Back to Activities Friends for Life Orlando 2016
  Friends for Life Conference and Expo

July 5-10, 2016
Orlando World Center Marriott
Orlando, Florida


Friendships made at FFL last a lifetime

You'll hear from world-renowned diabetes care experts ...

... and learn about innovative research from pioneers in the field

Learn about cutting edge science during Dessert With The Faculty

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

See what it's like inside a research laboratory

You never know who you'll meet at FFL

FFL kids of all ages take advantage of the latest in technology

FFL is also for adults with type 1 and their families

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

Grandparents have their own programming at FFL

Our youngest FFLers get extra special attention from our Special Guests like Kendall Simmons ...

... and INDYcar driver Charlie Kimball

FFL is life-changing for all families living with type 1 diabetes


Children with Diabetes presents our 17th annual Friends for Life® Orlando international conference! Join our 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 4:
    This is a set-up and move-in day for the conference. Since many FFL families will have arrived over the weekend, there will be plenty of us around the Marriott World Center swimming pools! Watch for past FFL conference shirts – and say hello to new friends! Join us for our Fourth of July Fireworks Fundraiser in the evening.
  • Tuesday, July 5:
    Registration is open from 9-4. Sports Central opens. Retinal Screening begins. Participatory Design Workshop for T1D Research. Meet Ups begin. Discussion groups and informal social get togethers will be held to help people meet each other. Staff dinner and team-building.
  • Wednesday, July 6:
    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 MasterLab. Nightscout sessions, Retinal screenings continue, TrialNet and Celiac begin. First Timers Reception – don't miss it! – will be held at 4:30 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. Eric Paslay concert!
  • Thursday, July 7:
    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. includes everyone – no tickets required. The theme for this year's banquet is Wizard's Night!
  • Friday, July 8:
    Breakfast on your own. Sessions for adults and children all day. Teens are offsite (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 3:30 p.m. College Age Dinner is back! Dessert Reception with the Faculty (all ages welcome), and Casino Night for adults with type 1 and their guests.
  • Saturday, July 9:
    FFL Family Day! Details to be announced in the spring. Saturday evening features the Teen Dance and the Tween Social. Sports Central is open until 3:00 pm. And brand new this year - a Family Ball for parents, younger kids, and adults on Saturday night.
  • Sunday, July 10:
    Farewell Breakfast, tearful goodbyes

Fourth of July Fireworks Fundraiser
Fourth of July Friends for Life Fireworks Fundraiser

Research Studies, 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® Vibe® and OneTouch Ping®
    Contact Kathy Mancaruso by toll-free phone at 1-877-937-7867 ext. 6168, or by email at
    Trials will be available Tuesday through Saturday in Emerald Suite #20454 / East Tower 4th Floor
    Animas® insulin pumps are approved for children as young as 2 years of age
  • Omnipod® Insulin Management System
    To register, please contact Natalie MacMillan by email at
    Trials will be available Wednesday through Friday in Suite #21676 / East Tower 16th Floor
    The Omnipod® Insulin Management System is the only tube-free pump available in the US and is cleared for all ages.
  • Tandem Diabetes Care t:slim G4™, t:slim® or t:flex® Insulin Pumps
    Contact Jenny Vandevelde at 1-858-255-6312 or to schedule your CWD pump trial.
    Can't wait until you are in Orlando? Experience the simplicity of Tandem's touch screen interface on your mobile device. Click here to download it from the App Store or Google Play.
    Tandem's Pumps are intended for the management of diabetes in persons requiring insulin, for individuals 12 years of age and greater.

TrialNet Screening

A TrialNet team will be on site performing screenings beginning on Wednesday and continuing through Friday in Crystal P-Q. 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 Wednesday and continuing through Friday in Crystal P-Q. If you suspect celiac, you must eat gluten for four weeks prior to the screening. One slice of bread per day is sufficient.

Retinal Screening and Eye Health Studies

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 San Francisco and St. Louis rooms. This screening uses state-of-the-art equipment, and pupils are not dilated. Pre-conference sign up is strongly encouraged and is done when you register for the conference. If you have not pre-registered, stop by the San Francisco room to see if there are available time slots due to cancellations.

New Jersey Medical School Blood Glucose Spikes Study
The FFL Orlando retinal screening team, led by Dr. Bernard Szirth, is looking for participants for a study on blood glucose spikes and dot and flame hemorrhages (different types of bleeds) in the eyes. This study will be held from Tuesday through Friday in the San Francisco room. The only restrictions are that you must have had type 1 diabetes for at least ten years and use a Dexcom CGM. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact Hunter Cope via email at and try to wear your CGM as often as possible. At FFL, we will collect the CGM data from the three months leading up to FFL via the Dexcom Clarity interface. Please bring your iPhone or Dexcom receiver when you come to your retinal screening in July.

University of Florida Retinopathy Study
A team of researchers from the University of Florida is seeking people with type 1 diabetes, ages 9 to 26, who have had type 1 diabetes for at least one year to be screened using a portable retinal camera to help understand the frequency of retinopathy in children with type 1 diabetes. Study participants will also have their HbA1c measured. This screening will be held from Tuesday through Friday in the Tampa room. For more information, see the Research Study Flyer.

Participatory Design Workshop for T1D Research

Dr. Joyce Lee, a Pediatric Endocrinologist from the University of Michigan, is partnering with patients and caregivers from the Nightscout/CGM in the Cloud Community and the Nightscout Foundation to create opportunities for participatory design, citizen science, and open science diabetes research. With a grant from the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, we are in the process of creating a patient-centered research collaborative for type 1 diabetes, but we need your help! Learn more on the Participatory Design Workshop page, which includes registration instructions.

Diabetes Advocates MasterLab
Diabetes Advocates MasterLab

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 0-5. 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 breaks are included. Lunch and beverage breaks are included on Friday, as are the evening events. Note that Friday breakfast is on your own -- it's an opportunity to sleep a little later after Thursday's banquet. Saturday's evening events are 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 offsite at Epcot, a park ticket, lunch, and snacks will be provided. Please note that teens must participate in all four sessions on Thursday in order to participate in the Friday Park Day. (Certain exceptions are permitted, such as retinal screening.) This is also true of the Saturday Teen Dance.

This year we will have childcare (ages 0-5), elementary group (ages 6-8), a young tween group (ages 9-10), and older tween group (ages 11-12), a young teen group (ages 13-14) an older teen group (ages 15-17). Those who are 18 and have just graduated high school have the option of staying with the teens or joining the young adult group. This decision must be indicated on the registration form.

Please note that all conference participants under the age of 18 must have a parent or adult guardian registered for the conference and with them in the building during the entire conference (i.e., teens and children may not be dropped off to participate while parents go elsewhere). This is for health and liability reasons, and there will be no exceptions.

The Conference Venue and Hotel Reservations

The Orlando World Center Marriott is one of the largest Marriott properties in the world. This venue, convenient to the Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios theme parks, offers plenty of convention meeting space for Friends for Life as well as tremendous vacation and recreational opportunities for families who wish to 'stay and play' for a few days before or after the conference. The resort boasts six swimming pools and three water slides at the main pool area. There are outdoor basketball and sand volleyball courts as well as tennis courts. The Orlando World Center Resort Spa offers a wide variety of treatments and services as well as a quiet spa pool; it is adjacent to the state of the art fitness center. For those who enjoy golf, the Hawks Landing Golf Club is right on site.

The Marriott World Center's luxurious hotel rooms include 2 double beds or a king bed (some rooms have pull-out sofas), high speed internet (fee for service), mini-bar, coffee maker, and cable with pay per view movies. There are several restaurants on site as well as a newly-renovated Pool Bar which is open for lunch and dinner. There is also a newly-renovated Starbucks in the lobby.

Room rates are $169 + tax. This rate is available 3 days before and after the conference for those families who might want to extend their vacation. Self-parking is $18/day, with a 50% discount if you are in the room block.

Larger suites may be reserved for hospitality events or entertaining, subject to availability. Suites are also available for larger families, again subject to availability. There are different types of suites and they have different prices; please contact the hotel directly for availability and pricing.

The cut-off date for reservations in the room block is June 13, or when the room block is sold out.

For housing reservations, call Marriott reservations directly at (888) 789-3090 or use Marriott's Online Reservation System. If you are calling, be sure to say you are with the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conference. The Children with Diabetes room block is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that you are only in the CWD room block – and only have the perks of being in the room block - if you make reservations through these phone numbers or website.

Also, please note that this year's conference follows the busy July 4th 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.

  Get discounted tickets for Disney theme parks

Ground Transportation

Mears Transportation operates a shuttle service from MCO to the Marriott World Center. You can book transportation online at You can download the Mears discount coupon to save money on their shuttle. The Mears Shuttle is much less expensive than taxis.


Cancellation policy:
Cancellations prior to June 1, 2016 will be refunded minus a $50 per person processing fee. After June 1, 2016, no refunds are available.


The Diabetes Scholars Foundation offers conference scholarships each year. Please refer to the Diabetes Scholars Foundation website for more information. Note that the Diabetes Scholars Foundation is an entirely separate organization from CWD, so you do need to contact them directly in order to discuss scholarship questions.

For More Information

For more information about the conference, corporate sponsorship, or to exhibit, contact Laura Billetdeaux via email at .

Special Guest
Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball is an open-wheel race car driver with Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing in the Verizon INDYCAR® series. Kimball, driver of the No. 83 Chevrolet, is the first and only licensed driver with diabetes in the history of INDYCAR® to win a race at the most elite level of the series. He also is the first driver with diabetes to qualify for, compete at, and lead laps at the famed Indianapolis 500™. In 2015, he posted his best career finish at the 500-mile race, capturing third place in the 99th running of the event. To keep up with Charlie both on and off the track, follow him at, or on Twitter at @racewithinsulin.

Special Guest
Eric Paslay

EMI Records Nashville breakout country artist, Eric Paslay, delivers a powerful punch as a renowned, Platinum-selling, hit songwriter and dynamic performer. Paslay has celebrated five No. 1 hits including “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” (Eli Young Band), “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” (Jake Owen), “Angel Eyes” (Love & Theft), “Rewind” (Rascal Flatts) and “Friday Night,” the smash lead single from his critically acclaimed self-titled debut album. The Temple, Texas native earned nominations for GRAMMY Best Country Song, ACM Song of the Year and CMA Song of The Year for “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” in 2013 and earned his first GRAMMY nomination as an artist in 2016 for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “The Driver” - a collaboration with friends Charles Kelley and Dierks Bentley. Most recently he was honored with an ACM Song of the Year nomination for “She Don’t Love You” at the 2016 ACMs in Las Vegas.

Special Guest

RaeLynn is an American country singer and songwriter who made a name for herself after finishing third on the second season of the television show The Voice back in 2012. RaeLynn was born into a musical family and first started singing in church but discovered a love for country music when she was 12 years old. Her appearance on The Voice led to recording deals and the release of her first single, “Boyfriend,” which climbed the Billboard Country Music charts. Her follow-up gold-certified single, “God Made Girls,” was released at the start of summer in 2014, and her first EP, titled “Me,” was released just last year. RaeLynn has toured with country music artists Miranda Lambert and Rascal Flatts. She also sang back-up vocals for her Voice coach and mentor, Blake Shelton, on multiple tracks. RaeLynn was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost a decade ago at age 12.

Special Guest
Crystal Bowersox

Singer / songwriter Crystal Bowersox has been performing for audiences since the age of 10. Her soulful, stirring approach to American music has been met with critical acclaim. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six, Crystal understands what it's like to be a child with diabetes. As an adult, she actively advocates for diabetes awareness and education. Crystal is currently working toward and writing for her next release. For more, visit or follow her on Facebook and Twitter: @CrystalBowersox.

Special Guest
George Canyon

Country music star George Canyon, a multi-JUNO award winner and PLATINUM selling artist, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 14. Now as a national spokesperson for JDRF Canada, George has taken his personal story across North America and organized talks and concerts to inspire others with type 1 diabetes. His 2010 hit single "I Believe in Angels" was adopted as a theme song by the JDRF in the United States, and his latest album "I Got This" debuted as the #1 Canadian Country album at its time of release in February 2016.

Special Guest
Amanda Jo

Amanda Jo is a country music singer, songwriter, and entertainer from Nashville, TN. She has been living well with Type 1 Diabetes for the past 16 years. She currently performs 200 shows a year across the United States. Fueled by a love for music and a passion for people, Amanda Jo is an advocate for people with diabetes both on and off the stage. She recently recorded “Needle Free” with American Idol contestant Adam Lasher, supporting research for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. You can find out more information about her on her website:

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
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 for a fun, lip-inspired activity with Natalie Irish!

Special Guest
Ernesto Prado

Ernie Prado serves as a Technical Project Manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF) where astronauts train prior to spaceflight. At the SVMF, he leads projects to create, maintain, and upgrade full-size International Space Station trainers and mockups that astronauts will use during the course of their careers. In addition to his work at NASA, he is involved in manufacturing large-scale 3D Printers. Ernie holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautical Sciences and Engineering from UC Davis. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 15 and has been on an insulin pump for the past five years.

Special Guest
Lauren Adams

In the 24 years since Lauren Adams' diagnosis, the 35-year-old has thrived with type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. As a busy working mom of two boys, she qualified for and ran the Boston marathon last April. She juggles it all while also competing as a runner and an ambassador for Team Novo Nordisk to inspire, educate and empower people affected by diabetes.

Special Guest
Michael Thornton

Type 1 diabetes has never slowed 16 year old soccer phenom Michael Thornton from making his dreams a reality. Since diagnosis at age 6, Michael has played soccer at the highest level for his age category, and has lived the last two years in Madrid to immerse himself in the competitive world of European soccer. Michael currently plays for the Alcobendas-Levitt youth club, a competitive team in Madrid that competes against other top-level youth academies like Real Madrid.

  Friends for Life Orlando 2016 Conference  
  Introduction - Registration - Sponsors - Exhibitors - Convention Center Map  
  Página Principal - Registración - Facultad Sesiones Español  
  Faculty: Parent & Adult - Youth - Spanish Track - Grandparents - Nightscout - Sports Central - Retinal Screening - CWD Staff  
  Schedule: Parents and Adults - Youth - Meet Ups - Childcare Form - FAQs  
  4th of July Fireworks Fundraiser - You're a CWD Star! - Tribute Ads - Docu-Diabetes II Call for Movies
  Reports from 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  

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