Friends for Life: LA 2004 - Comments from Participants
Here are selected comments from participants:
- After the CWD conference and returning to my office, I began as I usually do with my daily ritual of stopping at 7-11 and picking up my morning cup of coffee. As I sipped away, I notice a man leaving the store with his little girl in tow. She was about the same age as Kaitlyn was when she was diagnosed almost 12 years ago, maybe only 2 1/2.
Impulsively the little girl began to march with her high kicking legs taking big steps and she was playing a make believe instrument in a make believe marching band, probably a trombone, because kids do that sort of think. As I watched her father enjoy her antics, I reflected; on a past, on the conference, our lives without and our lives with diabetes.
During this conference we 'celebrated' the fifth anniversary of the CWD conferences. My initial reflection was a bit of anger as I realized that it was an anniversary I wished I would never have had to be part to begin with, it's unfair, it was not in the plan; but my angry face gave way to a faint smile as I realized what we did celebrate during that week in July. We came together and learned that the lives we lead are not much different than others and more importantly that what does make our lives different, certainly does not make them to be faced alone.
Kids hold hands, give high fives, and have fun; parents and kids confide in leadership, with each other and become friends; we learn, we laugh, we blow hard into instruments that will never work, we enjoy; we meet a Gold Medal Olympian, a World Class Pilot, an Australian Band and even a Miss America; we have fun, we reflect on a quilt, have a drink with a friend and perhaps even cry a little as well. And we grow. We grow strong; both in one voice and together.
As the man drove away without, perhaps, the same thoughts all of us may live with daily, I knew that I wanted back the time when my daughter's carefree antics were the only rule of the day. But I also knew I was grateful to CWD for all the good things that have been given back to us in education, knowledge, insightfulness and friendships. In a world of make believe trombones and marching bands, our kids' dreams still become brighter and that is good because kids need that sort of thing…..and so do moms and dads. Thank you CWD.
--Tom Karlya, 2004
- About five minutes after I left the conference hotel with a family friend, I started bawling my eyes out. The 5 year old child sitting next to me looked at me, and then at her father driving the car and said innocently, "What's wrong with him?"
What was wrong with me was that I had only been gone 5 minutes, and I already missed some of my greatest friends. In just 3 years of conferences, I've managed to meet more great people than I could've imagined. These people have made diabetes one of the best things that ever happened to me. Even if I have to test, bolus, change sites, etc., I wouldn't give these friends up for anything. Thanks to everyone who makes the conferences possible, I don't know what I would've done without you.
- This was our second conference and we had a fabulous time. The most awesome thing to me is the connection we felt with people we had never met. There are so many negative things about diabetes, but the conference helps bring out some positive things. The most important being truly making “Friends for Life." Chelsea (13yr) met up with girls her age and they had a great time together and being a part of IDYA. She and Allyson (Mike's daughter) hit it off and spent a lot of time together. Jeremy met some new friends, but was glad to hook up with Timothy and share gameboy games. Rich and I volunteered several times and met a lot of new people. My mom, Midge, attended and had a great time. We were really glad to see a discussion group for grandparents as some of their issues are different from ours. You can get so tired of dealing with diabetes 24-7-365, but the conference gives me the boost to keep going. We are already looking forward to and planning for next year. Thanks for all you do.
- This was our first conference, and we have most definately made friends for life. We had a wonderful time, and we truly can not wait till next year. Looking at these pictures makes me feel so emotional, and realize that I miss everybody that I met. It has been such a positive experience for the entire Elarbi family. Thanks a million to all that made it happen.
- Once again an excellent conference ! We thank you very much for everything you do and for your brillance in bringing us all together. The most amazing thing happens for Donnie, is that every time we are around the CWD group, is that his average blood sugar #' 's drop from 50 to 100 points!! His teen group of friends at CWD have been such great support, and truly have made a difference in his life. The kids will forever be his lifeline and his "Friends For Life." For that there are not words enough to Thank You.
- This was my first conference and I am still talking about it at work. I wasn't sure how I would fit into the conference since I don't have kids -- I do inpatient education at the hospital I work at. I loved this conference! I learned so much from the presenters, parents and especially the kids -- what a dynamic group. It was well organized but without the stuffy, follow-the-rules feel of other conferences I have been to. Thanks for doing such a great job.
Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
- I want to extend my gratitude to you and anyone else responsible for starting these annual conferences. My son, Trent, has been Diabetic since age 4 (he is 9 now). This was the first time we did anything involving his Diabetes. It way exceeded our expectations!
I am so happy that I brought my family to this conference; we met so many nice people who share our everyday tasks of taking care of Trent. It is certainly not only his life long disease; it is our family as whole who takes care of Trent.
We live in California and plan on attending next year's Florida conference. It will be a great opportunity to show the kids Disney World and the Epcot Center. Thanks so much for having this awesome network.
- This was my first conference, as my son was dx on 12/1/03 and during this conference I learned so much. It was very well worth the investment. My son, was very happy especially being in the pool and running to my husband and I and saying, "Mom, everybody in the pool is diabetic." That is a comment that he has never said, as he is usually the only one in a room or in fact his school that is diabetic.
Then the children in the spa were discussing the new treatment and the "cure" as they were suggesting. The expression in their eyes was full of hope and thus amazing. This truly brought tears to my eyes. Nevertheless, this was a great moment.
- This was our second conference and although I couldn't wait to repeat the wonderful experience we had at our first conference, I didn't think there would be many new things to learn. I couldn't have been more wrong. We learned lots of new things, got new ideas on managing my granddaughter, Ashley's, diabetes and met lots of new, wonderfully supportive people. My family and I have vowed to come to every conference because now we know there is always going to be something new for us; new friends, new information, new ideas and new perspectives. We truly feel like this conference is the foundation and helping hand, that keeps us going, striving for better care for Ashley.
Thanks so much
Cindy, Lisa, Ashley & Alyssa
If you have comments about your experiences at Friends for Life: LA 2004 that you would like to share, send an e-mail to [email protected].
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