Back to Activities Friends for Life Orlando 2017
  Friends for Life Conference and Expo

July 4 - 9, 2017
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Orlando, Florida


FFL is about our type 1 families

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

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

Don't miss the Grand Opening of the Exhibition Hall

First timer? Don't worry -- you'll meet hundreds of others

Our kids and adults with type 1 are FFL Stars

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

Selfie-Sunday with your new Friends for Life


Children with Diabetes presents our 18th annual Friends for Life® Orlando 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 3:
    Sponsors and large booth set-up in Exhibit Hall. Registration, Sports Central, and Retinal Screening move-in.
  • Tuesday, July 4:
    Registration is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., so pick up your name badge, conference t-shirt, and green/orange bracelets nice and early! First Timers Welcome Area open near Coronado H – stop by and say hello! Retinal screenings begin. Meet new friends and enjoy pool time! It's very easy to find other FFLers – look for the bracelets and FFL tees! Sports Central opens. Discussion groups and informal social get togethers will be held to help people meet each other. Staff dinner and team-building at Splitsville.
  • Wednesday, July 5:
    Focus groups, sessions, and symposia. Youth programming available all day, by pre-registration only. TrialNet and Celiac screenings begin. Retinal screenings continue. Pump Trials begin. The Teen program begins in the afternoon. Sports Central is open. First Timers Orientation – 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. Crystal Bowersox performance.
  • Thursday, July 6:
    Opening Keynote breakfast. Sessions for adults, parents, grandparents, and youth are offered all day. Free full day childcare available for 5 and under, preregistration only. Sports Central, Screenings, and Pump Trials 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! The theme this year is FFL Country Jamboree!
  • Friday, July 7:
    Sessions for adults and children all day. Free full day childcare available for 5 and under, preregistration only. Teens are offsite at a Disney's Animal Kingdom; (Important note: Teens must attend all four sessions on Thursday in order to participate on Friday); Sports Central and Screenings continue. Pump Trials continue. The Exhibit Hall closes at 4 p.m. There will be a Young Adult Dinner for ages 18-25. Dessert and Posters with the Faculty is back (all ages welcome), as is the T1 Adults Social Event (T1 Adults and their partners) and Family Movie Night (for the younger crowd and their parents).
  • Saturday, July 8:
    Morning discussion groups, cooking session, and THE BETES program. Saturday evening features the Teen Dance and Tween Social. The Family Fun Night (for any age) will also be back this year. Sports Central is open until 3:00 pm.
  • Sunday, July 9:
    Farewell Breakfast, tearful goodbyes

Insulin Pump Trials

Insulin 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:

  • Omnipod
    Wednesday through Friday in El Paso 2 behind North Registration
    Email Janet Tedeschi at to sign up and for instructions
  • Tandem Diabetes Care - t:slim® Insulin Pump
    Wednesday and Thursday in in El Paso 1 behind North Registration
    Contact Jenny Vandevelde at 255-6312 or to sign up and for instructions
    Tandem Pump trials are available to individuals ages 6 and greater

TrialNet Screening

A TrialNet team will be on site performing screenings beginning on Wednesday and continuing through Friday in Central Registration / Laredo 1-2. Family members who do not have type 1 diabetes can be screened for risk factors and can participate in important clinical trials. For more information about this important study, visit the Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet web site.

Celiac Screening

Celiac, an autoimmune condition like type 1 diabetes, is much more common among people with type 1 diabetes than the general population. To help our families at Friends for Life Orlando, a team from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital, led by Dr. Alessio Fasano, will offer celiac screenings beginning on Wednesday and continuing through Friday in Central Registration / Laredo 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.

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 at Rutgers University will be on site performing free, non-mydriatic (no pupil dilation) 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.

What Does Registration Include?

Conference Registration Includes:

  • All sessions and session materials for adults and children
  • Childcare for children age 5 and under
  • Wednesday Grand Opening Reception (6:00 p.m.)
  • Thursday breakfast, lunch, and snack breaks
  • Thursday Family and Friends Banquet (dinner)
  • Friday lunch and snack breaks
  • Friday Off Site Day for teens
  • Saturday events
  • Sunday Farewell Breakfast
  • All of the various receptions/socials (Teen Dance, Tween Social, Dessert with the Faculty)
  • One t-shirt per registered 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.

For the teens who participate in the Teen Day offsite at Disney's Animal Kingdom, 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). Participants 18 and older are in the adult group, even if they have just graduated from high school. Children must participate in the age group of their current age at the time of the conference. This is per our insurance, and there are no exceptions.

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

Get discounted tickets for Disney theme parks
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.

Sleeping rooms include 2 queen 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 $153 + tax. This rate is available from July 1, 2017 to July 11, 2017 for those families who might want to extend their vacation. In support of the Friends for Life conference, $15 per room night will be donated by Disney back to CWD.

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.

Hotel Reservation Link

You may reserve a room online at

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

  • Disney’s Online booking site is available for booking, modifying and canceling reservations 24/7. Should you need assistance while booking your reservation, please contact Group Reservations by calling 407-939-4686 during business hours – Monday - Friday.
  • The dates offered on the site for room reservations are those dates that CWD has contracted. If you would like to book hotel nights before or after that, you will need to contact the Housing office to inquire about availability.
  • Please put the names and ages for any children in your group under the “other information” section of the guest information landing page.
  • 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 during the busy July 4 holiday week. 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, including sponsorship and exhibitor information, contact Laura Billetdeaux at 734-353-9294 or .


Cancellation policy:
Cancellations prior to June 1, 2017 will be refunded minus a $25 per person processing fee. After June 1, 2017, 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.

Special Guest
Amanda Jo

Amanda Jo is a country/Americana singer, songwriter, and entertainer from Nashville, Tennessee. She has been living well with Type 1 Diabetes for the past 17 years. She currently performs 200 shows a year across the United States in the duo Truckstop Honey. She has opened up for such national acts as Maddie and Tae, Chris Janson, Tyler Farr, and Marshall Tucker Band. 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
Billy Lee

Billy Lee is a country/Americana singer, songwriter, entertainer, and guitar player extraordinaire from Nashville, Tennessee. He currently performs over 200 shows a year across the United States in the duo Truckstop Honey. He has opened for such acts as John Mellencamp, David Allan Coe, Marshall Tucker Band, and Steve Wariner. He is also a proud Type 3 Diabetic. When he started dating his girlfriend Amanda Jo, he learned as much as he could about diabetes. The more he learned about diabetes, the more passionate he became in helping and encouraging those living well with it everyday. He co-wrote the song "Needle Free," which was recorded by Amanda Jo and American Idol contestant Adam Lasher, supporting research for a cure for type 1 diabetes. You can download the song for free at

Special Guest
Lauren Adams

In the 25 years since Lauren Adams' diagnosis, the 36-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
Brandon Denson

Brandon Denson was diagnosed with type 1 when he was a senior in high school. He never let it stop him from reaching his goals in life. Brandon went on to play college football at Michigan State and in 2011 was drafted to play pro-football in Canada for the Montreal Alouettes. In 2016, Brandon competed on the television show American Ninja Warrior where he proudly displayed both his Dexcom site and pump site during the competition. The Diabetes Dude is very happy to sponsor Brandon Denson this year at the Friends for Life Orlando conference and looks forward to meeting with the families that attend!

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

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. Her appearance on The Voice led to recording deals and the release of her first single, “Boyfriend,” which climbed the Billboard Country Music charts. RaeLynn was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost a decade ago at age 12. Today, RaeLynn has partnered with Novo Nordisk, a global health care company dedicated to diabetes care, to raise awareness of the importance of properly managing blood sugar levels. She wants to demonstrate to others living with diabetes that the condition should not hinder them from following their dreams but instead can be integrated into their lives and ambitions.

Special Guest
Crystal Bowersox

Nashville recording artist Crystal Bowersox has been performing for audiences since she was 10 years old. Her soulful, stirring approach to American music has been met with critical acclaim. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age six, Crystal understands what it's like to be a child with diabetes. As an adult, she actively advocates for diabetes awareness and education, and visits diabetes camps as an ambassador for Lilly Diabetes. Crystal also manages a busy touring schedule and will release her next album later this year. For more, visit or follow her on Facebook and Twitter: @CrystalBowersox.

Special Guest
Kris Freeman

New Hampshire native and four-time Olympian, Kris Freeman has been skiing since the age of 3. Now on the brink of becoming one of only a handful of American athletes to compete in five Winter Olympics, Kris is showing the world what’s possible with type 1 diabetes. Diagnosed at age 19 -- just prior to competing in his first Olympics -- Kris refused to let diabetes stop him from pursuing his goals and has since logged some of the best finishes for a U.S. skier ever, including winning 17 National Championships. When away from the sport, Kris visits diabetes summer camps as an ambassador for Lilly Diabetes and shares his story to help people understand that with proper diabetes management and care, dreams can come true. Follow Kris on Twitter: @TeamFreeBirdXC.

Special Guest
Will Cross

Mountain Climber Will Cross has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1976 when he was diagnosed at the age of nine. Will was told that it was unlikely he would live to be 30 years old because of diabetes. In the 40 years since, he became passionate about high-altitude mountaineering and has ascended the highest peaks on all seven continents and walked to both the North and South Poles. Will seeks to get the message out that if he can control his diabetes in these conditions, no one should feel hindered by diabetes. Will’s participation is part of Tandem Diabetes Care’s Live Life in Full Color speaker series.

Special Guest
KJ Dillon

K.J. Dillon is a safety for the Houston Texans. He was drafted in 2016 from West Virginia University. Prior to his freshman year, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. His diagnosis hasn’t stopped him from succeeding on the field, finishing his rookie season with five tackles, and making appearances in five games. As a native to Apopka, FL, K.J. is looking forward to being back in his hometown to connect with families at FFL. Stop by ADA booth (#612) during the opening reception (7/5 from 6:30 – 8pm) to say hello! You can connect with K.J. on Twitter - @K_DILLON20 or Instagram - @kj_dillon9.

  Friends for Life Orlando 2017 Conference  
  Introduction - Registration - Sponsors - Exhibitors - Convention Center Map - FAQs  
  Información en Español - Registro para la Conferencia - Facultad Sesiones Español - Programa  
  Faculty: Parent & Adult - Youth - Spanish Track - Grandparents - Nightscout - Sports Central - Retinal Screening - CWD Fellows - CWD Staff  
  Conference Schedule: Parents and Adults - Youth - Meet Ups - Childcare Form  
  Reports from 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  

  Back to Activities Return to the Top of This Page

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