Report from Friends for Life Indianapolis 2022
Friends for Life was back – live and in person!
Despite Omicron and the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in late winter, we determined that we could safely hold a small conference and observe CDC guidelines to keep everyone healthy.
Friends for Life Indianapolis was held April 1-3 at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Union Station venue. Our attendees – largely adults with type 1 along with a smaller youth program – came from as far away as California and as close by as… well, a few blocks away! All were very glad – and emotional - to be back face to face, enjoying sessions, new information, new friendships, and of course spectacular carb-counted meals!
We had a great mix of new speakers and long-time Fiffle speakers over the weekend who helped give practical information to make diabetes management less of a burden. The opening session was led by CWD’s president and founder, Jeff Hitchcock, who talked about the origin of CWD, the parent organization that holds Friends for Life conferences. It was a great way to kick off the conference – and prepare everyone for the many emotional conversations to be had throughout the weekend.
Pharmacist Dr. Jasmine Gonzalvo gave insight into the many factors behind getting diabetes devices and supplies to help people navigate the U.S. healthcare system. Cycle Bar instructor and PWD Samantha Redden discussed how to exercise safely with T1D. Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Kajal Gandhi presented two sessions about continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) – tips for using them and how to interpret the CGM Data. Diabetes Psychologist Dr. Laura Smith focused on diabetes burnout and how to cope when you feel like you just can’t anymore.
Other topics included diabetes technologies by Dr. Linda DiMeglio, sick days by Dr. Nadine Haddad, accommodations in college and work by experts Leigh Fickling and Matt Point, and affordable access to insulin by diabetes advocacy experts George Huntley and Stewart Perry. We also had a session about finding your diabetes support network in which Leigh Fickling, mom of T1D, and Cherise Shockley, adult with T1D discussed how to find a good support network from their perspectives. Dr. Laura Smith closed the conference with an inspiring talk about self-compassion as it related to diabetes, and she encouraged all in attendance to remember that diabetes is hard and to go easy on ourselves as often as we can.
FFL Indianapolis was a small but mighty conference that left everyone feeling recharged and excited for FFL Orlando!
Thank You to Our Sponsors
We absolutely could not do Friends for Life 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, each year – 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.