Sunday morning's Farewell Breakfast each year for the past 16 years has been a time of hugs and tears, photos, and "I love you's.” That's what happens when Friends for Life say goodbye.
Some final thoughts and thank you's from Laura:
- Chris Kakol – photographer extraordinaire – thank you so much for documenting our yearly weeklong journey. I'm not sure you realize how much your work means to people, and how many screen savers your photos live on around the world.
- Jo Stroud and Kristen Seiz – you guys simply ROCKED the menus and carb counts this year, and you figured out meals and snacks for even the toughest of food allergies so that everyone had yummy meals and snacks. You're a great team, and I'm so happy you've agreed to do this for all of our events!
- Scott Kyllo and Ash Head – each of you a Friend for Life – I hope you felt the love during the banquet, and I wish you could have received a standing ovation every time you dealt with an IT problem or an exhibit hall challenge this year!
- Carolyn Billetdeaux, Sierra Abel, Zak Elarbi, Bob Bulgarelli, and Intissar Ben Halim – thanks for taking the Sibs Team (aka the Orange Team) to a new level this year. Your leadership and determination to develop this most exceptional program in a formal way made a difference this week to hundreds of brothers, sisters, and friends of kids with type 1. Let's keep moving it forward!
- Liz and Jimmy Dodson – and the whole Sports Central crew – your love of fitness and your ability to share that with people of all ages simply shone through this week. Every time I poked my head into Sports Central to see what was going on, it was a noisy, busy, happy place. I'm looking forward to your new ideas – and expanded hours – for next year! Harold Sanco and Jaime Molyneux, thanks so much for picking up the a.m. slack when the fitness center wasn't available!
- Room captains and registration teams – you guys are the structure that keeps everything moving on a daily basis. If you don't do your jobs well, then people don't get their stuff (and believe me, that is important), and sessions don't happen according to clockwork (and that is also important – FFL runs according to ‘Jeff time'). You are the first ones to offer a smile when families arrive and the first ones to say hi when people walk in the door to their sessions. You make a difference. Thank you.
- VIP special guests – I know that most of you come to FFL as part of your relationship with sponsors who ask that you participate. We don't think of it like that. You're family, plain and simple. Welcome back any time.
Finally, as I noted in my program Welcome, some of the people from the June 2000 event are at the conference today. They're in leadership roles; they're behind-the-scenes helpers; they're sponsors. Amazingly, we've been at this so long that now their kids are moving into these roles as well. These incredible people have made Friends for Life happen for sixteen years by becoming the resources themselves. They bring their talents, their time, and their funding to make every year better than the last. Friends for Life never would have happened if not for every one of them.
So, to all of you, whether you are an attendee, volunteer, staff, presenter, exhibitor, or sponsor – thank you for stepping up to be the resource. See you next year!
Friends for Life.
Sunday morning is filled with tearful hugs goodbye
And the grown ups are sad too
Jeff and Laura say, "See you next year!"
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