and they spend the entire weekend with us, available for questions and discussions with adults and children alike. Additional exhibitors joined our conference for the weekend, including MyConnectCare, Pump Pockets, University of Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and TrialNet.
Saturday morning, Dr. Michael Heile presented the opening keynote, "Emerging Pumps and CGMs and How to Use them." Dr. Heile, a nationally-recognized speaker, has type 1 diabetes and spoke from both personal experience and professional expertise in presenting the keynote and his following session, "Introduction to Insulin Pumps."
Following a coffee break, CWD President and Founder Jeff Hitchcock shared with conference participants "Care Suggestions According to CWD." These are common-sense and practical, and supported by the very best research. Included in the care suggestions: test blood glucose frequently; explore the insulin pump and continuous sensor options; and use the best insulins available. Jeff also had his 'CWD Dad' hat on, and he answered questions from the audience about his own family's challenges in dealing with type 1 diabetes. Jeff concluded his session by sharing that his daughter Marissa graduated from nursing school, achieved her RN, began working as an RN -- and recently became engaged! Our kids and our families truly can embrace the challenges of type 1 diabetes and use those challenges to become the very best at whatever they set their minds and goals to achieve.
After a delicious deli lunch complete with portion sizes and carb counts marked on every item on the buffet table, all of the adult participants attended breakout sessions. Gary Scheiner presented two sessions, "Sports, Exercise, and BG Control" and "Using Advanced Pumping Concepts." Gary, who is a CDE, athlete, and person with type 1 diabetes, is known at CWD for his very understandable and applicable presentations. These two sessions were no exception, and Gary had a queue of parents with follow-up questions much of the afternoon and weekend. Gary suggested that adults and families who are interested in interacting more with athletes with type 1 (in terms of having good role models and access to newsletters and conferences) might want to read more about the Diabetes, Exercise, and Sports Association (DESA).
Psychologist Korey Hood, in his session "Dealing with Diabetes Burnout," addressed many of the feelings of being overwhelmed, exhausted and 'tired of dealing with it all' that families and individuals with type 1 experience. Korey has had type 1 for many years and addressed these feelings from both a personal and professional perspective.
Saturday evening -- the CWD Dinner Dance! Kids, parents, and sponsors alike enjoyed a fabulous dinner (antipasti, chicken cacciatore, salmon, penne, pizza -- yum!), and then took to the dance floor. Many thanks to DJ Sam Billetdeaux for spinning the tunes for Saturday night's event, to Harold Sanco for getting everyone moving on the dance floor, and to the teens, tweens, and younger kids for lots of great energy and fun throughout the evening! The teens closed out the evening dancing on the stage to Journey's "Don't Stop Believing!"
Also on Saturday evening, Natalie Bellini and Marissa Hitchcock led an excellent discussion for parents of teenagers. There was great participation which included very candid and sometimes emotional conversation ... very much appreciated by the parents who engaged.
Sunday morning ... 7:45 a.m. breakfast seemed early after the evening's festivities, but lots of great coffee and a very healthy breakfast got the morning started on the right foot! Saturday morning breakout sessions began with Crystal Jackson's "Managing Technology in School" and Gary Scheiner's "Making Sense of Sensor Data." To those parents struggling with the day to day management of type 1 within their child's classroom, Crystal's information and recommendations are invaluable. Those either contemplating or currently using continuous sensor technology found Gary's session full of valuable 'how-to's' and things to fine tune and consider.
After the morning coffee break, Natalie Bellini led a discussion about "Choosing the Right Infusion Set." Natalie is known at CWD conferences for her no-nonsense (and sometimes very funny) presentation style, and she discussed the pros and cons of all of the infusion sets and sensors currently on the market. She also demonstrated how each infusion set and sensor works and looks when applied. Most importantly, Natalie stressed the importance of site rotation. This doesn't mean side to side, using the same two spots over and over. It means moving the set to at least several dozen different places on a person's body. Natalie later in the afternoon led a discussion about "Sick Day Management" and encouraged the session's participants to share their challenges and experiences with sick days for some on the spot problem-solving.
Other sessions on Sunday included a discussion of "Carb-Counting Using Pump Features" with CWD's Mike Schurig. Mike, who helps run the CWD conferences, knows the ins and outs of all of the carb-counting programs and does a great job at helping parents and kids understand them. Korey Hood led a discussion about the importance of strong communication within a family when managing diabetes (and life). Sunday afternoon included other discussion groups as well. The moms discussion group, led by Lauren Lanning and Brenda Hitchcock, covered a range of topics (technology, sick days, insurance, schools) and very positive and supportive conversation. The dads group, led by John Henry and Ed Mattingly, covered a lot of territory. Many of the dads expressed that they had learned more in the two days of the conference than in the two years prior, and that they felt empowered to be more proactive with their child's daily diabetes management. They particularly emphasized that they were going home with new strategies for managing high blood sugars during sick days. Both groups reported that -- as always with these discussions - there wasn't enough time for everyone to share their ideas, but it was great way to put closure on the conference!
CWD kids always have their own special programming at our conferences ... and Cincinnati Focus on Technology was no exception! The children grouped with others of the same age: Elementary for the 6-9 year olds, Tweens for the 10-12 year olds, and Teens for the 13-17 year olds. The 'younger than 6' crowd enjoyed two very fun days in childcare as well.
Under the leadership and guidance of leaders Lauren Lanning, Sunshine Abel, Marwa Odeh, Brandy Schmidt, Sam Billetdeaux, and Wendy Smits, the elementary kids had a fabulous time with activities such as a Scavenger Hunt, Harold Time (fun exercise and games with Fitness Instructor Harold Sanco -- all the way from Washington, D.C.!), swimming in the really cool hotel pool, and spending time with their very favorite role models: the CWD teenagers!
The tween program, led by Justin Abel, Carolyn Billetdeaux, and Adam Town, was equally as fun and adventurous. The tweens had exercise time with Harold, chat time with Dr. Korey and Natalie, and swim time in the very cool hotel pool! Andrea Hulke from JDRF led a session with the tweens about type 1 research -- there were some excellent questions and very thoughtful discussion. The tween group also had a fun and creative session called Carb Cars and Creatures. They ended the program in a session with the teens on "Mall Food: What's In This Stuff?" (very functional and funny -- led by teen coordinator Natalie Bellini).
The teen program, led by Marissa Hitchcock, Jim Vail, Chris Tull, and Natalie Bellini was a great mix of discussion, presentation, and exploration ... leading to a weekend of fun and learning! The teens explored new technology (thank you to Jeff Hitchcock and Jim Vail for leading the discussion), and spent time discussing exercise and sports with Fitness Instructor Harold Sanco. On Sunday, the teens also spent a 'mentoring' time with the elementary group -- making friends, sharing, and then playing "Giants, Elves, and Wizards" together. The teen group also spent time with the tweens on Sunday afternoon. These mentoring relationships between the different age groups are so important -- many thanks to the teen, tween, and elementary staff for working so hard to foster these interactions.
Last but not least, the "Under 6" group had a weekend of great fun with leaders Mary Babin, Lisa Pitt, and Brandy Schmidt. The children joined in some of the Harold Exercise Fun, they built a fort, watched movies, had an Easter egg hunt, and had some creative crafts time.
CWD dietitian Mike Schurig once again spent months pulling together some great, healthy menus (and portion sizes and carb counts) for all of our meals. He created a delicious gluten free buffet at each meal for those who needed them. It always amazes the hotel management and dietary staff that we spend so much time and effort on this particular facet of our conferences ... but it is probably the most important thing that makes families feel safe about spending the weekend at a CWD event. So, kudos to Mike for another job well done, and many thanks to the Chef at the Cincinnati Marriott North for working so diligently with us on this! Additional thanks to Jeff Schmidt and Mike Bassett, CWD staff assigned to help with everything and anything ... they did, and it made the entire weekend flow ever so smoothly!
CWD would not be able to hold conferences at all if not for the continued and consistent generosity of our sponsors. Many thanks once again to our sponsors including Animas Corporation, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, OneTouch®, Novo Nordisk, Roche Insulin Delivery Systems, and Sanofi-Aventis; and additional thanks to the folks at Dex4 for supplying all of the glucose products to head off low blood sugars. The generosity of these companies in supporting CWD events and families, as well as their passion for helping our kids and everyone with diabetes to lead a full and healthy life, is extraordinary.
Finally, a big hug to the many people who helped out with this conference. You know who you are. We couldn't do this without you, and you have our most sincere thanks.
Ethan and Sierra give CWD a big thumbs up
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CWD families had a chance to learn about the latest diabetes care technology from our sponsors
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Allison checked her pump
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Andrea Hulke from JDRF shared research updates with CWD teens and tweens
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Kids danced to "YMCA" during Saturday evening's festivities
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The teens learned a lot about what's in "mall food"
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Tween leader Adam helps during a low
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CWD's Cincinnati 2011: Focus on Technology Conference was Sponsored By:
Last Updated: Wednesday November 30, 2011 11:01:36
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