Back to Activities Friends for Life 2015
  Friends for Life Conference and Expo

July 6-12, 2015
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Lake Buena Vista, Florida


FFL is home for kids with type 1 and their parents

You'll learn the latest science from world renowned experts

FFL kids and grown ups use the latest in diabetes care technology

FFL Teens have their own programming, including an off site to a theme park on Friday

The Quilt for Life celebrates our families

Brenda, Maryam and Kara want you to come to FFL

CWD dad Oliver Double shared his amusing version of "Think Like a Pancreas"

Adults enjoy special events

Food is healthy and carb counted for you and includes a separate gluten free buffet

The green bracelet of belonging

Our youngest FFLers get extra special attention from our great Youth Faculty


Children with Diabetes presents our 16th annual Friends for Life conference! Join our international group of world-renowned clinicians, researchers, physicians, adults, children, and families with diabetes to learn the most current information in diabetes care. Attend educational sessions and get cutting-edge diabetes management ideas. Participate in discussion groups, share your story, and help motivate and support others who walk in similar shoes. Watch toddlers and teens, college students and professionals, young parents and grandparents, new and practiced diabetes clinicians make new and lifelong friendships. This is a conference you won't ever forget!

Who Should Attend Friends for Life?

  • Families and individuals with type 1 diabetes
  • Young adults, teens, school-age children, and younger children
  • Grandparents
  • Kids with type 1 diabetes and their siblings and their best buddies
  • Their parents
  • Adults with type 1 diabetes and their spouses or partners and children
  • Health care professionals who work with type 1 diabetes (CEUs are not offered)

The Conference Schedule in a Nutshell

  • Monday, July 6:
    Registration opens at 5 p.m., so pick up your name badge, conference t-shirt, and green/orange bracelets nice and early! Retinal screenings begin in the afternoon. Meet new friends and enjoy pool time! It's very easy to find other FFL'ers – look for the bracelets and tees!
  • Tuesday, July 7:
    Registration is open from 9-5. Sports Central opens. Retinal Screenings continue. Discussion groups and informal social get togethers will be held to help people meet each other. Diabetes Advocates Master Lab. Staff dinner and team-building at Splitsville.
  • Wednesday, July 8:
    Focus groups will be held all day (these are different from the Thursday and Friday sessions). Discussion sessions for various groups will continue. The Teen program begins in the afternoon. Sports Central is open. Diabetes Advocates Master Lab continues. Screenings (Retinal, TrialNet, Celiac) continue. First Timers Reception – don't miss it! – will be held at 3:30 p.m. The Exhibit Hall opens at 6:00 p.m., in conjunction with a Grand Opening Reception. The Quilt for Life opens in the Exhibit Hall.
  • Thursday, July 9:
    Sessions for adults and children are offered all day. Sports Central and Screenings continue. The Exhibit Hall is open all day. The Family and Friends Banquet and Dance from 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. – with DJ Miles – includes everyone – no tickets required if you are registered for the conference!
  • Friday, July 10:
    Sessions for adults and children all day. Teens are offsite at Disney's Hollywood Studios (Important note: Teens must attend all four sessions on Thursday in order to participate on Friday); Sports Central and Screenings continue. Exhibit Hall closes at 3 p.m. Dessert Reception with the Faculty is back (all ages welcome), as is the Adults with Type 1 Night and Family Movie Night (for the younger crowd and their parents).
  • Saturday, July 11:
    Magical Memories Day! Join other CWD families for a Magical Memories Breakfast, sponsored by Lilly Diabetes, featuring Disney character meet-n-greets, from 7:30 to 9:30 am. Chartered buses from the Coronado Springs Resort to Disney's Magic Kingdom will run from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. Saturday evening features the Teen Dinner Dance and the Tween Social. Sports Central is open until 3:00 pm.
  • Sunday, July 12:
    Farewell Breakfast
Pump Trials and Screenings

Insulin Pump Trials

Come to the conference and try an insulin pump. Pump companies offer would-be pumpers a chance to try their products using saline. And if you already use a pump, here's a chance to try out a new one. A prescription from your physician is required and must include the wording "insulin pump trial with saline." If you plan to try more than one pump, be sure to bring a prescription for each.

This opportunity is by appointment only. Appointments will fill up quickly. For more information, contact:

  • Animas® OneTouch® Ping™
    Tuesday through Friday in Sonora A
    Tori Lester at 877-937-7867 ext. 6306 or
  • Tandem Diabetes Care - t:slim® Insulin Pump
    Tuesday and Wednesday by reservation only
    Danica Mazon at 1-858-366-6893 or
    Experience the simplicity of the t:slim® Insulin Pump's touch screen interface from your mobile device! Download on the App Store or Get It On Google play.
    Note: The t:slim® Insulin Pump is intended for the management of diabetes in persons requiring insulin, for individuals 12 years of age and greater.

Roche ACCU-CHEK® Connect Study

Roche Diabetes Care, Inc. is conducting a research study using new technology for diabetes management solutions in children and adolescents. This study will take place during the Friends for Life Conference. The product is an innovative glucose monitoring system and smartphone app for diabetes management. To learn more, including how to sign up, visit

TrialNet Screening

A TrialNet team will be on site performing screenings beginning on Tuesday and continuing through Friday in North Registration / El Paso 1-2. Family members who do not have type 1 diabetes can be screened for risk factors and can participate in important clinical trials.

Celiac Screening

Celiac screenings will be available beginning on Tuesday and continuing through Friday in North Registration / El Paso 1-2. If you suspect celiac, you must eat gluten for four weeks prior to the screening. One slice of bread per day is sufficient, per Dr. Alessio Fasano, who is overseeing the screening.

Retinal Screening

Once again this year, a team of eye care specialists from the Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Science from the New Jersey Medical School will be on site performing free retinal screenings to kids and adults with type 1 diabetes, beginning on Monday and continuing through Friday in the Acapulco / Baja / Cancun rooms. Pre-conference sign up is required and is done when you register for the conference. If you have not pre-registered, stop by the Cancun room to see if there are available time slots due to cancellations.

What Does Registration Include?

Registration includes all sessions for adults and children, session materials, and one t-shirt per person.

Registration includes childcare for pre-registered children ages 0-4. We are not able to accept walk-in childcare. The link to the childcare registration form is at the bottom of this page in the Navigation bar.

Quite a few meals are included in the price of registration. On Wednesday evening, the Grand Opening Reception offers enough food for dinner, although it is not a sit-down event. On Thursday, breakfast/lunch/dinner and beverage/snack breaks are included. Breakfast, lunch, and beverage/snack breaks are included on Friday. Saturday's Magical Memories Breakfast is included. The Sunday Farewell Breakfast is our final meal event. Other meals and social events may be added closer to the conference.

For the teens who participate in the Teen Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a park ticket, breakfast, lunch, and snacks will be provided. Please note that teens must participate in all 4 sessions on Thursday in order to participate in the Friday Park Day. This is also true of the Saturday Teen Dinner Dance.

The Conference Venue and Hotel Reservations

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort is located near Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney's Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. Five swimming pools are on the Hotel grounds, including a huge, feature-pool complex with southwestern theme. A children's playground is on site, as is a large game arcade and fitness center. A jogging trail winds around the 15-acre lake. Complimentary Disney bus transportation, Disney’s Magical Express, is available between the Hotel and all Disney Theme Parks, as well as between the Orlando International Airport and the Hotel.

Newly renovated hotel rooms include 2 double beds or a king bed, refrigerator, complimentary wireless internet, ceiling fan, coffee maker, wall safe, and telephone. Wireless high speed internet is also available in public areas of the hotel, including the lobby, conference center, and swimming pool.

Room rates are $149 + tax. This rate is available from July 3, 2015 to July 13, 2015 for those families who might want to extend their vacation.

CWD rooms will be located throughout the Coronado Springs Resort in the Casitas, Ranchos, and Cabana buildings. We do not have designated rooms in specific buildings. If you have a physical disability which requires close proximity to the Convention Center, please contact Laura Billetdeaux at

Corporate Suites may be reserved for hospitality events or entertaining, subject to availability. There are different types of suites and they have different prices; please contact the Hotel directly for availability and pricing.

You may reserve a room, buy park tickets, make Disney Dining reservations, and arrange for free Disney Transportation from the Orlando Airport to the hotel online at

A few things to note in regard to this online room registration process:

  • The site will hold a room for you but does not actually confirm the reservation until it is manually entered into Disney’s reservation system.
  • You will receive an Online Confirmation from the site but will not receive the actual Resort Confirmation until the reservation has been entered into the Disney system. This may take up to five days business days from date you receive the Online Confirmation.
  • The dates offered on the site for room reservations are those dates that CWD has contracted (July 3-13). If you would like to book hotel nights before or after that, you will need to contact the Housing office to inquire about availability.
  • If you need to make changes or requests to your room reservation, please wait until you receive your Resort Confirmation. Any changes, requests or cancellations must be made by calling 407-939-4686.
  • You may book Disney’s Magical Express reservations by visiting or by calling (407) 827-6777 with your flight information AFTER your hotel reservation has been entered into the system and you have received the Resort Confirmation email.

Also, please note that this year’s conference is right after the busy July 4 holiday weekend. The resort will be quite crowded and will likely sell out early. If you plan to vacation for a few days prior to or after the conference, please make your reservations as soon as possible. While CWD has a block of rooms under contract, once those rooms are spoken for, reservations are subject to additional availability.

For more conference information, contact Laura Billetdeaux at 734-353-9294 or .

For corporate sponsorship information, contact Jim Vail at 716-392-2133 or .

Cancellation policy:
Cancellations prior to June 1, 2015 will be refunded minus a US$75 processing fee. After June 1, 2015, no refunds are available.

The Diabetes Scholars Foundation offers scholarships for families and young adults to attend CWD's Friends for Life conference.

Special Guest
Sebastien Sasseville

Diagnosed with type 1 in 2002, Sebastien Sasseville became the first Canadian with diabetes to summit Mount Everest in 2008. He then went on to complete four Ironman races. In November 2012, Sasseville competed in the Sahara Race, a 250 km ultra-marathon. In 2005, he took a group of teens with diabetes to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. In the summer of 2007, he lead a group of young adults with type 1 on a two-week trek to Mount Everest Base Camp. Sebastien will present the Closing Keynote for FFL 2015, sponsored by Animas.

Special Guest
Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball
INDYCAR driver Charlie Kimball is the first and only licensed driver with diabetes in the history of the sport to win a race. He will be a VIP Speaker and member of the faculty at the Friends for Life conference. Charlie is sponsored by Novo Nordisk through the Race with Insulin® program.

Special Guest
Kendall Simmons

Kendall Simmons
Kendall Simmons is a former NFL player with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. Kendall was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes shortly before his second season. Kendall learned how to manage his diabetes and went on to play nearly ten years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls. Kendall is sponsored by Novo Nordisk.

Special Guest
Will Cross

Will Cross is a world-class expedition leader and athlete. Raised in England until age 12, Cross has worked continually for more than 30 years to overcome challenges related to living with diabetes. On May 23, 2006, as part of the NovoLog® Peaks and Poles Challenge, Cross became the first American and first person with diabetes to climb the highest peak on each continent and trek to the North and South Poles.

Special Guest
Kris Freeman

Cross-country skier Kris Freeman was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19, just prior to competing in his first Winter Olympics. But that diagnosis did not stop him from chasing his dreams. Over time he learned to carefully manage his diabetes with the help of physicians, coaches, family, and friends. His journey with diabetes has now included participating in the last four Olympics and logging some of the best event finishes for a U.S. skier ever. When away from the sport, Kris visits diabetes summer camps on behalf of Lilly Diabetes to share his story.

Special Guest
Sierra Sandison

Sierra Sandison, Miss Idaho 2014, made international headlines because of her decision to proudly wear her insulin pump while competing at Miss Idaho, and later, at Miss America. She posted a picture of herself and the pump during the swimsuit portion of the Miss Idaho Pageant. The photo quickly went viral, and helped Sierra launch the #showmeyourpump campaign, encouraging people with diabetes to post their own pictures, bravely showing off their insulin pumps, and other medical devices. Thousands of people with diabetes from the U.S., and in 35 other countries, shared images.

Special Guest
Sean Busby

In 2004, while training for the 2010 Olympics, Sean Busby endured a complicated diagnosis of type 1. Considering leaving snowboarding all together, Sean was inspired by reading stories he found through JDRF's Children's Congress. He founded Riding On Insulin, a nonprofit, to honor all the kids who inspired him to keep living. In February 2014, Sean became the first person with T1D to backcountry snowboard all seven continents, and is one of the youngest men ever to accomplish this feat. Sean graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Health Promotion and Education, with an emphasis on diabetes.

Special Guest
Douglas Cairns

In 1989, Douglas Cairns was a Royal Air Force jet pilot and instructor at the age of 25 when he was diagnosed with type 1diabetes, and consequently lost his flying career. In 2000 he regained the freedom to fly in the USA as a licensed private pilot, and then went on to complete Diabetes World Flight in 2003. Since 2003 Douglas has run Flying With Diabetes, a series of flying projects and Flying With Diabetes Day events to raise awareness of diabetes. Douglas is a co-founder of Pilots With Diabetes, an aviation policy advocacy group for pilots with insulin treated diabetes. Douglas is passionate about raising awareness of diabetes and gives regular talks to conferences and meetings, highlighting that diabetes need not limit the scope of people's dreams and ambitions.

Special Guest
Natalie Irish

Known as the most famous lips in the world, Natalie Irish has pioneered a painting technique of applying lipstick and kissing the canvas to create art. Diagnosed in 2000 at the age of 18, she has been living a life without limits and inspiring others through her creative spirit. Natalie has been featured at art shows around the world, including an appearance on the Conan O'Brien show showcasing her work and discussing her diabetes management. Stop by the Animas booth to leave your lip print on a work of art with Natalie Irish.

Special Guest
Chase Pelletier

Diagnosed in 2007 at age 10, Chase Pelletier has never let diabetes slow him down. Chase competes in the F2000 open wheel racing series in Canada, and the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car-A racing series in the U.S. Chase is the reigning Canadian F1600 Super Series Champion, fastest lap record holder at Mid-Ohio in the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car-B, and represented his country at the Formula Ford Festival in the UK in 2014. Stop by the Animas booth and take a spin in his racing simulator at FFL in Orlando!

  Friends for Life 2015 Conference and Expo  
  Introduction - Registration - Sponsors - Exhibitors - Convention Center Map (PDF)  
  Faculty - Youth Faculty - Grandparents Faculty - CWD Staff - Sports Central Staff - Nightscout Faculty - Special Guests  
  Schedule: Parents and Adults - Youth - Nightscout Workshop  
  Childcare Form (PDF) - FAQs - Disney's MyMagic+ Checklist (Important)  
  Reports from 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  

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