Report from Friends for Life Orlando 2018
July 7, 2018. Saturday afternoon, pre-FFL. Back at Disney to begin setting up the ‘bones’ of the conference. Boxes, checklists, room reports. Eager faces peeking into the doorway asking, "Can I get my green wristband now?"
July 8, 2018. Sunday morning – early. Dr. Ben and Jim Stroud greet the Retinal Team and begin to set up their equipment and processes in preparation for all-week retinal screenings. Throughout the day, Monday’s volunteers arrive, as do many of the sponsors and exhibitors.
July 9, 2018, 7:30 a.m. Pepper Market. Breakfast for move-in day. Forty volunteers, excited to get the conference up and running. Rich and Carolyn Meredith coordinate move-in efforts, with Rich driving the U-Haul truck back and forth to our storage units, and Carolyn directing the hundreds of boxes where they belong for the week. With Julia Mattingly at the helm of the Registration Team, Liz and Jimmy Dodson at the helm of the Sports Central Team, and Donna Cope and Chris Tull at the helm of the FFL Support Team, we’re feeling ready for the 2,000 people who are about to join us from all over the world.
11:00 a.m. Monday. Pre-con time. This is our opportunity to meet with the 25 department leaders of the hotel, and review the BEOs. Banquet Event Orders ... 300 pages of them. If it’s not on the BEOs, it doesn’t happen at the conference. Every detail needs to be spelled out. This process is dry-dry-dry, but so very important. We all sit down and introduce ourselves. Page 1.
But wait! There’s a commotion at the door! In a flurry of pink, in rushes CWD’s Fairy Godmother! She introduces herself - Ivana Dream - and says she’s here to congratulate Jeff, Laura, and CWD on our 10 year Anniversary at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Ten years? Really? We look at each other and count the years on our fingers. 2001, 2003, 2005, ... 2018 – yep, 10 years! We hadn’t even realized this.
In rolls champagne and a Happy 10 Year cake, and a toast is made to Friends for Life. “May we keep bringing our families together at Disney until we’re all wearing orange bracelets.”
Welcome to Friends for Life. Where magic happens.
Our most sincere thanks to the sponsors who supported this conference and who each year allow us to make FFL bigger and better: Lilly Diabetes, Novo Nordisk, Dexcom, Inc., Insulet Corporation, Tandem Diabetes Care, Abbott Diabetes Care, Ascensia Diabetes Care, Roche Diabetes Care, Medtronic, the Gregg Family Foundation, the James B. and Lois R. Archer Charitable Foundation, Sanofi, Beta Bionics, ADA, Bigfoot Medical, Capillary Biomedical, Diabetes Action Research and Education Foundation, the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation, JDRF, and KNOW Foods. On behalf of the thousands of people you touched at Friends for Life 2018, we are so grateful for your friendship and support.
Read more about Friends for Life Orlando using the links below.