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Conference Report from Friends for Life Falls Church 2019

The Friends for Life conference returned to Falls Church, Virginia - a beautiful early October weekend spent with several hundred FFLs, half of whom were brand new to Friends for Life events and some of whom were also brand new to type 1 diabetes. The Fairview Park Marriott continued to be a wonderful home base for the event, with plenty of meeting space, lots of room for the kids’ activities, excellent food and beverage, and close proximity to the DC area for those who wished to add a bit of sight-seeing to their weekend agenda. The conference kicked off on Friday evening with registration and reception. This was a great opportunity to begin meeting other attendees and spend time with the exhibitors and sponsors (this was our largest group of exhibitors and sponsors for a Falls Church event!).

Saturday morning, just prior to the opening keynote, we had a wonderful surprise as Mayor David Tarter – a CWD dad himself – pronounced October 5, 2019, as “Children with Diabetes Day in Falls Church, Virginia.” The program then officially opened with inspiring author Arthur Ainsberg presenting “Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Miracle.” A full schedule of breakout presentations followed. Advocacy sessions and discussions and presentations for adults with type 1 and their significant others were featured, as were more concrete diabetes management sessions. Sunday’s closing keynote was presented by Adventurer Will Cross, asking “What’s Your Everest?”

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.

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!

To our wonderful sponsors: Dexcom, Lilly Diabetes, Insulet, Novo Nordisk, Xeris, Beta Bionics, Inc., and Tandem Diabetes Care -- 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, Kristen O’Dell, and Liz Dodson – 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 was so delicious. Well done.

FFL staff – thanks for keeping everything at registration, in the meeting rooms, in the kids’ areas, and in the IT/office running so smoothly. 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. Hope to see everyone next year, October 2-4, 2020!

And with that, the weekend in photos ...