Reflecting on 2020

As we prepare to leave 2020 in the dust, the CWD Board and Staff reflected on the past year, taking note of what we’ve gone through as a family and what we’ve learned.

“The year 2020 was indeed a time that tried our souls. We watched as travel ended, doors closed, quarantines enacted, all to save us from the merest of foes, a virus. No strangers to adversity, the CWD community found new ways to remain connected, to keep in touch, to offer a virtual shoulder of support. Our volunteers rallied, adapting to the new virtual world and brought the joy of Friends for Life to more people than ever before—and from more countries than ever before. We saw in so many ways the magic of FFL transcend the smallness of our screens to embrace the fullness of our shared experience. In the end, we proved we were better together—our diabetes family, our Friends for Life.” – Jeff Hitchcock

“CWD’s role was more important than ever in 2020. A person living with diabetes needs the support of family and their friends for life to cope with the technical and emotional challenges of this disease. The isolation caused by the pandemic increased the stress and challenges and made the FFL community all the more essential. It was exciting to see our reach grow exponentially as we shifted to a virtual platform. I am really proud of CWD’s leadership in creating a robust virtual experience and how we shared those best practices with so many other nonprofit organizations who faced similar challenges. Hoping to build on the virtual reach while we reopen in future years when it’s safe.” – George Huntley, CWD Board Member

“It has been incredible to watch the CWD team come together in a year of new challenges and deliver quality programming to people with diabetes and their loved ones. In a way, it was CWD getting back to what it originally started as, an online resource and support network. CWD was a social network before social media existed, and has remained a source of accurate, non-biased diabetes information for people with diabetes. Now people who cannot attend in person events have access to the important updates and the connection to others all from wherever they are in the world. 2020 has been a year none of us expected, and CWD has done an excellent job rising to the occasion and fulfilling its goal of helping people with diabetes through education and support.” – Marissa Town, BSN, CDCES, CWD Clinical Director

“A pandemic couldn’t stop us. It simply forced us to be creative in finding ways to connect with our FFLs. The people we love around the world. Zoom – as tiresome as it became by the end of the year – was often a lifeline to friends. And to information. What was most amazing to me was the way our community and our sponsors rallied to still be a community – a STRONG community! And I am so thrilled at the energy and excitement from all sides as we begin to plan for Friends for Life Orlando 2021!” – Laura Billetdeaux

“2020 is perspective will go down as a year where we as an organization did everything within our power to make sure that people with diabetes got the information and support they need. Delivering our programing and networking for families took dedication and perseverance by the staff and volunteers never experienced before. I am proud to be associated with CWD and proud of the job we have done and continue to do to support children and adults with type 1 and their families. CWD continues to be a leader in service to type 1!”  – Stewart Perry

“It has often been said that necessity is the mother (parent) of invention; and 2020 for CWD is no different. Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic and our concern for the health and safety of our children and their families, we quickly pivoted from our annual, flagship Friends for Life event in Orlando, FL, in July, to an extremely successful, highly acclaimed, virtual FFL, without missing a beat! Congratulations to everyone who helped make this (and subsequent) events a success: Board, staff, volunteers, families, friends, attendees, and sponsors. We look forward to bringing you FFL again in 2021, whether as a face-to-face, a virtual, or a hybrid combination of the two, depending on how safe it is for those we serve. Thank you for your continuing support, as we provide CARE, while awaiting the CURE for Type 1 diabetes.” – Ken Moritsugu, MD, MPH, FACPM, Rear Admiral, USPHS (Retired), Chairman of the Board of Children with Diabetes

“Well 2020 has been a year we will long remember. Yet out of adversity often comes strength. Children with Diabetes has shown strength in the way it not only pivoted but grew in CONNECTIONS worldwide that are so important to our families . Our families CONNECTED in ways we could not have foreseen. Do we wish we were together in Florida this past summer? You bet! But CWD under the leadership of Jeff Hitchcock and his remarkable team made a virtual conference meaningful and by so many accounts FUN! We all look forward to a wonderful 2021 but are thankful for what 2020 taught us, what really is important in many ways.”  – Joan Bardsley, MBA, RN, CDE, FAADE, CWD Board Member

“What. A. Year. 2020 was definitely not what we expected or what we had planned. But in some ways it was just as good, if not better. With a quick pivot at the beginning of the year to turn all of our in-person events into virtual experiences, our team came together to brainstorm. Friends for Life is truly a life-changing experience, but how would that translate online? Jeff led the virtual platform design, Laura took on the task of making sure we had the personal touches that FFL is known for. The team took on new roles, Faculty stepped up to lead their sessions virtually, volunteers stepped up to new challenges. And people came from all across the globe … to connect, to learn, to form new relationships with people who truly understand living with T1D. Our community is strong and whatever 2021 brings us, we will make the best of it because that’s just what we do.” – Beth Levering, Project Manager and Administrative Assistant for CWD

“‘Weird times’ is an attempt to sum up 2020, but it barely scratches the surface. For our CWD family, this year has been an exercise in testing our blood sugar and our mettle, leaning on our diabetes community for support in truly, deeply challenging times. It has not been easy, but it has shown me that when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds, people with diabetes continue to show up, rise up, and make a difference. We can weather tough times and get it done if we do it together.” – Kerri Sparling, CWD Editorial Director

“2020 was full of realizations.. some bad and some good. One of the biggest realizations I had was how much the CWD and Friends for Life community means to me – I knew I cared for these people but I didn’t realize how much until I found out I wouldn’t see them in July. Another realization I had was how much a quick note or message can mean to people. During July’s virtual Friends for Life Orlando, I received so many “I miss you,”and “How’s life?” messages. Those messages truly meant so much. I want to make sure that I keep up the habit of checking in on my friends and colleagues regularly, even when we’re all back together again. My last realization was about the generosity of the CWD community. Generosity, not just in financial support but in the willingness to share their time and talents with us. I was really blown away by the participation in our first ever Fall into Friends for Life Campaign. Our community truly came together to fundraise for the future of FFL. It made me smile.” – Matt Point, CWD Development Manager

From our team to yours, we wish you all a safe, healthy, and happy 2021. 

Published: December 28, 2020
CWD 2017 Smiley For Faculty

The CWD Editorial team is dedicated to bringing you science-based, informative articles about life with diabetes.  If you have an idea for an article you’d like to see us write, email us through [email protected].