Back to Activities 2006 Conference and Expo

Friends for Life Logo

Friends for Life
Conference and Expo
July 19-23, 2006
Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World
Orlando, Florida

The Atrium at the Renaissance Orlando    

If one of these days I find Aladdin's lamp, my first wish would be to be able to bottle the days at the CWD meeting with all the experiences, people, joys, smiles, tears, knowledge.... My second wish would be to be able to open the bottle every day and take a little of this memorable, healing and enriching experience to illuminate my life.... My third wish, that each one of us can have a bottle.
--The Escobars about Friends for Life 2005

Children with Diabetes presents our 7th 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 Education for Children with Diabetes Foundation!

Special Guest
Will Cross

Photo of Will Cross
On May 23, 2006, Cross reached the summit of Mt. Everest and completed the NovoLog® Peaks and Poles Challenge - reaching the highest peak on each continent and visiting the North and South Poles. This remarkable achievement shows clearly that people with diabetes can accomplish anything.
-- Read more about Will

Special Guest
Chris Dudley

Chris Dudley is the president and founder of The Dudley Foundation, which is dedicated to kids and diabetes and provides educational programs, advocacy, and supports diabetes research. Through the foundation, he also established the only basketball camp in the country for children with diabetes.
-- Read more about Chris

Special Guest
Jay Leeuwenburg

Jay Leeuwenburg started more than 120 NFL games, played all five interior offensive line positions, and lined up against Hall of Famers during a nine-year NFL career. "Diabetes has not prevented me from enjoying a full and exciting life," he says, "and it doesn't have to limit you." Jay will autograph copies of his new book, "Yes I Can! Yes You Can! Tackle Diabetes And Win."
-- Read more about Jay

Special Guest
Nicole Johnson

Photo of Nicole Johnson Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999 and international diabetes advocate, will present "Planning a Successful Pregnancy" along with Dr. Fran Kaufman at the Friends for Life Conference 2006. As a new mother to Ava Grace, Nicole will share her personal insight and experiences.
-- Read more about Nicole

Special Guest
Gary Hall, Jr.

Gary Hall Jr. is the fastest swimmer in US history and in organized competition worldwide; he is a three-time Olympian, ten-time Olympic medalist (5 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze), American record-holder, and hero to millions of swimmers and diabetes patients.
-- Read more about Gary

Special Guest
Douglas Cairns

Photo of Douglas Cairns Douglas Cairns was a jet pilot and flight instructor in the British Royal Air Force when, in 1989, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. With his pilot's license revoked, Douglas left the RAF. In 2002, Douglas flew around the world in a light aircraft in 159 days, making 63 flights over 26,300 nautical miles and visiting 22 countries.
-- Read more about Douglas

Special Guest
Kris Freeman

"At age 19, I qualified to train with the U.S. Cross-Country Ski Team," says Kris Freeman, now 23. "But just three months after beginning, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes." Although his endocrinologist told Kris that his days as an elite athlete may be over, the young athlete was not willing to give up.
-- Read more about Kris

Special Guest
Kelly Close

Photo Kelly Close is founder and principal of Close Concerns, Inc., a consulting firm focused on diabetes. Concerns provides strategic advisory services to pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies as well as investment banks, venture capitalists, and private equity firms.
-- Read more about Kelly

Special Guest
Doug Burns

Doug Burns has won the Mr. USA, Mr. California and Mr. Southern States. He is the winner of Six Powerlifting Championships and an American Record holding strength athlete but he's also struggled through diabetes since he was seven.
-- Read more about Doug

Special Guest
Noah Moore

Noah Moore has had diabetes for the last 7 1/2 of his 23 years. He has spent the last two years traveling, performing and investigating diabetes in South America and China.
-- Read more about Noah

Special Guest
Phil Southerland

Phil Southerland is the founder and president of Team Type 1, a cycling team of 8 riders with Type 1 diabetes competing to win the Race Across America. Another objective is to show people with diabetes that their condition won't hold them back.
-- Read more about Phil

Special Guest
Harry Mahaffey

Harry Mahaffey is a saber fencer who placed 7th in the world at the Cadet 2006 World Championships. He was also the 2005 Under-14 U.S. National Champion. Harry also won a silver medal at the U.S. Junior Olympics.
-- Read more about Harry

Who Should Attend the 2006 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
  • Adults with type 1 diabetes and their spouses or partners
  • 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 for adults at the same time during most of the conference, with full two-day tracks on Thursday and Friday, as well as tracks for teens (ages 13+), tweeners (ages 10-12) and school-age children (ages 6-9). Sessions run each day from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Childcare, by pre-registration only, is available free of charge for children ages 0-5, for full days only. A detailed conference schedule will be available in January 2006. Please note that all conference participants under the age of 18 must have a parent or adult guardian staying with them at the hotel during the entire conference. This is for health and liability reasons, and there will be no exceptions.

Try an Insulin Pump!

Come to the conference and try a pump! Pump companies Animas, Medtronic MiniMed, and Smiths Medical offer would-be pumpers to try a pump using saline. 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, contact:

  • Animas:
    Val Valentino at 1-877-YES PUMP x1225 or

  • Medtronic MiniMed
    Julie Sweidan at 1-800-999-9859 x4514 or

  • Smiths Medical:
    Marilyn Graff at 1-800-544-4734 x7201 or

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 19, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will be located in the hotel's Convention Center (right where the rest of the conference will be). A See the Focus Group Schedule for descriptions of the presenting companies, topics, and times. Each focus group will be 90 minutes in length. You will need to pre-register for individual focus groups. Space is limited, so register early.

The Conference Hotel

Photo Located directly across from SeaWorld Orlando, adjacent to Discovery Cove, the Renaissance Orlando Resort at SeaWorld combines the enchantment of America's favorite playground with its own imaginative style. The result is a winning combination of location, superb amenities, and unexpected touches that create an extraordinary experience for adults and children alike. A gilded Venetian Aviary alive with exotic birds and tropical flora brings Florida's natural beauty into the sun-filled lobby. The fusion of color extends to the Renaissance guest rooms, which are among the largest in central Florida.

The Renaissance Orlando Resort has a large outdoor Olympic-size swimming pool, a large deck area with a shaded snack bar (serving sandwiches and salads, as well as more traditional snacks), as well as a separate kiddie pool and playground for younger children. There are three lighted tennis courts and a sand volleyball court, as well as an outdoor basketball court. For those interested in relaxation, there is a full-service spa and salon, as well as a state of the art fitness center right in the hotel.

All guest rooms offer a king bed with a sleeper sofa or double queen-sized beds. Oversized bathrooms feature luxurious LATHER bath amenities and double sinks. Each room has a hairdryer, ironing board, and iron. All guest rooms feature business-friendly amenities such as high-speed Internet access (daily fee). Room rates are $149 + tax per night. If you are staying at the Renaissance, you must reserve a room within the CWD room block in order to participate in the conference.

Corporate Suites may be reserved for hospitality events or entertaining.


You can reserve a room online, or, if you would prefer to reserve by phone, please call 1-800-266-9432 or 1-801-832-4532 M-F 8 a.m.-9 p.m. central time. Do not use the central Marriott 800 number to book within the CWD room block; the central reservations area does not have access to it. The Children with Diabetes room block is available on a first-come, first-served, basis.

Conference Facilities

The outside terrace The Renaissance Orlando Resort offers over 185,000 square feet of meeting space which can break down into 45 separate meeting rooms. Three-bay direct access loading docks and a drive-up ramp are located directly behind the Oceans Ballroom (the Exhibit Hall). The Exhibit Hall is 36,000 square feet, has a 22' ceiling, and is designed with floor panels hardwired for power, phone, and internet. A sound system is built-in. The Business Center is open daily to assist with any business needs, large or small, for any conference participant. Wireless internet is available in the convention area.

The Exhibit Hall

The Exhibit Hall (Oceans Ballroom) will open from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening for a Gala Opening Reception, sponsored by Roche Diagnostics. Basketball favorite Chris Dudley will cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony and be on hand to meet kids and families. Additional Exhibit Hall hours will be posted for Thursday and Friday. Snack breaks on Thursday and Friday mid-morning and mid-afternoon will take place right outside the Exhibit Hall to allow everyone to re-fuel and re-visit those wonderful exhibits! Also, please note that a Low Station and a Coffee Refreshment Station will also be located in the Exhibit Hall on Thursday and Friday.

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.

A Note About Childcare

Childcare will be available to children 5 and under, including infants and toddlers, thanks to the support of Animas Corporation. Childcare will be located in the Coral Ballroom, just down the hall from all of 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 July 1, 2006. Childcare preregistration forms are available in Word and PDF formats. 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.

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.

How Do I Get to the Hotel?

The Renaissance Orlando Resort is located about 11 miles from the Orlando International Airport (code MCO). If you are flying to Orlando, you may either take a taxi to the hotel (about $30 one-way) or rent a vehicle. All conference activities are located right on the Resort grounds, with the exception of the activities at Sea World and the Teen Day at Islands of Adventure. Sea World is a very short walking distance across the parking lot from the hotel (a shuttle will also be provided). CWD will provide a bus for the teens going to Islands of Adventure on Friday. If you plan to do other park activities (i.e., a visit to Disney or to Cape Canaveral), you may wish to rent a vehicle.

Directions to the hotel: Take Highway 528 (Beeline Expressway) west to Exit 1. Turn left off the exit. Proceed two traffic lights; turn right onto Sea Harbor Drive. The Renaissance is 1/8 mile ahead on the right.

What About the Parks?

The Friends for Life conference will officially be visiting Sea World as part of the Benefit Day for the Education for Children with Diabetes Foundation, sponsored by Abbott Diabetes Care, on Saturday, July 22. This is the only scheduled park day. On that morning, families will have breakfast on their own and walk (or shuttle) across to Sea World's Sea Harbor Plaza entrance. The ECWDF Benefit event is a lunch BBQ at Sea World's Sea Harbor Plaza, complete with a fabulous menu, some live critter entertainment, and a visit by the world-famous Clydesdale horses! Tickets are required for both the Benefit lunch and entrance to the park. The lunch tickets should be ordered on your conference registration form. These proceeds will benefit the Education for 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. This is a great opportunity to visit the many theme parks in the Orlando area (Universal Studios is nearby) 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. You must purchase your park tickets on your own (you may do so right at the park, or you may use the link which we provide).

2006 CWD Friend for Life Award Recipients

Dean Kamen
For Inventing the Insulin Pump And Thereby Forever Changing Diabetes Care
Al Mann
For Pioneering Work in Bringing Insulin Pump Therapy To Children and Adults With Diabetes

Read More About the CWD Friend for Life Awards

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 18, from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at the Poolside Terrace, we will be saying 'Thank you in advance!' to our many volunteers for the conference. Stop by and meet volunteer coordinators and CWD moms Mary Podjasek and 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! The Volunteers Reception is sponsored by BD.

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 BD, 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 park on Saturday. This is very casual and social. Snacks and beverages will be served. If you are new to CWD conferences, please don't miss this!

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 Sea World trail (a little less than a mile). The event begins at 7:30 a.m. sharp on Thursday -- location to be announced. 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 Education for Children with Diabetes Foundation, use the Fun Run Pledge Sheet to collect names and pledges. Breakfast will immediately follow the Kids Fun Run. The Fun Run is sponsored by Novo Nordisk.

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. Mum's the word. Tickets are required. The Family and Friends Banquet is sponsored by Novo Nordisk and LifeScan.

Teen Basketball Night with Chris Dudley
Since the teens are off-site all day Friday, this is their opportunity to meet basketball star Chris Dudley, to shoot some practice hoops, and play basketball with a real pro! From 9-11 p.m. -- please dress appropriately! Teens who don't wish to play can simply drop by to say hi to Chris, then spend time at the pool or at the dance/karaoke event in the ballroom. This evening with Chris Dudley is sponsored by Roche Diagnostics.

Singin' and Dancin'
Join the Hitchcock's, the Billetdeaux's, and all the other CWD staff families in the Crystal Ballroom from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. for Karaoke and dancing! (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 ... you have to listen to us sing! Snacks and beverages will be served. This is a continuation of the Banquet evening (sponsored by LifeScan and Novo Nordisk), however you do not need a special ticket to join us at 9:00 if you have opted not to come to the banquet.

Scavenger Hunt
Back this year in a little different format! Kids ages 6-17 will participate in a Scavenger Hunt in the Exhibit Hall Thursday and Friday during their session times. They will be divided into small groups and will be given a good-sized list of fun questions to answer ... and they will then visit different exhibitors to learn information about diabetes. Kids who complete this activity will get a really good prize! Teens need to participate in the Scavenger Hunt in order to participate in Friday's off-site at Islands of Adventure.

Teen Day at Islands of Adventure
Sponsored by Abbott Diabetes Care, this very special Teen Day on Friday is for kids age 13-17 who have participated in all four conference sessions on Thursday. We will be strict about this. Teens will have breakfast at the hotel on Friday morning, then board a Mears bus to Islands of Adventure. Abbott's sponsorship generously covers transportation, admission to the park, and lunch. Teens should bring spending money for other things if they wish. CWD Teen Coordinator Natalie Bellini will lead this outing, and will be supported by plenty of adult staff and volunteers.

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 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.

Teen Dinner Dance
From 7:00 p.m. to midnight on Friday, all teens (ages 13 and over) are invited to dress up and come on down to the Wedgewood Ballrom to have dinner (right at 7:00) and dance the night away! A 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! Sponsored by Unomedical.

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!

BBQ at the Sea Harbor Plaza
Start off Saturday morning with breakfast on your own, then head over to Sea World for a day of fun with other CWD families. CWD has exclusive use of the Sea Harbor Plaza from 11:30 3:30, and there will be lots of fun activities during this time, including visits by Sea World characters, visits by tropical birds, and even a Clydesdale appearance! Tram service from the Renaissance Resort to the Sea World Sea Harbor Plaza Gate will operate for our families. A yummy BBQ lunch will be served. Tickets are required for both the BBQ (order on your conference registration form) and entrance to Sea World (purchase at SeaWorld or via the link on the CWD website). This event is a fund-raiser for the Education for CWD Foundation, and is sponsored by Abbott Diabetes Care.

SeaWorld Tickets

CWD guests are invited to purchase
SeaWorld Convention Discount tickets.

View the Quilt for Life

Quilt Photo
Quilt Photo

Quilt Logo

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 July 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 19, 2006 and receive a full refund minus a $25 processing fee. After June 19, we are unable to provide a refund. Hotel room cancellation is subject to the rules of the resort.

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.

  2006 Conference and Expo  
  Conference Intro - Program Overview - Faculty - Youth Faculty - Special Guests  
  Schedules: Parents & Adults - Teens - Tweeners - Elementary Kids  
  Social Events - Focus Groups - Fun Run Pledge Sheet - FFL Award Recipients  
  Registration & Prices - FAQs - Sponsors - Exhibitors - Map of Attendees  
  Childcare Registration: Word - PDF  
  Reports from 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  


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