Back to the 2013 conference report 2013 Friends for Life Report - Friday

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Friday offered a wide variety of sessions and again included presentations and discussions for parents, adults with type 1, and college age participants.

Psychosocial sessions continued to feature strongly on Friday. These sessions included Making the Most of Diabetes in Your Family (Korey Hood), Family Teamwork Across Child and Adolescent Development (Barbara Anderson), It's Not Just a Numbers Game (Joe Solowiejczyk), Avoiding and Overcoming Diabetes Burnout (Korey Hood and Jill Weissberg-Benchell), Stress Management (Bob Bulgarelli), and Majoring in College, Minoring in Diabetes (Christina Roth, Sara Nicastro, Crystal Jackson).

Scientific sessions continued with The DRI BioHub: Optimizing Islet Encapsulation (Chris Fraker), The Role of Gut Permeability in Autoimmunity: Lessons Learned from Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease (Alessio Fasano), and Celiac Overview and Update (Alessio Fasano). Hands-on and how-to sessions were plentiful on Friday as well. These included Being the Best Patient You Can Be (Sean Oser and Tamara Oser), Sports and Pumping: Finding the Right Mix (Rick Philbin), Strike the Spike (Gary Scheiner), An Introduction to Diabetes Technology (Gary Scheiner), Pumping Tips and Tricks (Lorraine Anderson), Puberty and Adolescence: Body and Mind (Henry Anhalt and Jill Weissberg-Benchell), Candy Canes, Candy Corn, and Syrup: The Glycemic Index (Gary Scheiner), and Say That Again: What You Learned at Diagnosis (Lori Laffel).

Kimberly Davis and Tom Karlya presented a session called How To Be an Advocate, and both were available throughout the week to talk with participants about how to become involved in advocacy efforts large and small. Also, a special thank you to Crystal Jackson who was very visible and available to parents who wanted to talk about their children's school challenges. Crystal presented a formal session on Thursday – Diabetes Management In School – followed by a Discussion Session which targeted individual scenarios of families. Crystal spent much of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday working 1:1 with moms and dads.

Two rooms on Friday continued to be dedicated to adults with type 1. Both Thursday's and Friday's Adults with Type 1 Programming were sponsored by Insulet, and we so appreciate their support! Session on Friday for Adults with Type 1 included Dating and Diabetes (Jill Weissberg-Benchell and Kerri Sparling), Beyond Counting Carbs: Eating Well Without Getting Bored (Lorraine Anderson), It's a Big World Out There – Traveling with Type 1 (The Connected in Motion Team), the Couples Discussion Group (Joe Solowiejczyk), Having a Baby: The Best 12 Months of Your Life (Kelly Close and Kerri Sparling), and Being a Parent with Type 1 Diabetes (Kerri Sparling, Scott Johnsons, and Stefan Rubin).

The college age sessions featured a young women's discussion group, Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll (Korey Hood), and Stress Management (Bob Bulgarelli and Harold Sanco).

There were several panels and discussions throughout the day. Rick Philbin and the Sports Central and Guest Athletes held a discussion for adults, and they also met with the different groups of children throughout the day. The athletes talked about their own challenges and type 1 diabetes management, shared some tips, and answered questions. Both adults and kids really enjoy interacting with these athletes, who truly live ‘best practices' day to day so they can be at the top of their sport.

The moms discussion groups was packed as usual! CWD's Lauren Lanning, Michelle Rago, and Intissar Ben Halim, facilitated the discussion groups. The dads discussion, facilitated by Tom Karlya and Scott Kyllo, was also an excellent opportunity for sharing ideas and challenges. There was also a Discussion Group for Significant Others led by Diana Naranjo, as well as a Single Parents Discussion Group led by Joe Solowiejczyk. Joe additionally facilitated a Couples Discussion Group on Friday. This year, we doubled our discussion group options, as this was something requested in last year's feedback by FFL attendees.

The Grands had a very full day of sessions, beginning with Ask the Diabetes Team ... any question was fair game! The Team included Jen Block and Heather Speer (both CDEs), Henry Rodriguez (endocrinologist), Diana Naranjo (psychologist), Mike Schurig (RD), and Grandparents Rachele and Bruce Baccaro. The morning continued with Dealing with Diabetes Emergencies, which many grandparents shared is their #1 fear. After lunch, the grandparents had a discussion about Reclaiming Sleepovers and Get-Aways. Again, many thanks to our Grands faculty and staff who keep this program growing with new ideas and energy!

Will Cross, a world-class expedition leader and athlete, addressed the adults in the Friends for Life closing keynote. Will has been to many a FFL conference; his stories are enthralling and he has an engaging manner which keeps you on the edge of your seat! Will used his experiences walking to both the North and South Pole, as well as climbing the highest mountain on each continent -- including Mt. Everest -- to illustrate the importance of pursuing ones dreams even while living with type 1 diabetes.

Many thanks to Novo Nordisk for sponsoring Will's participation in Friends for Life this year, as well as the participation of Special Guests Kendall Simmons and Jay Hewitt! These guys – and their families – are part of our huge Friends for Life family, and we love that they come back to us year after year to share their stories, challenges, triumphs, and ... well ... themselves.

The teens headed off on buses to Disney's Hollywood Studios for a day in the park. While on the surface, this excursion may look like simply a ‘fun' day, in reality there are many learning objectives in place for this outing. A lot of planning and responsibility goes into spending a full day in a hot park with lots of activity and other things to keep track of, and the teen staff encouraged the teens to be as independent as possible in managing the day. Teens checked in periodically with the staff at the air conditioned home base for a bg check and a 'once over' (for those without diabetes). Disney Dollars made meals and snacks easy work. A fun day had by all!

The Tween Group had a very fun and interesting Friday, beginning with half the kids having "Harold Time" in Sports Central and the other half participating in a “Mall Food: What's In This Stuff?” session with Dietitian Dana Dignard. After morning break, the two groups swapped places to finish out the morning. In the afternoon, the 10 year old group had fun making Carb Creatures with fruits and veggies, while the 11 year old group had a discussion around the topic of problem-solving, facilitated by Jeremy Pettus, Carolyn Billetdeaux, Maryam Elarbi, Austin Martin, and Sierra Abel. The 12 year old group had a discussion about the Tween to Teen Transition, facilitated by Jessica Markowitz and Zak Elarbi. The tweens ended the day on a very energetic note with DJ Miles in Sports Central!

The elementary group began their day with a Scavenger Hunt around the Convention Center, and then finished the morning by meeting the VIP Special Guests, Kendall Simmons, Will Cross, and Jay Hewitt. As a very wonderful surprise, Crystal Bowersox joined both the Elementary and Tween sessions on Friday. Crystal was a guest of the JDRF and CWD at Friends for Life this year – and we loved having her simply be part of the conference and the FFL family! The elementary group continued their sessions after a two hour lunch break; the first session was Fun With DJ Miles (movement, dancing, and games to music). The final session of the day was a bit slower-paced, with Arts-n-Crafts, and Reflection.

Our youngest participants – babies and toddlers through 5 year olds – had a fun day with their staff. They were very busy! Jackson the Dog paid a visit; the older children went on a 'field trip' to visit the Quilt for Life (Thanks, Dr. Ken, for leading the Field Trip!), and they had games and moving to music, quiet time, and stories after lunch.

Friday night was a fun social evening, with the Casino Night for Adults with Type 1, sponsored by Tandem Diabetes. This event once again was a tremendous success. Everyone had fun, the food was great, and the feedback was positive and enthusiastic. Dessert and Posters with the Faculty was back for a 6th year! While there were fewer posters than in past years, some of the faculty were on hand and discussion was animated and interesting. This is definitely something we will continue year to year.

Once again, many thanks to Friday's sponsors, faculty, staff, and volunteers, who enabled this extraordinary day to happen! A special shout out to Ashley Head and Chad Kyllo, who kept the Exhibit Hall Schedule on target for a 3:30 p.m. close ... and to all of the volunteers who helped with the Quilt for Life Tear-Down. It is so important to treat those quilt squares ever-so-gently and pack them back up in just the right way – your TLC was much appreciated!


Chris Fraker from DRI spoke about the BioHub
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The Triplets had a great time!
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Alessio Fasano spoke about celiac on Friday
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Teens headed off site to Disney's Hollywood Studios on Friday
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Friday was scavenger hunt day for the elementary group
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Henry and Jill's session about adolescence was packed!
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Even our youngest kids use the latest technology
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