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Report from Friends for Life Falls Church 2024

The Children with Diabetes team just wrapped up our Friends for Life 2024 Spring Conference in Falls Church, Virginia. We spent a weekend donning our orange and green wristbands and getting to know over 200 attendees.  Let’s grab our American flags and a cool beverage and pretend that we are back in the DC area as we recap this fun event!

Friends for Life regional conferences are small, intimate events where families and individuals with type 1 diabetes gather together over a weekend to make memories and live their best lives surrounded by people who “just get it.” FFL Falls Church was truly one for the memory books from the moment that registration opened until the last boxes were packed and loaded on the moving van to head back to CWD storage units in Orlando. This season’s regional event was held at the newly renovated Falls Church Marriott in the spacious convention space. Youth participants had breakout rooms on the lower level of the convention space, while adult participants attended sessions on the main floor.  Like all other Friends for Life conferences, our youth Fiffles attended age-appropriate sessions that were carefully curated using best practices from the American Diabetes Association and ISPAD guidelines. Adult participants had several options during each time block of the conference day to attend sessions and to hear from our world-renowned faculty on the newest diabetes advances and how to approach diabetes with hope and resilience. Our opening keynote address featured our Friend for Life Will Cross who shared his story of conquering Mount Everest and unearthing insights into diabetes. The closing keynote address brought the room to tears as FFL Volunteer Lauren Salko shared her story of finding peak performance as a professional skier with type 1 diabetes.

Meals at the conference were carb-counted and served buffet-style to guests. Some of our happiest memories come from sharing a meal or a snack break with different people at each meal rather than sitting with our best friends.  In true FFL-style, young Fiffles had the tale-tell signs of a meal break as they wore their sugar-free fruit punch mustaches back to their afternoon sessions. Gluten-free buffets were carefully monitored to avoid cross-contamination and to allow our “yellow bands” to eat safely during the entire weekend.

In between conference sessions, attendees visited with our sponsors and exhibitors in the Exhibit Area. The room was packed with people mixing and mingling and learning more about diabetes devices, advocacy, and clinical trials. Kids ran through the room with newly obtained “swag” and then met in the hallway to compare their Exhibit Area hauls.

My favorite conference moments happened on Saturday evening at our Fiffle Social. While noshing on amazing appetizers and desserts, attendees played board games, made friendship bracelets, and participated in karaoke.  I am still smiling today thinking about how so many Fiffles jumped up on the stage and sang their hearts out in front of a crowd full of their new diabetes family. The crowd sang and danced and filled their hearts, and their camera rolls, full of photos and videos. This event was truly one of my favorite Friends for Life memories!

The CWD team would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to our volunteers who helped to make this weekend possible. We are so appreciative of the support of our sponsors and exhibitors who continue to believe in the mission of Children with Diabetes and who know how important it is to have this time and this space to gather together. Finally, we are so thankful to our attendees who chose to spend the weekend with us in Falls Church.  You’ve helped to refill our diabetes fuel tanks and we can’t wait to see you in Orlando in just a few months.  Until then, I’ll be practicing my next karaoke song and looking back through my camera roll as I deal with all of the highs and lows that diabetes will surely bring over the next few months.

Until there’s a cure, there’s Friends for Life.

Green and Orange Forever,



Thank You to Our Sponsors

We could not hold a Friends for Life conference without our incredibly generous sponsors and donors. Thank you so much for your support and for making it possible for us to come together, in person – we could not do it without you. Our sponsors are responsible for many of the incredibly fun and educational events that happened throughout Friends for Life.