Back to Activities 2008 Friends for Life Conference and Expo

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Friends for Life Conference and Expo
July 23-27, 2008
Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World
Orlando, Florida

Bring your whole family for the time of your life

Spend time at the Quilt for Life

Have fun with Intissar and Laura

Teen's have their own programming--and the Teen Dance

Even parents enjoy dancing after the Banquet

Join your friends for a day at Universal Studios

Meet your old -- and make new -- friends for life

Learn from world class experts like Dr. David Harlan from the NIDDK

Grandparents learn from Betty Brackenridge and ...

... siblings get attention from Richard Rubin

Learn about the latest in diabetes care products in our Exhibit Hall

Participate in a Focus Group on Wednesday


You have given me a gift beyond all proportion. Ross had a ball. He seems to have a new attitude and patience with me. Rachel has made connections with both siblings and those teens close to her age who are type one. I met parents, learned and learned to relax, too. Thank you. I will never be able to put it into words. I hope you know how I feel. I think you do. Ross is already nagging me about next year. He wants us to be "the first to sign up".
--Susan about Friends for Life 2007

The Friends for Life experience is like the perfect multivitamin yearly dose. You take one and it makes you feel so good that you want to keep on taking it. It contains all vitamins from A-Z, C as in Caring, S as in Sharing, L as in Learning, H as in Hugs, F as in Friends. Recommended for Families with Diabetes. Secondary effects: You feel you are not alone; you feel totally recharged. May cause some type of addiction. No FDA approval needed. No sugar, No transfats, No alcohol.
--Adriana Cordoba about Friends for Life 2007

Children with Diabetes presents our 9th 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!

Who Should Attend the 2008 Event?

  • Families and individuals with type 1 diabetes
  • Young adults, teens, school-age children, and younger children
  • Kids with type 1 diabetes and their siblings and their best buddies
  • Their parents
  • Adults with type 1 diabetes and their spouses or partners
  • Health care professionals who work with type 1 diabetes

The Conference Venue and Reservations

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. The fusion of color extends to the Renaissance guest rooms, recently renovated, 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. There is a Starbucks and a sushi bar located in the lobby.

All guest rooms offer a king bed with a sleeper sofa or double queen-sized beds. Oversized bathrooms feature luxurious 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). Parking is available onsite for $12/day self-park and $16/day valet.

For housing reservations, you must call the Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World directly at 800-380-7917 (407-351-5555 if outside the United States). Room rates are $149 + tax. This rate is available three days prior to the conference as well as after the conference for those families who might want to extend their vacation. Please note that at this time, the Renaissance Orlando Resort is sold out for the conference dates.

Overflow housing is available at the Residence Inn Orlando/Sea World International Center, 11000 Westwood Blvd. This is about 1/2 mile from the Renaissance Orlando Resort. These accommodations are all-suite, and include complimentary hot breakfast buffet, high speed internet, and free parking. The rooms are either Studio Queen or Studio Queen/Queen and are priced at $135/night plus tax. To reserve a room, please call 1-800-228-9290 and say you are with the Children with Diabetes conference. Please note that at this time, the Residence Inn is nearly sold out for the conference dates.

A new overflow housing room block is now available at the Courtyard Marriott Village, 8623 Vineland Ave., in Lake Buena Vista. This is approximately 3 miles from the convention venue, and shuttle service to the Renaissance will be provided. Room rates are $129/night plus tax for a double room, and a full hot breakfast is included each morning in that price. There is a swimming pool on site, and this venue is within walking distance to many restaurants and shops. To reserve a room at the Courtyard, please call 1-800-228-9290 and state that you are with the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conference.

Parking is available onsite for $12/day self-park and $16/day valet.

Registering for the Conference

Every conference participant needs to register for Friends for Life. Pricing information is online under Registration information. Note that pricing information is provided for families and individuals, as well as for additional adults such as grandparents who might be joining a family. Registering for the conference is a separate process from making hotel reservations - please make sure that you do both (registering for the hotel only registers you for a hotel room and registering for the conference only registers you for the conference itself).

Conference Facilities

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.

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 Universal Studio and the Teen Day at a theme park offsite. CWD will provide a bus to and from Universal Studios on Saturday, or you may arrange your own transportation. For the Teen Day, bus transportation will also be provided. 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.

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. 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.

The Conference Schedule

Beginning with Focus Groups and the Grand Opening Reception on Wednesday through the Farewell Breakfast on Sunday morning, Friends for Life will keep everyone busy. Schedules for parents and adults and youth are online to help you decide on what sessions to attend.

Please note that all children must be with their appropriate age group on Thursday and Friday. The elementary program is for children ages 6-9; the tween program is for children ages 10-12, and the teen program is for ages 13-18. There is no 'skipping up' or 'skipping down.' This is per our insurance guidelines. No exceptions are allowed.

Childcare is available for children under age 6. It is right on site at the Renaissance, and CDEs will assist with diabetes care. Childcare will be divided into three rooms: the Kindergarten group, Pre-K group, and 3 and under. Childcare is free of charge but preregistration is required. Childcare is limited to 100 participants, so early registration is advised. Please see the registration page for more information.

Social Events

Friends for Life is as much about connecting and sharing as it is about learning, and we have many social events planned for all age groups. From special receptions to the Wake Up Workout to the Family and Friends Banquet to various dances and parties, you're sure to have a great time. See the Social Activities page for more information.

Try an Insulin Pump!

Come to the conference and try a pump! Pump companies Animas, Disetronic, Insulet, Medtronic Diabetes, Nipro Diabetes and Smiths Medical 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
    Val Valentino at 1-877-YES PUMP x1225 or
  • Disetronic Medical Systems Inc/Roche Diagnostics
    Terri Richert at 317-521-0268 or
  • Medtronic Diabetes
    Julie Sweidan at 1-800-999-9859 x4514 or
  • Nipro Diabetes
    Norma Gonzalez at 1-888-651-7867 x872 or
  • OmniPod Insulin Management System
    Janet Tedeschi 1-781-457-4804 or
  • Smiths Medical
    Marcela Naranjo at 651-628-7144 or

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 hotel atrium from Wednesday evening through Friday afternoon. 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 submitted by July 1, 2008 will be on display with the entire quilt at Friends for Life!

Cancellation Policy

You may cancel your conference registration with CWD until June 23, 2008 and receive a full refund minus a $50 processing fee. After June 23, 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.

Please refer to the links below for more information about registration, pricing, program schedule, speakers, and childcare.

Team Type 1
Special Guest
Phil Southerland

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

Special Guest
Joe Eldridge

Joe Eldridge is the co-founder and president of Team Type 1, a cycling team of 8 riders with Type 1 diabetes that won the Race Across America. Another objective is to show people with diabetes that their condition won't hold them back.
Read More

Special Guest
Nicole Johnson

Photo of Nicole Johnson Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999 and international diabetes advocate, will be involved with sessions for parents and kids, and will present "Pregnancy and Diabetes" with Dr. Fran Kaufman.
-- Read More

Special Guest
Chris Dudley

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

Special Guest
Doug Burns

Doug Burns has won 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 with diabetes since age 7.
-- Read More

Special Guest
Jay Hewitt

Elite Ironman Triathlete and member of the US National Team, Jay Hewitt will be the Keynote Speaker at the Friends for Life Banquet on his message of "Finish Line Vision."
-- Read More

Special Guest
Zippora Karz

Photo of Zippora Karz Zippora Karz is a former soloist ballerina with the New York City Ballet where she performed for 16 years on stage and in televised performances. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 21.
-- Read More

Special Guest
Jen Alexander

Jen Alexander
Jen Alexander was diagnosed when she was 13 years old and attempted to become the 18th Canadian to swim the English Channel. In 2007, Jen swam from Prince Edward Island to New Brunswick -- and back!
-- Read More

Special Guest
Sebastien Sasseville

Sebastien Sasseville
Sebastien will be working with our youth faculty and meet with all ages of kids to share his experiences and positive attitude about living with and conquering diabetes.
-- Read More

Special Guest
Nikki Lang

Nikki Lang
Nikki Lang, diagnosed at 10, will share her passion for singing at the Teen Dinner Dance.
-- Read More

  Friends for Life 2008 Conference and Expo  
  Introduction - Registration - FAQs - Special Guests  
  Faculty - Youth Faculty - CWD Staff - 5000 Step Club  
  First Timer Hospitality - Teen Welcome Group - Grandparents  
  Program Overview - Parents & Adults - Youth - Focus Groups - Suggestions - Social Events  
  Sponsors & Partners - Exhibitors - Attendees - Hotel Floor Plan - Bus Schedule  
  FFL Reports from 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  

  Back to Activities Return to the Top of This Page

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