Looking Back on 2023

December 27, 2023

It was quite a busy year here at CWD! We began the year with our annual staff retreat in January where our key leaders met to discuss and plan our upcoming events. The retreat also serves as a time for staff and key volunteers to bond further and discuss the trials and tribulations of living with diabetes.

In February, we attended ATTD where we were honored to present our second annual CWD President’s Award to our Friend for Life, Dr. Irl Hirsh. We were fortunate to have Dr. Hirsh be a presenter at our Friends for Life Seattle conference a few weeks later. The conference was an opportunity to meet new Friends for Life and we had an astonishing 70% First Timers.

We hosted some events at the annual ADA conference in San Diego in June, and focused our next efforts on our annual “BIG” conference, Friends for Life Orlando. With a space-related theme this year, we were excited to welcome Walgreen’s as our first “Galaxy” sponsor. With 1,800 attendees, we learned, shared stories, bonded, and began our initial thank you’s and farewells to Laura Billetdeaux who first suggested that CWD hold conferences. Laura is retiring to enjoy camping, gardening, and a new puppy!

Houston in August is hot, very hot, but we enjoyed the nice air conditioning at the convention center where ACDES held its annual conference. We hosted two sessions for attendees and attended educational sessions and social events. CWD Board of Directors member Joan Bardsley was recognized as the 2023 Allene Van Son Distinguished Service Award recipient at the conference.

In early October, at EASD in Hamburg, CWD President Jeff Hitchcock was given the #dedocº award for his efforts in helping those with diabetes. He quickly jetted off to join the rest of us at our fall Friends for Life Conference in White Plains, NY. A small group of families and friends gathered to re-bond and receive more diabetes education. Shortly afterwards, some staff members headed to the annual ISPAD conference in Rotterdam, where we toured, attended sessions, and hosted events.

For November, Diabetes Awareness Month, several of us attended the opening of NASDAQ with embecta, a diabetes company. Another group of us visited Eli Lilly a few weeks later for a tour and to see the CWD Journey Awards that have been displayed along with the older awards that Lilly used to bestow upon those living with diabetes. We continued to ship Journey Awards throughout the year and have now sent out 2,150 CWD Journey Award coins. The stories that recipients send continue to amaze and inspire us.

With the close of the year, we are gearing up for another exciting and busy year. Stay tuned!

Written by Brenda Hitchcock