Back to Activities 2005 Conference and Expo

Friends for Life Logo

Friends for Life
Conference and Expo
July 6-9, 2005
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Disney Image  

Children with Diabetes presents our 6th annual family conference! Join 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 ideas for your family's diabetes management. Participate in parent discussion groups and find new, creative ways to help and motivate your children. Watch toddlers and teens, young parents and grandparents, new diabetes professionals and practiced clinicians make new and lifelong friendships. This is a conference you won't ever forget! And best of all, proceeds benefit the Children with Diabetes Foundation!

"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.

The Karlya Family, NY - Kaitlyn age 13 diagnosed 1992
Commenting on Friends for Life: Los Angeles 2004

Try an Insulin Pump!

Come to the conference and try a pump! Several pump companies -- Animas, Medtronic MiniMed, and Smiths Medical -- will be offering this great opportunity for potential would-be pumpers to try a pump using saline. Anyone interested in wearing a pump (with saline) may do so Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday at the conference. A prescription from your physician is required and must include the wording "insulin pump trial with saline."

This opportunity is by appointment only. Appointments will fill up quickly. For more information and to schedule an appointment with a specific pump company, contact the following individuals:

Val Valentino at 1-877-YES PUMP, extension 1225 or via e-mail at

Medtronic MiniMed
Julie Sweidan at 1-800-999-9859 x 4514 or via e-mail at

Smiths Medical:
Marilyn Graff at 1-800-544-4734 extension 7201 or via e-mail at

Other contact information will be posted as it is made available.

Opening Session Keynote Speaker - Will Cross

Photo of Will Cross
Will Cross, expedition leader and world-class athlete

Raised in England until age 12, Cross has worked continually for more than 24 years to overcome obstacles that accompany diabetes. At 18, he received HRH Prince Charles' special permission to participate in Operation Raleigh, an international program that organizes young people from 17 to 23 to do service projects around the world.

Cross presently endeavors to achieve what is known as the NovoLog® Peaks and Poles Challenge - reaching the highest peak on each continent and visiting the North and South Poles. He is on target to become the first American and first person with diabetes to do so, with a projected completion date of summer 2005.

Cross wants to show the tens of millions of people with diabetes that they don't have to be defined by their disease. He wants to prove that there are no diabetics -- only people who happen to have diabetes -- and that those with the condition can manage it successfully.

Banquet Keynote Speaker -
Jay Hewitt

Photo of Jay Hewitt
Ironman Triathlete Jay Hewitt

Jay is an Ironman Triathlete, member of the U.S. National Team, living and training in Greenville, S.C. He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1991 at the age of 24 during his first year of law school. He began racing Ironman triathlons in 2002 because the training and races were so mentally and physically challenging. Jay races Ironmans to prove that diabetes cannot stop him from achieving his goals. He states that he is honored if he can inspire others to overcome any obstacle to achieve their dreams. To Jay, diabetes is an opportunity, not an obstacle. An opportunity to discover how strong you are, to prove that you have the discipline and determination to achieve your goals no matter what the obstacles. No matter how difficult or challenging the day - or the race - may be, Jay tells himself, "You will not quit."

Friday Luncheon Keynote Speaker - Douglas Cairns

Photo of Douglas Cairns
Pilot Douglas Cairns

Douglas Cairns was a jet pilot and flight instructor in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) when, in 1989, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 25. With his pilot's license revoked because of his diabetes, Douglas left the RAF, changed career and relocated to Thailand.

In 1999, Douglas discovered that the United States had introduced a scheme that could allow him to fly solo on a full private pilot's license assuming he could meet the medical requirements. He met the medical requirements in 2000 and regained the freedom to fly solo 11 years after being grounded. At present, the USA is the only country in the world that can issue a full license to individuals with type 1 diabetes to exercise full Private Pilot License privileges.

In 2002, Diabetes World Flight was born to demonstrate to worldwide aviation authorities that it is possible for such pilots to fly safely according to the US FAA regulations. Douglas flew around the world in a light aircraft in 159 days, making 63 flights over 26,300 nautical miles and visiting 22 countries. The longest flight was 11 hours, flown solo between Hawaii and San Francisco. He is a living example that diabetes does not have to limit the scope of our dreams and ambitions.

Opening Ceremony Speaker -
Michael Hunter

Photo of Michael Hunter
Michael Hunter, the only insulin dependent aerobatics pilot in the world

Michael Hunter is the only known insulin dependent aerobatics pilot in the world. His own dream of becoming a fighter pilot ended when he was diagnosed with diabetes in 1981 at age 17 and was told he'd never fly again due to a world-wide ban on diabetic pilots. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lifted the ban in 1997 due to advances in diabetes control. And, after being told for 20 years that he would never fly, he made history as the first diabetic person to receive an FAA low-altitude aerobatic airshow license.

Hunter experiences G-forces of more than eight times the force of gravity in his Laser 230 monoplane during his aerobatic performances. The state-of-the-art equipment in his cockpit includes an ACCU-CHEK® Compact blood glucose meter and an insulin pump that automatically administers insulin to him every three minutes. Hunter even checks his blood sugar during his performance, while flying 200mph upside down, in order to demonstrate how easy the latest diabetes management tools are to use.

Hunter will attend the 2005 Friends for Life Annual Conference to talk to kids about living their dreams. Come and ride Michael Hunter's Flight Simulator, where you can experience that same unsurpassed level of realism and freedom, with the rush and excitement of Michael's 230 horsepower "Flight for Diabetes" Laser airplane. This is your chance to fly the same maneuvers that Michael Hunter does in air shows across the country.

Teen Advocacy Speaker -
Nicole Johnson

Photo of Nicole Johnson
Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, Diabetes Advocate

Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999, is an international diabetes advocate. She travels extensively promoting awareness, prevention, and early detection of the condition she shares. Under her consulting firm, Johnson Baker works as a lobbyist and advisor for patient groups and biotech companies, including Animas Corporation, Eli Lilly & Company, and GSP Consulting. She spends most of her time engaging lawmakers at both the state and federal levels on all diabetes-related matters.

Nicole was recently named the first Ambassador for the International Diabetes Federation's Life for a Child program, which advocates for endangered children with diabetes around the world. In 2005, Johnson Baker also launched a national essay competition and website called Diabetes Heroes. In addition, Johnson Baker co-hosts the new weekly television show on CNBC, dLife, She also writes monthly columns for Diabetes Health and Georgetown University's MyCareTeam website. Her three books include her autobiography, Living with Diabetes, which, in part, chronicles her experiences as Miss America 1999. She is busily completing a new book, her third cookbook, to be released in early 2006.


Who Should Attend the 2005 Event?

  • Families and Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes
  • Teens, school-age children, and younger children
  • Kids with type 1 diabetes and their siblings
  • Their parents
  • Health care professionals who work with diabetes
  • View the Map of Attendees

A Word About The Program

The education program is designed to run four sessions and/or discussion groups at the same time during most of the conference, with full two-day tracks on Thursday and Friday for adults, as well as tracks for teens (ages 13+), tweeners (ages 10-13) and school-age children (ages 6-9). Sessions run each day from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Childcare is available free of charge for children ages 0-6, for full days only (see information below). A detailed conference schedule will be available in January. Please note that all conference participants under the age of 18 must have a parent or adult guardian with them during the entire conference. This is for health and liability reasons, and there will be no exceptions.

Join a Focus Group!

CWD is pleased to announce a day of Focus Groups at the Friends for Life Conference. The focus groups will be held on Wednesday, July 6, and will be located in the Coronado Springs Resort Convention Center (right where the rest of the conference will be). See the Focus Group Schedule for companies and times.

The Conference Hotel

Coronado Springs

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort is the newest Walt Disney World® Conference facility and is located near Magic Kingdom® Park, Epcot®, Disney-MGM 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. Watercraft and bike rentals are offered. A jogging trail winds around the 15-acre lake. Complimentary Disney bus transportation is available between the Hotel and all Disney Theme Parks.

Hotel rooms include 2 double beds or a king bed, refrigerator, high speed internet (fee for service), ceiling fan, coffee maker, wall safe, telephone with voice mail and data port. Room rates are $141 + tax. Wireless high speed internet is available in public areas of the hotel, including the lobby, conference center, and swimming pool.

Corporate Suites may be reserved for hospitality events or entertaining.

For housing reservations, call Disney directly at 407-939-1020. Be sure to say you are with the Children with Diabetes conference. The Children with Diabetes room block is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Conference Facilities

Disney's Coronado Springs Convention Center offers over 95,000 square feet of flexible conference space on one level, including the Coronado Ballroom, housing the Exhibit Hall, General Sessions, and the Family and Friends Banquet. Convenient truck access to 10 loading docks is available for exhibitors. Booth-controlled A/V, closed-circuit TV, satellite links, and fiber-optic capabilities are available to presenters and exhibitors. The Coronado Business Center is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to assist with any business needs, large or small, for any conference attendee.

The Exhibit Hall

The Exhibit Hall will open from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening for a Gala Opening Reception, sponsored by Roche Diagnostics. Additional Exhibit Hall hours are 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and noon to 2:00 p.m. on Friday. A breakfast buffet is offered to attendees on both Thursday and Friday just outside the Exhibit Hall. Thursday's breakfast will be held from 8:00 - 9:00, directly following the CWD Foundation Fun Run. Both events are sponsored by Novo Nordisk Morning and afternoon snack breaks on Thursday and Friday also will be provided directly outside the Exhibit Hall. Lunch will be offered to all participants both days as well, with Thursday's lunch sponsored by Smiths Medical MD, Inc.

A Note About Childcare

Childcare will be available to children 6 and under, including infants and toddlers, thanks to the support of Animas Corporation. Childcare will be located in Durango 1 and 2, just down the hall from the conference sessions. Kid's Nite Out will be providing the caregivers. Again this year, Animas will be offering the support of certified diabetes educators to assist with diabetes management and concerns. Please note that Pre-Registration for childcare is necessary and must be received by June 15, 2005. Childcare preregistration forms will be available online on January 1. Childcare will not be available on a drop-in basis. Additionally, childcare will only be available for full days. This is necessary for appropriate staffing ratios, particularly for the younger children.

For school-aged children, tweeners and teens, we have some very exciting activities planned! Much more play time, much less sit-down time! This year, CWD is pleased to offer an indoor air-conditioned gym area, complete with basketball, volleyball, and other fun games and activities thanks to the generosity of Novo Nordisk. In addition, we plan to utilize the pool and sand volleyball areas, as well as the poolside playground during sessions with the kids. Our staff will be integrating learning objectives with lots of outdoor and indoor play. Each of the age groups will have a home base within the conference area. This is where they will meet each morning. Everyone will break for snack and lunch at the same time (including parents), and the fun will resume in the afternoon! Details will be posted by January 1. Please note that children, tweener, and teen sessions are appropriate for all children, not just those with type 1 diabetes.

Please contact Laura Billetdeaux for additional information () regarding in-room childcare. In-room sitting may be scheduled for evenings as well. In-room sitting is not covered by the Animas sponsorship; parents are required to pay for in-room childcare.

Lots of Goodies!

Make sure to plan for plenty of time in the conference Exhibit Hall. As always, the exhibitors will have lots of goodies for all conference participants! You may want to consider leaving extra room in your suitcases as you pack for all of the items you will be bringing home. We are not kidding about this.

Information on Airport Shuttles

Conference participants requiring transportation between Orlando and Walt Disney World may want to consider the new shuttle system that Disney will be offering beginning May 1. More details will be posted on this as they become available, however our understanding is that this is a free bus service between the Orlando airport and Disney hotel resorts. Alternately, you may wish to rent a vehicle. While the Disney bus transportation system between the parks and hotels is excellent, a car will afford you more flexibility. We do recommend that you rent a vehicle if you plan to visit areas outside Walt Disney World (i.e., other theme parks in the area, the beach).

What About the Parks?

The Friends for Life conference will officially be visiting Magic Kingdom and Epcot as part of the Children with Diabetes Foundation Benefit Day, sponsored by Abbott Diabetes Care, on Saturday, July 9. This is the only scheduled park day. On that morning, families will enjoy a Magical Memories character breakfast at the Coronado Springs Resort. They will then either take the complementary Disney bus or their own vehicles to Magic Kingdom or Epcot, and enjoy the attractions until late evening. A parade and fireworks will top off the evening at Magic Kingdom; the Illuminations show will complete the evening at Epcot. Tickets are required for both breakfast and entrance to the park. Magical Memories breakfast tickets may be ordered on your conference registration form. Breakfast ticket proceeds for Saturday's event will benefit the Children with Diabetes Foundation.

We know from past conference years that many families will be extending their stay in Orlando either before or after the actual conference dates, particularly as this year's conference backs up to the July 4th holiday weekend. This is a great opportunity to visit the many theme parks in the Orlando area with other CWD families, or simply to hang by the pool, talk with other parents, or read a good book! Please note that a wide variety of theme park ticket options is available, ranging from single day passes to multiple-day passes, some including the Disney water parks as well. You must purchase your park tickets on your own (you may do so at the hotel when you arrive, online, or at Disney stores). For the convenience of our conference participants, Disney is offering specially-priced tickets at the link below.

For Advance Purchase of Specially-Priced Disney PARK HOPPER® Meeting/Convention Theme Park Tickets, Exclusive to Meeting/Convention Guests and Family Members, click the image above.

Social Events

The Friends for Life conference offers many wonderful opportunities for socializing, whether they are scheduled events or spur-of-the-moment gatherings. Please make note of the following, which are the structured events that we've planned for each day. If a ticket is required, it is noted by the event. These are listed chronologically:

Volunteers Reception - Tuesday evening, July 5, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the La Mesa Patio (indoors if weather is inclement), we will be saying 'Thank you in advance!' to our many volunteers for the conference. Stop by and meet volunteer coordinator and CWD mom Lauren Lanning, get your volunteer assignment, pick up your volunteer shirt, and stay for snacks and beverages. Then… head off to the pool. The conference starts tomorrow!

First-Timers Reception - My, there are a lot of people at this conference! This is a little scary! How will we ever meet anyone? Come to the First-Timers Reception, sponsored by Unomedical, on Wednesday from 3:00 - 4:30 to meet Jeff Hitchcock and Laura Billetdeaux, and hundreds of other family members who are new to CWD conferences. Learn about 'the flow' of the conference, how meal and snack times work, what to do about getting your children to childcare and sessions, and what to do at the parks on Saturday. This is very casual and social. Snacks and beverages will be served.

CWD Foundation Fun Run and Breakfast - What better way to get the kids off on the right foot than a Fun Run! Join our sponsor Novo Nordisk for a 'once around' the Coronado Springs Resort lake (less than a mile). The event begins at 7:30 a.m. sharp on Thursday. You can run, jog, or simply stroll. This activity is especially for children of all ages, although parents are most welcome to join in the exercise and fun. Medals will be presented to all children who participate. If your child wishes to use this as an opportunity to raise a few dollars for the Children with Diabetes Foundation, use the Fun Run Pledge Sheet to collect names and pledges. Breakfast will immediately follow the Kids Fun Run.

Family and Friends Banquet - Join us Thursday evening from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. for a fabulous buffet dinner and some entertainment you will never forget. Jeff Hitchcock, Founder and President of CWD, will look back on 10 years of CWD and share some of his best memories with you. Ironman Triathlete Jay Hewitt will get you pumped up to conquer that next challenge, whatever it may be, and Mickey Mouse will help out with some great entertainment that will leave everyone ready to dance the night away! Tickets are required.

Teen Dance - From 9:00 p.m. to midnight on Thursday, all teens (ages 13 and over) are invited to dress up and come on down to Durango in the Convention Center to dance the night away! A Disney DJ will spin the tunes, and an ice cream sundae bar will be provided at 10 p.m. This is a 'dressy' event - please no gym shorts, jeans, or cut-offs!

Tweener Sports Night - Sports Central, sponsored by Novo Nordisk, is reserved only for our Tweener group from 9:00 p.m. to midnight! Play volleyball and basketball, or participate in other activities and games in the Sports Central area. An ice cream sundae bar will be available to Tweeners in Coronado C/D at 10:00 p.m.

Oldies Dance - Ok, so we're showing our age. Join the Hitchcock's, the Billetdeaux's, and all the other CWD staff families in the Coronado Ballroom from 9:00 p.m. to midnight for an Oldies Dance (this is the same place as the Banquet - you don't even need to move!). Kids of all ages are welcome ... but we're warning you ... this is our music! For the younger crowd, Disney characters will be visiting the ballroom intermittently throughout the evening. Bring your camera and autograph book! Snacks and beverages will be served.

Scavenger Hunt - New this year! Kids ages 6-17 will participate in a Scavenger Hunt in the Exhibit Hall Thursday and Friday during their session times. They will be given a Scavenger Card (similar to a bingo card) and will be visiting different sponsor booths to learn information about diabetes. Kids who complete this activity will get a really good prize! Teens need to complete their Scavenger Hunt on Thursday; their prize will be a ticket to Typhoon Lagoon for the field trip on Friday.

Friday Night at Sports Central - Everyone is on their own for dinner on Friday… but make sure you come back for a fun evening of volleyball, basketball, and some great company in Sports Central (open 7:00 to midnight)! All ages are welcome, although younger children (under age 10) should have parents with them.

Tweener Night - It's a surprise! An evening sponsored by LifeScan that even WE don't know about! From 9:00 - midnight… wear your tennies, just in case!

Teen's Home Base - From 9:00 p.m. to midnight on Friday, Durango will be set up with a boom box and some snacks. Teens are welcome to bring their own music, dance, or simply hang out with friends. It is fine to come and go from this area if teens want to swim, play basketball or volleyball in Sports Central, or go to the arcade. There will be snacks and beverages for teens only in this area.

Magical Memories Breakfast - Start off Saturday morning with a very special Magical Memories character breakfast in the Coronado Ballroom. Princes and princesses from your favorite Disney stories will be on hand to welcome your family, sign autographs and pose for photos with your children. Breakfast will be healthy and yummy and will extend from 7:30 - 9:30 a.m. (Disney characters will appear from 8:00 - 9:30). Tickets are required. Then it is off to the park (you must purchase Disney park tickets on your own)! Don your conference t-shirt and some sunscreen, and head for Magic Kingdom or Epcot. CWD will have staff in both parks in case you need assistance. Make sure you stay to see the parades and fireworks or Illuminations laser show. They are spectacular!

View the Quilt for Life

Birthdate. Diagnosis date. Pumping date. 3 am blood sugar checks. Wishing for a cure. Smiles. Lots of smiles. All are in the Quilt for Life, part of Children with Diabetes. For many, diabetes is about numbers. For us, diabetes is about Marissa and Sam and Lori and Justin and the tens of thousands of other children with diabetes. In the Quilt for Life, diabetes is transformed from the impersonal to the personal, from the abstract world of numbers to the real world of children living everyday with finger sticks and insulin injections. In the Quilt for Life, we all see the wonder of our kids and we rededicate ourselves to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.

The Quilt for Life will be on Display in the Exhibit Hall from Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon, during the open hours of the Exhibit Hall. Please make sure to stop by and see it. If you don't have a quilt square made yet in honor of your child, there is still time to make your own! Quilt squares that are submitted by June 1 will be on display with the entire quilt at Friends for Life!

Cancellation Policy

You may cancel your conference registration with CWD until June 1, 2005 and receive a full refund minus a $25 processing fee. After June 1, we are unable to provide a refund. Hotel room cancellation is subject to the rules of the resort at which you are staying.

For More Information

For additional information regarding the Friends for Life conference, please contact Laura Billetdeaux via email () or by phone during business hours eastern time, Monday - Friday, 734-428-8265.


  2005 Conference and Expo  
  2005 Conference - Program Overview - Faculty  
  Schedules: Parents & Adults - Kids & Teens  
  Social Events - Focus Groups - Fun Run Pledge Sheet  
  Registration & Prices - FAQs - Sponsors - Exhibitors  
  Menus - Childcare Registration: Word - PDF  
  Reports from 2004 Conference - 2003 Conference  

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