Back to the 2011 conference report 2011 Friends for Life Report - Tuesday

Friends for Life 2011 Logo

It was hot in Orlando, with heat indices above 100. Thank goodness for air conditioning, great swimming pools at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, and Guest Assistance Cards! By Tuesday, there were over 1,000 Friends for Life participants on site. Registration opened at 9 a.m. First in line – Ivy Rupani, who had traveled with extended family from Japan! The registration flow was steady all day long, and the excitement was building. Many thanks to the registration crew of Julia Mattingly, Jo Stroud, Betty Parker, Betty Smith, Scott and Heather Kyllo, Audrey and Walter Greenfield, Intissar ben Halim, Brenda Hitchcock, Traci Smith, and Mike Bassett for their hours and hours of planning and preparation which paid off in a very smooth registration process.

Golfers took to the links at Disney's Osprey Ridge Golf Course to raise money for the Diabetes Scholars Foundation. Golfers enjoyed a scramble start and played "best ball" for 18 holes. After baking in the hot Florida sun, golfers enjoyed lunch, a silent auction, and a live auction of some special items. Money raised will be used to bring families to future CWD conferences and to fund college scholarships.

Dr. Ben Szirth, Dr. Khadija Shahid, and interns Gina Pelaez and Nura Salameh began their four-day schedule of retinal screenings for those with type 1 at Friends for Life. Their days were extremely busy, with appointments back to back every 10 minutes Tuesday through Friday. This year, Dr. Ben's team screened more children, teens, and adults with type 1 than in any prior conference. He commented that the retinal health of the FFL participants was extremely good, and that this reflected their rigorous level of diabetes management.

Sports Central was ready for action at noon on Tuesday. Many thanks to the Sports Central move-in team: James and Ben Stroud, Chris Tull, Bob and Diamond Marquess, Bob Schmidt, Rick Philbin, and Jeff Schmidt. They made short work of setting up the basketball and volleyball areas, complete with transferring 60 lb bags of sand from UHaul to Veracruz A to hold down the various nets! Thank you to Novo Nordisk for sponsoring Sports Central for the 8th year in a row!

Under the watchful eye of CWD Dad Ashley Head (who runs international trade shows as his ‘real job'), the Exhibit Hall in Veracruz B and C began to take shape. Ash travels all the way from the UK to take charge of the Friends for Life exhibit hall. It was a great floor plan – very open and family-friendly, with lots of interactive opportunities for kids and adults alike.

A group of CWD teens learned emergency driving skills during the Car Control Clinic. After a classroom introduction at the Coronado and a quick packed lunch, the team of veteran driving instructors headed off to a local school parking lot for the real action -- driving! Each teen brought a parent, who also had a chance to show off their driving skills at the end. Everyone reported that the class was very worth while. Watch for a repeat next year.

Also on Tuesday evening, the Quilt for Life set-up crew got to work. Led by veteran QFL Coordinator Peter Megaw, the Quilt crew set up the 725+ squares in record time. This year's quilt team included Chris Tull, Jeff and Brandon Schmidt, Georgia Spiropoulos, Carolyn and Sam Billetdeaux, Grace Grande-Cassell, Oliver Double, the Marquess Family, Brian Grant, Charles Renfroe, Jeff and Marissa Hitchcock, and Adam Town. There was a last minute walk-in group of very helpful young adults (Jesse, Zak, Maryam and friends), and teens Shelby, Brianna, Tayler, and Maria. You all did a great job!


Sam and Grace hung Sam's quilt square -- #2
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Adam holds the pin while Marissa putts
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