Our First Virtual Friends for Life!

March 31, 2020

Making the decision to cancel our Indianapolis in-person event was important for the health of our community because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but cancelling an event?  Leaving our community without support?  That’s not our style.

Which is why our CWD team proudly brought the diabetes community together for a day of education, inspiration, and community through our first virtual Friends for Life conference.  We had four live sessions on Sunday, March 29th, via GoTo Webinar, and we also had seven pre-recorded sessions with members of the community.

“It’s almost impossible to describe the magic of a Friends for Life conference. It’s more than the incredible faculty and staff, more than learning about the latest tools, more than the carb counted meals. It’s about family. It’s about connecting with people who completely understand what you’re going through. It’s about finding calmness in the storm of diabetes. So when we were faced with cancelling Friends for Life Indianapolis because of a different kind of storm, we knew that we had to find a way to bring some of the magic to our families,” said Children with Diabetes President, Jeff Hitchcock.   “Our deepest thanks goes out to our amazing faculty who shared their wisdom and expertise, and to our incredible sponsors who understood the importance of our shared mission to make a difference in the lives of people living with diabetes. Until we can once again meet together in person, we will share together online to help us all become and remain friends for life.”

“Last month, as the world changed so drastically and decisively around us, we at T1 Today had to re-think ‘What is Friends for Life and how do we continue to bring that experience to our worldwide community?’ In a very short time, our skilled team of tech and social media staff combined forces with our amazing conference faculty to present the very first virtual FFL. As the conference planner, I’m usually the one who is scrambling beforehand and on site to make sure all the pieces are in place as everyone arrives for a Friends for Life event. This time, I watched from the sidelines as my colleagues pulled together a most exceptional day of education, engagement, and connection. I was thrilled that our sponsors supported this endeavor – and that they were right online with us listening to the sessions!” said Laura Billetdeaux, Vice President of Education and Programs.  “I certainly hope that future FFL events can be in person, but if that’s not what the world has in store for us, I know we can deliver on the education as well as a few of the personal FFL touches! Now – if we can only figure out the hugs …”

“We knew it would be challenging to bring the magic of Friends for Life into an online space, but I’m really proud of how our team buckled down and made it happen. Watching the registrations come in, seeing the positive feedback from our community, and knowing that we were there for people, despite the COVID-19 virus?  This is what CWD is about.  We show up,” said CWD Board member and Editorial Director, Kerri Sparling.

We cannot say THANK YOU enough to our extraordinary sponsors who made it so the first ever virtual Friends for Life conference could be offered FREE OF CHARGE. Their generosity allows Children with Diabetes to bring the diabetes online community together in a safe way, and at a time when we need the support of our community the most. A huge thank you Lilly DiabetesDexcomInsulet, Tandem Diabetes Care, and the American Diabetes Association.

We’re excited to move forward with more virtual ways to keep our community connected and safe. If you missed the live sessions, or would like to view any of the pre-recorded discussions, all of the content is available at Friends for Life Indianapolis Virtual.

And be on the lookout for our upcoming Screenside Chats with CWD!