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Children with Diabetes®
Friends for Life®
Seattle 2019
March 29-31, 2019
Renaissance Seattle Hotel
Seattle, WA
Children with Diabetes presents
Friends for Life® Seattle 2019

Join our group of world-renowned clinicians, researchers, physicians, adults, children, and families with diabetes to learn the most current information in diabetes care and support. Attend educational sessions and get cutting-edge diabetes management ideas. Participate in discussion groups, share your story, and help motivate and support others who walk in similar shoes. Watch toddlers and teens, college students and professionals, young parents and grandparents, new and practiced diabetes clinicians make new and lifelong friendships. This is a conference you'll never forget!

Join Us

We're excited to have you!

Speakers at a Glance

Meet our world-renowned clinicians, researchers, physicians and community members.

Conference at a Glance

Learn more about our educational sessions, including cutting-edge care, management ideas, and community support.

Photo Gallery

Catch a glimpse of past conferences



Registering for the Conference

Every conference participant needs to register for the conference

Pricing information is online on our Registration Page. Note that pricing information is on a per person basis.
Registering for the conference is a separate process from making hotel reservations – please make sure that you do both. *
*Registering for the hotel only registers you for a hotel room and registering for the conference only registers you for the conference itself.


Registration includes:

All sessions for adults and children ages 6-17, childcare for children ages 5 and under
Friday evening reception
Saturday breakfast, lunch, and morning/afternoon beverage and snack breaks
Sunday breakfast, lunch, and morning/afternoon beverage and snack breaks
One t-shirt per person registered


Cancellation Policy: Cancellations prior to March 1, 2019 will be refunded minus a $25 per person processing fee. After March 1, 2019, no refunds are available.

The weekend program is designed to offer a variety of educational sessions all day Saturday and Sunday. Following sessions, late afternoon and into the evening, there will be free time. During some sessions, there will be a choice of speakers. The program will end late afternoon on Sunday.


Conference Venue

The Renaissance Seattle Hotel is now accepting reservations for Friends for Life Seattle 2019. Rooms are $159/night + tax. You may reserve a room by calling 800-468-3571 or 206-583-0300, or by using Marriott's online reservation system.

Please make sure to state that you are with the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Seattle 2019 conference. Subject to availability of group rate rooms, you may reserve guest rooms at these rates for three days prior to and following the conference. Check-in is 3:00 p.m. and check-out is 11:00 a.m.

Note that there is a conference registration fee per family and that reserving a room does not register you for the conference. Rates vary according to the date of registration. Please refer to the Registration Page for details.

Cut off for hotel reservations within the CWD group is March 1, 2019.

Cancellation policy:
Cancellations prior to March 1, 2019 will be refunded minus a $25 per person processing fee. Beginning March 1, 2019, no refunds are available.

Exhibits & Screenings at Friends for Life®

Friends for Life® Conferences offer valuable opportunities to try products and participate in research screenings.


Should I Attend?

CWD has invited some of the top experts in the diabetes industry to share their ideas with you. In addition to the scheduled presentations, the conference faculty will be available during meals and breaks for more personalized discussion. Our faculty are very approachable - don't be shy about asking questions! This is a time to discuss anything on your mind relating to diabetes management. It's a great opportunity to network, share ideas, and interact with CWD's most wonderful and caring professionals!


"At FFL, we’re talking about what our lives are like outside of diabetes, about the life we build that includes diabetes, not built around diabetes."

Kerri Sparling
PWD since 1986

"Thank you Jeff Hitchcock and Laura Billetdeaux for helping me to recharge. This weekend. These Friends for Life. This is what diabetes is all about."

Leigh Fickling

"Other entities may certainly offer some of that in the guise of events and camps, but when it comes to the entire family unit, few do it as well and as completely as Children with Diabetes and their Friends for Life conference."

Tom Karlya
Why Friends for Life matters ...

"How can you not feel good about managing diabetes when you’re in that environment, soaking in the newest research, getting the chance to see cutting-edge technology up close, and connecting with new friends and old who just get it?"


Is this just for children and their families?

Friends for Life® began when Laura Billetdeaux asked CWD families if they wanted to vacation together. That annual gathering turned into the conference it is today, and includes T1 adults, grandparents teens, tweens and toddlers, and siblings.

But Friends for Life is not just for children. Friends for Life brings together all kinds of people impacted by diabetes, providing support and education for children, adults, caregivers, spouses, and friends. There's no limit to our community, or the inspiration you'll find there.

Thinking about attending? There's something for everyone, from the newly diagnosed family to the folks who have been living with diabetes for decades.


Families & Individuals

with type 1 diabetes including toddlers, tweens, teens, and young adults, including siblings


Adult T1s

and their significant others, children, and friends


Grandparents and Other Caregivers

who are supporting their family members with type 1 diabetes

FFL Orlando 2018 sisters


who, even though they don't have diabetes, they still live with diabetes


Health Care Professionals

who work with type 1 diabetes (CEUs are not offered)

I'm a T1 and a Friend for Life

" Sometimes, when days are kind of rough, I’ll put on a green bracelet to remind myself that I am not alone. "


Conference Schedule at a Glance

Day 1

FRIDAY, MARCH 29 - 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Registration and Reception / Exhibits Open
Registration Opens at 6:00 — Exhibits and Food Open at 7:00

Day 2

SATURDAY, MARCH 30 - 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Buffet breakfast, numerous presentations, buffet lunch & refreshment breaks throughout the day. Youth events all day. Dinner on your own. 

Day 3

SUNDAY, MARCH 31 - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Buffet breakfast, numerous presentations, buffet lunch & refreshment breaks throughout the day. Youth events all day. 


Faculty, Experts & Youth Staff

CWD has invited some of the top experts in the diabetes community to share their experience and wisdom with you. In addition to the scheduled presentations, the conference faculty will be available during meals and breaks for more personalized discussion. Our faculty are very approachable - don't be shy about asking questions! This is a time to discuss anything on your mind relating to diabetes management. It's a great opportunity to network, share ideas, and interact with CWD's most wonderful and caring professionals!


Bruce Buckingham, MD, is a Professor in the Department of Pediatric Endocrinology at Stanford Medical Center and Stanford Children’s Hospital. His research focuses on continuous glucose monitoring in children and closed-loop (artificial pancreas) systems. He has been active as the principal investigator at Stanford in multiple NIH, JDRF and Helmsley sponsored research studies. He is currently doing multicenter closed-loop studies with Medtronic Diabetes, Type Zero, the University of Virginia, Insulet, Bionic Pancreas, Bigfoot Biomedical, Tandem, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Cambridge. His other interests include algorithms for detecting infusion set and sensor failures and to improve infusion set wear duration.


Cristina Cruz-Uribe is an organizer with UNITE HERE! Local 8, the food service and hospitality workers’ union in the Pacific Northwest. In her day-to-day work, Cristina recruits and trains workers to lead campaigns to achieve affordable health insurance, livable wages, safety, and respect at work. She regularly leads trainings on how to share our personal stories in a way that inspires others to act.

Cristina did not expect to become an organizer but went in this direction after her diagnosis with type 1 diabetes at the age of 25. While working as a graduate teacher in Music at Yale University, she helped lead a campaign with her co-workers to significantly improve their health insurance. Their victory included more affordable access to prescriptions for people who live with chronic conditions.

In New Haven, CT, Cristina was also a leader in city politics, managing campaigns and successfully running for office herself. She served as a Democratic Ward Chair in her neighborhood for six years.

Faculty, Young Adult Program Staff

Collector of orange and green wristbands, Leigh Fickling, MEd, MS, JD, is the Executive Director of the Disability Management System at Duke University and Health System. With over 20 years of higher education administration experience, Leigh is an expert in college and workplace accommodations for individuals with disabilities. As a former solo legal practitioner, Leigh’s law firm specialized in education law, disability law, and family law. Leigh is the mom to twins, Ava (green band) and Davis (orange band), and can most often be found in the FFL hallways shouting, “SLOW DOWN!” Leigh feels that FFL is the number one most important tool in her diabetes tool kit and can’t imagine trying to dia-beat-this without the strong support from her friends for life. FFL Conferences are the highlight of the year for the Fickling family and they can’t wait to welcome new and returning families into their circle of friends! #greenandorangeforlife


Carla Greenbaum, MD, is Director of the Diabetes Program at Benaroya Research Institute (BRI) in Seattle, a non-profit research center focused on translational and clinical studies of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and other immune-mediated diseases. She also serves as Chair of Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, an NIH-sponsored international consortium to test disease-modifying therapies in T1D. She received her medical degree at Brown University and completed her endocrinology fellowship at the University of Washington. Dr. Greenbaum is a clinical investigator who works to alter the course of T1D through understanding the causes of disease, and testing interventions to alter immune-mediated beta cell dysfunction. Her expertise includes clinical trial design and implementation as well as discovery and evaluation of biomarkers for disease course and response to therapy. Conference attendees can hear first-hand from Dr. Greenbaum how these discoveries relate to people living with T1D and how their family members have an opportunity to contribute to research dedicated to the prevention of type 1 diabetes.


Irl B. Hirsch, MD, MACP, is professor and Diabetes Treatment and Teaching Chair at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He received his medical degree from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in 1984. He completed residency training in internal medicine at the University of Miami, in Miami, Florida and Mount Sinai Hospital in Miami Beach, Florida and a research fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He has authored more than 170 papers, more than 60 editorials, three commentaries for The Journal of the American Medical Association, numerous book chapters and six books for patients and physicians. He is the past editor-in-chief of DOC News and Clinical Diabetes. Currently, he is section editor for Up-To-Date. Areas of interest include glucose variability, i.e. if fluctuations in blood glucose could have an impact on the complications of diabetes due to inflammation and reactive oxygen species which occurs both with hyperglycemic spikes and hypoglycemic troughs. He is currently researching the impact of glucose control on inpatient bone marrow transplant patients who have had no change in mortality over the last 20 years. With the T1D Exchange, he has become involved with the study of older patients with type 1 diabetes, especially with regard to issues pertaining to hypoglycemia. Over the years he has explored the various biomarkers of glucose and the various limitations of hemoglobin A1C. From both a research and teaching point of view, he has spent his career studying best strategies for the use of insulin therapy in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and recently Dr. Hirsch has become involved with artificial pancreas technology. He has an interest in the use of computers in diabetes data management, how pattern recognition can be used to improve diabetes control and how glycemic variability noted on glucose meter downloads may be an independent risk for microvascular complications. These ideas have led to the funding and completion of the trial FLAT-SUGAR (FLuctuATion reduction with inSUlin Glp-1 Added togetheR). Additional past major clinical research trials include DCCT, ACCORD, STAR-1, the JDRF Sensor Trial, SEARCH, ORIGIN, and ADAG, a variety of important observations with the T1D Exchange and many more involved with insulin therapy. Dr. Hirsch is the former chair of the Professional Practice Committee for the American Diabetes Association and served as a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine.


Korey K. Hood, PhD, is Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University where he directs NIH-funded research projects and provides clinical care aimed at promoting health and quality of life outcomes in youth with diabetes and their families. Dr. Hood actively investigates the human factors associated with the uptake of diabetes technology and works with Dr. Bruce Buckingham on his team’s artificial pancreas project. Dr. Hood also serves on national committees for the American Diabetes Association and is on editorial boards for Diabetes Care and the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Dr. Hood is the author of Type 1 Teens: A Guide to Managing Your Life with Diabetes and a recent book entitled Teens With Diabetes: A Clinician’s Guide (with authors Michael Harris, PhD and Jill Weissberg-Benchell, PhD, CDE). His research, clinical care, and service are fueled by his personal experience with type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed as a young adult and has spent more than 17 years managing type 1 diabetes. He is passionate about helping children and teens with diabetes, and their families, make diabetes a part of their lives while not letting it run their lives.

Board of Directors, DTeam, Faculty, Occasional Expert, Treasurer

George Huntley is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Theoris Group, Inc., a professional services and software company based in Indianapolis, Indiana, with offices throughout the US and Europe. He has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1983 and has been an active volunteer in the fight against diabetes since 1986. George has held many leadership roles with the American Diabetes Association including Chair of the National Board of Directors. George is a founding member and current officer of the National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council, a 501c3 organization dedicated to patient advocacy to improve the quality of life for people living with diabetes. George also serves on the board of Children with Diabetes.


Jake Johnston is the President of the Johnston Group, a federal lobbying firm based in Seattle, Washington and operating in Washington, D.C. Jake has worked as a federal lobbyist and public affairs consultant for fifteen years after working in Congress for nearly a decade. Jake is a co-founder of ConnecT1D, a nonprofit organization serving the social and emotional needs of people impacted by type 1 diabetes. ConnecT1D partners with Camp Leo to operate year-round programs for people with T1D in the Pacific Northwest, including an adult retreat in June, an annual Family Camp in October and overnight summer camps. Jake Johnston has lived with T1D for 44 years after getting diagnosed at the age of three. He’s also the father to a 13-year old daughter with T1D and thus connects to living with T1D from two distinct perspectives. He believes that having connections to other people with T1D is the reason he’s healthy and happy so many years into this adventure.


Dana Lewis was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002 as a freshman in high school and is now most known for building her own DIY “artificial pancreas” (automated insulin delivery system, or hybrid closed loop) and founding the open source artificial pancreas movement. She is working with the OpenAPS community to make safe and effective artificial pancreas technology available (sooner) for people with diabetes around the world. She is now a Principal Investigator (PI) for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded grant project to work to scale patient-led innovation and scientific discovery in more patient communities. Dana is also the author of an illustrated children’s book, Carolyn’s Robot Relative, to help explain diabetes devices to kids like her nieces and nephews.


Howard Look is founder, President and CEO of Tidepool, an open source, not-for-profit effort to make diabetes data more accessible, actionable, and meaningful by liberating data from diabetes devices, supporting researchers, and providing great, free software to the diabetes community. Tidepool is also developing Tidepool Loop, a hybrid closed loop system for iPhone. Previously, Howard was on the founder’s team at TiVo where he was VP of Software and User Experience. He was also VP of Software at Pixar, where he led the team developing Pixar’s proprietary film-making system, and at Amazon’s consumer electronics subsidiary, Lab126. Howard received his BS in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Howard’s daughter was diagnosed with T1D at age 11.


Diana M. Naranjo, PhD, is a Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. As a trained pediatric and adult psychologist working in behavioral medicine, Dr. Naranjo focuses on the psychosocial needs of patients and families with diabetes. Together with the team, she aims to understand barriers and facilitators to care, what developmental demands are important as adolescents transition to adulthood, and how to best provide services that engage young adults and their families. Furthermore, as a Latino-American and fluent in Spanish, much of her clinical work focuses on bridging the health-care gap for underserved ethnic minority patients with type 1 diabetes.

Board of Directors, Faculty

R. Stewart Perry grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. Since 1983 he has been the co-owner of Perry & Perry State Farm Insurance, one of the largest State Farm Insurance agencies in the state of Kentucky and is a Diabetes Consultant and Advocate. Stewart’s family has been dramatically affected by diabetes. His son has type 1 diabetes, both parents, and sister have all had diabetes during their lifetime. He has lost an uncle, grandfather and great grandmother to complications of diabetes. Stewart was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1990. Since that time, he has been actively involved in the American Diabetes Association. Stewart was the Chairman of the National Board of Directors and Chair of the National Advocacy Committee for five years, He was Chair Bluegrass Chapter for a number of years and helped organize many of the fundraising events still in existence. He served as the Kentucky Affiliate Board of Vice-Chair and was Chair-Elect when it became a part of the Southern Region where he served as the Chair of the Southern Region. He also is a former member of the National Board of Directors. He is the State of Kentucky State Advocacy Chair for ADA. Stewart is a member of the Kentucky Diabetes Network and a founding member of the Fayette County Diabetes Collation. Stewart was appointed by two different Governors of Kentucky to the GET FIT KY Board and The Diabetes Research Trust Fund Board where he currently still serves. Stewart is one of the founders of the National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council and currently serves as an officer of that organization where he has been instrumental in passing Diabetes Action Plan legislation in 18 states over the past four years. Stewart serves on the board of Children with Diabetes.

Faculty, Occasional Expert

Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, is owner and Clinical Director of Integrated Diabetes Services, a practice located just outside of Philadelphia specializing in intensive insulin therapy and advanced education for children and adults. He and his staff provide consultations throughout the world via phone and the internet. Gary is a Masters-level exercise physiologist. He has been a Certified Diabetes Educator for 19 years, and served as the 2014 Diabetes Educator of the Year. He has had type 1 diabetes for 30 years and makes personal use of insulin pump therapy and CGM. Gary has written dozens of articles for diabetes trade publications and six books, including the popular Think Like A Pancreas – A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes With Insulin. He lectures nationally and internationally for people with diabetes as well as professionals in the healthcare industry. In addition to serving on the faculty of Children With Diabetes and the Board of Directors for JDRF, Gary volunteers for the American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Sisters, and Setebaid Diabetes Camps. Gary has been happily married for 25 years and has four wonderful kids. A fitness fanatic, he enjoys playing basketball, running, cycling and cheering on his Philadelphia sports teams.


Marissa Town, BSN, RN, CDE, graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and later earned her Certified Diabetes Educator credential. She has had type 1 diabetes since the age of two and has grown up with a passion for helping families living with diabetes. Marissa is currently working as a research nurse at Stanford University. She has always enjoyed working with families with diabetes at Children with Diabetes conferences, camps, and support groups. She and her husband Adam have two young children, Connor and Everly.

 Denotes faculty or staff with diabetes

Highlights from Past FFL Conferences