Last week, JDRF staff and volunteers had the opportunity
to join the T1D community at another successful Children with
Diabetes (CWD) Friends For Life (FFL) conference in Orlando, Florida. This year’s event, the 13th annual
meeting, like the previous gatherings, included families and people of all ages with
T1D. JDRF has been participating in this event for
the last ten years and had another strong presence this year.
The event, hosted by the CWD group, offers a unique
chance for members of the T1D community to get together, participate in a
variety of educational sessions and family activities, and make and strengthen friendships
for life. Conference attendees have opportunities to connect with world-renowned
researchers, and T1D opinion leaders. Moreover, conference goers this year were given great chances to
meet and hear from celebrities and special guests including Mike Fisher, Jay Hewitt, Charlie Kimball, Kendall Simmons, Phil Southerland, Sebastien Sasseville, Missy Foy and Crystal Bowersox!
This year, in
addition to the usual CWD programming for children with T1D and their parents,
FFL had an increased focus on
adults with type 1 diabetes. Sessions for adults
were held on both days of the conference, and an evening reception for adults
only was well-attended. Overall, the number of adults in attendance was up sharply from
For this year’s meeting, JDRF provided sponsorship for
the some of the science and research-related speaking sessions. One session featured an Artificial Pancreas (AP) update from two
JDRF-funded researchers, Dr. Eda Cengiz of the Yale School of Medicine and Dr. Edward Damiano from Boston University.
During their presentations, they provided analysis of tests
using prototype versions of the closed loop system and talked about prevention
of hypoglycemia using the AP. In Dr.
Damiano’s talk, his first slide stated, “This is the dawning
of the age of the bionic endocrine pancreas.”
In addition to the artificial pancreas updates, JDRF also sponsored a
talk by long time JDRF volunteer and T1D advocate, Moira McCarthy. Moira provided an informative and well-received talk about "learning to let go" as the parent of a child with T1D. To learn more about Moira’s session, you can
visit her blog and also the CWD Live
on Juvenation, which has a summary.
JDRF’s presence in the FFL exhibit hall this year proved
to be informative and fun. Carol Oxenreiter, JDRF’s National Volunteer
Outreach Chair, was the JDRF special guest at the exhibit booth. Carol
spoke directly with families to answer questions about outreach and support programs and services, as well as JDRF research to cure, treat, and prevent
T1D. JDRF staff and volunteers also helped those who stopped by to “bling” their glucose
meters and pumps with stickers and playful decorations.
JDRF also had a live Juvenation blog this year, which includes entries from attendees who
stopped by the JDRF booth to share their thoughts and feelings about the
conference. Photos that capture some of
the memorable moments of FFL ’12 are posted on Flickr.
In closing, this year’s Friends
for Life event proved to be another great opportunity to connect with people of
all ages and stages of T1D. JDRF looks forward to continuing its
partnership with Children with Diabetes and joining the community at this event