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  Back to 2007 Conference Report Report from Friends for Life 2007

Wednesday was Focus Group Day at the conference. Thirty-four focus groups were offered by conference sponsors (an increase from 23 last year), and included topics ranging from "Transitioning to Independence" to "Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring" to "Sample the Educational Tools!" The focus groups were limited to about 30 participants per group, so they were very interactive and lively. Many thanks to the focus group leaders as well as the participants for getting an early start on the conference.

Also on Wednesday, we were very pleased to have the FDA join us for a drop-in session in the afternoon. This was an opportunity for CWD parents and kids to stop by to chat with people from the FDA, who were particularly interested in feedback about blood glucose testing and continuous sensors. They were very impressed with the enthusiasm and depth of knowledge demonstrated by both parents and children.

Exhibitors continued to set up their booths all day Wednesday, and the last few Quilt squares were added. It was quite an undertaking. The exhibit hall was a tremendously busy place, with forklifts bringing large crates to the various vendors, carpet being laid, thatched huts built, and bicycles set in place.

Throughout the day, the registration area was buzzing as well. Registration Coordinator Julia Mattingly and volunteer coordinator Mary Podjasek kept the teams of registration volunteers organized and smoothly functioning. The registration volunteers this year were a good mix of first-timers and old-timers, and they had plenty of fun working and chatting! By the end of the day, nearly all registration packets had been picked up and everyone was accounted for!

Sports Central was open all day on Wednesday, and many parents and kids took advantage of the basketball courts, volleyball courts, and wonderful DESA volunteers to get some exercise and have a fun day! The DESA volunteers included Jay Leeuwenburg, Doug Burns, Jimmy Dodson, Judith Ambrosini, Bill King, Missy Foy, and Harry Mahaffey. Their dedication and commitment to our kids' health is extraordinary. Thanks also to Sue DeVito – the Sports Central nurse! We're glad we didn't need her attention too many times! Also special thanks to Rick Philbin for coordinating Sports Central – every year, he outdoes himself, and he brings the absolute best to our families and kids. Finally, many thanks to Novo Nordisk for sponsoring Sports Central. They believe in exercise and good health – and each year they have sponsored this exercise-focused area for our conference participants.

This year, we were thrilled to have 800 First Timers with us! That is an amazing number – we have never had so many first timers at a Friends for Life event, and it was so special. The First Timers Reception kicked off at 3:00 p.m. Due to a huge tipped-over table of veggies and dip, the reception got started a few minutes late. But we made up for it in fun and getting-to-know-you ice breakers. Many thanks to Lauren Lanning for once again coordinating the activities at the reception – it looked like Mardi Gras by 4 p.m.!

By 5:00, the exhibit hall was just about ready for the Grand Opening Reception, sponsored by Roche Diagnostics. The red ribbon was hung ceremoniously across the entrance unit to the main doors… and the giant scissors were ready to go. It was crowded! There were so many people in the foyer that the buffets for the evening couldn't be set up until the doors opened! Right at 6:00, NBA star Chris Dudley welcomed conference participants and asked all the kids to come forward and join him in cutting the ribbon. And with that – the exhibit hall opened and the conference was officially underway! Many thanks to Roche Diagnostics for sponsoring Chris Dudley's participation in the conference and for sponsoring this opening reception. Chris spent a lot of time with our families and kids and he is an inspiration to all of us.

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Once again, NBA star Chris Dudley spoke to the CWD families at 6pm on Wednesday and ...
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... with the help of Ameena and Salama from the UAE cut the ribbon to open the Exhibitors' Reception
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In addition to 28 focus groups -- the most ever -- eight sessions dealing with social support were held on Wednesday, including two sessions by Paul Madden
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For the first time, representatives from the FDA attended, holding a focus group and participating in one of the regular sessions. Here, Arlene Pinkos talks with families while Jean Cooper looks on.
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The First Timers Reception was packed
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First timer Shaiban from the UAE chatted with CWD veteran Zakariyya
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At 5 minutes before 6pm, Laura Billetdeaux took the microphone in preparation for Chris Dudley's official opening
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Sarah and Hannah joined up with Hunter and Breanna as they headed toward the Exhibitors Reception
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Last Updated: Sunday November 11, 2007 10:19:44
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