Looking Back at 2019 and Forward to 2020!

This year has been an incredible one for the Children with Diabetes family, from hosting conferences around the United States and connecting in-person with thousands in our CWD community, to relaunching our website, social media platforms, and turning a sharp focus to the future of CWD. We couldn’t be prouder of the past 12 months!

Our Board of Directors and our staff weighed in with their 2019 highlights and what they’re most looking forward to in 2020:

“I think that my stand-out moment this year is one that I’ve had for the last 19 years. It is spending time with ‘first time families’ who experienced the magic of Friends for Life. I heard over and over how the experience of being with other families gave them hope going forward. They felt that they now had the tools to go home and advocate for their children.  That, to me, is the essence of CWD.”  – Audrey Greenfield

“The stand-out moment for me was joining the board – duh! In 2020, I look forward to bringing insights from volunteers and attendees to help ensure the conference continues to thrive!”  – Kenny Rodenheiser


“The stand-out moment for me was watching the celebration of our 20th FFL in Orlando and seeing all of the people positively impacted by the amazing programs we deliver. And in 2020, I’m looking forward to seeing us grow in our capability with additional resources on board and expanding CWD’s presence in the broader diabetes community.”  – George Huntley

“The thousands of smiling faces dancing at the 20th Anniversary Family and Friends Banquet, showing the joy that Friends for Life brings to our families.  In 2020, I look forward to reaching more families at our smaller Friends for Life Indianapolis and Friends for Life Falls Church conferences.”  – Jeff Hitchcock


“By far, my favorite moment in 2019 was standing on the stage at the Friends for Life 20th Anniversary Ball, looking out over that incredible sea of faces, and thinking how much love was in the room at that very moment. It was so powerful and so emotional. I hung onto the podium for a minute before I could speak. Personally, I’m looking forward to a fresh year of conferences. I’m always excited to get the new year started; a fresh page. I send the rooming list to Disney each January with a “Yay! Here we go!” mentality. And I am SO excited about bringing FFL to Indianapolis in March. What a cool city! I’m also looking forward to CWD developing new relationships with other organizations – we accomplish so much more when we pool our talents together. Our Board is great at identifying and connecting with like-minded organizations. And finally, I’m looking forward to growing the FFL team. Those hundreds of folks who offer their time and talents to CWD are invaluable. They make FFL what it is. There will be a lot of new faces this summer, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know each one of them!”  – Laura Billetdeaux

“We had a record-setting Friends for Life Orlando conference in terms of attendance, with the number of T1D adults out-numbering the kids in attendance. We also reached many military families at our Falls Church FFL. For 2020, I’m looking forward to the new Indianapolis location for another FFL and also discovering new friends (for life) through the conferences.” – Beth Levering

“My stand-out moment for 2019 was watching the organization take huge steps forward in terms of our digital footprint. The relaunch of our website was a huge undertaking and we’re really proud of the content we’re showcasing and the support we’re bringing to people around the globe. For 2020, I want to see our reach expand, and I hope to see the diabetes community continue to support our mission.”  – Kerri Sparling

“I have attended a lot of conferences in my life and have to say that the Friends for Life conference far exceeded my expectations. I was blown away by the level of volunteer commitment, quality, and organization. I was also impressed by the attendees and their commitment to the organization, each other, and the sincerity of care they had for each other and their families. The organization of the learning tracks demonstrate that CWD listens to its members and delivers information tailored to their needs. You have something really special going on and that level of commitment does not come without strong servant leadership, care, sensitivity, and respect.”  – Edward Hawthorne

“The most memorable part of 2019 for Children with Diabetes to me is twofold. We were able to celebrate this organization’s 20th Friends for Life conference and for this conference we had the highest number of attendees. What I’m looking forward to in 2020 is bringing a Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conference to a new city, Indianapolis, and being able to reach a whole new group of people that we can soon call Friends for Life.”  – Melissa Geren

“I have always felt that the best possible situation is when someone underpromises and then overdelivers. I have heard such a positive buzz about CWD and FFL for many years, and frankly thought maybe it was overblown. Boy, was I amazed that the actual experience when I was a fresh new Board member and first time FFL attendee about how much bigger and better and amazing it all was! Now, as a sort-of “seasoned” Board member and FFL faculty my wish is not only meet the quality of that fantastic 2019 20th anniversary celebration of FFL but see if we can beat that in 2020, having even broader outreach and delivering even better quality educational experience. And, for CWD, to grow into a truly mature organization, focused on its mission and vision.”  – George Grunberger

“There are so many moments!! One personal one for me is when two students came up to me after the FFL gala and said they wanted to be CDEs but hadn’t thought of that before. I say the future in them. One even went to the AADE conference which she wasn’t planning on doing before FFL!”  – Joan Bardsley


“Our Board of Directors provides continuing guidance and assistance to Jeff and Laura, to ensure that Children with Diabetes will continue to be a resource to you. Every one of us on the Board is passionate about diabetes, because each of us either has diabetes, is a family member of a person with diabetes, or has been involved in diabetes for a long time. One visible evolution this past year has been our branding. What we have kept, and what we carefully nurture, is our long-standing commitment to putting people with diabetes at the center of everything we do.”  – Ken Moritsugu

We’re very excited for what we’ve accomplished in 2019 and we’re really looking forward to continuing to serve and connect with the diabetes community in 2020.  Happy new year to all!

Published: December 20, 2019
CWD 2017 Smiley Transparent

The CWD Editorial team is always hard at work to bring you the latest in diabetes research and news, as well as the info you need to live well with diabetes.

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