Conference Report from Friends for Life Anaheim 2018
CWD's Friends for Life Anaheim conference returned to the Disneyland Hotel for a 5th and final year (note that next year we shift to a Seattle location). Because it was our last event at this venue for the foreseeable future, lots of families joined us last minute for both the conference and a long Disney weekend. The weather was perfectly cooperative – sunny and warm on the afternoon of May 4 as the conference got underway.
Many thanks to our wonderful presenters and discussion facilitators - your expertise is unmatched, and you have a real talent for helping families and individuals with type 1 understand the most challenging concepts. Saturday morning’s keynote speaker, Ed Damiano, opened the conference with the ‘iLet Update: The Bionic Pancreas.’ Many in the audience have followed the development of the iLet from its very early stages, and it was exciting to see its current status and plans for the near future. One of the highlights of the conference was Saturday’s advocacy track, with sessions on affordable access to insulin, non-medical switching of diabetes supplies, and an overview on ‘hot topics’ in the area of advocacy. The closing session featured a Town Hall meeting on advocacy, with Christel Marchand Aprigliano, Stewart Perry, and George Huntley facilitating.
The conference also featured sessions specifically for grandparents, “Common Fears” and “Reclaiming Sleepovers.” For adults with type 1, there were sessions focusing on legal rights, adventure travel, being a parent with type 1, and being a college-age person on your own for the first time. The Safe Zone discussion group offered an opportunity for significant others to ask questions and share experiences. FFL faculty favorites Gary Scheiner and Jamie Wood were on hand for multiple how-to sessions at both basic and advanced levels.
On Saturday evening, the PADRE Foundation sponsored a dessert reception featuring a magic show, yummy refreshments, and a wonderful evening opportunity for everyone to gather together.
To the Youth Program leaders and staff - thank you for your enthusiasm, energy, and talent. Your commitment is appreciated by all. The kids had such a great time and learned so much from you and from each other. There were many FFLs made this weekend!
To our wonderful sponsors: Lilly Diabetes, Dexcom, Inc., Insulet Corporation, Novo Nordisk, Tandem Diabetes Care, Beta Bionics, JDRF, and the PADRE Foundation — thanks for continuing to believe in CWD and for supporting our mission to reach ever more families with life-changing conferences. You make a difference.
Jo Stroud and Kristen Seiz — thanks for all of your hard work with the food and beverage, including all of the carb counts, portion sizes, and attention to food allergies. Everything went like clockwork, and the food was yummy. Well done. To the Disney Chefs – thank you for the many hours you spent on our menus with Kristen and Jo, and for being available all weekend to answer questions.
Scott Kyllo, Chad Kyllo, and Jim Stroud — Great job on ‘everything IT.’ Jimmy Fickling, thanks for heading up the FFL Support Team, and – as always – for your watchful eyes the entire weekend.
To everyone else behind the scenes - you work so tirelessly, with the goal of a seamless conference. Most people don't know how much elbow grease goes into a weekend event. And that's the beauty of it. You have our most humble thanks. Now, it's time to get started on next year – FFL Seattle 2019, which will be March 29-31, 2019, at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel!