Back to Activities 2009 Conference and Expo

Friends for Life Logo

Friends for Life Conference and Expo
July 7-12, 2009
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Photo - Click for larger image
Meet inspirational adults with type 1, like members of Team Type 1

Spend time at the Quilt for Life

Join in the Fun Run - once around the lake

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

Even parents enjoy dancing after the Banquet

CWD kids show their feelings in their hands -- Friends for Life

Learn about the latest in diabetes care tools in the Exhibit Hall

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

Find yourself and your friends in the Collage of Kids

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

Join your friends for a day at a park on Saturday


We've just landed back in England with heads filled with stories and hearts filled with wonder. Our friends here will be heartily tired of us as we tell tales of our adventures with Children with Diabetes. Friends for Life exceeded our expectations on so many levels; we met heaps of terrific people, made friends, learned so much about living with diabetes and how to improve all of our lives through application and communication. Above all we realised more than ever before that we're not alone, that our challenges are shared by many and that where there's life there's hope. Tom Karlya mentioned a quote from the Escobars in his welcome speech, the one about bottling the essence of Friends for Life so that one could open that bottle whenever one wanted. We couldn't know at the time what he meant; we do now. We'll be back, and we're bringing friends.
--Ashley from England about Friends for Life 2008

Conference Information

Children with Diabetes (CWD) presents our 10th annual Friends for Life 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 ideas for your family's diabetes management. Participate in parent discussion groups and find new, creative ways to help and motivate your children. Connect in-person with families you've met through the CWD online community. 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 2009 Event?

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

The Conference Schedule in a Nutshell

  • Tuesday, July 7: Community connections, Getting-to-know-you receptions; Volunteer Thank you reception; Registration opens
  • Wednesday, July 8: Focus groups all day (preregistration for the groups is required); Sports Central open for pick-up basketball and volleyball; Grand Opening of the Exhibit Hall at 6:00 p.m., including the Quilt for Life display
  • Thursday, July 9: Family Fun Run; sessions for adults and children all day (including grandparents track); Family and Friends Banquet; Sports Central
  • Friday, July 10: Sessions for adults and children all day (including grandparents track); Teens offsite at Disney's Hollywood Studios; Teen Dinner Dance; Young Adult Dinner Dance; Tween Karaoke Social; Dessert and Scientific Posters with the Faculty; Sports Central
  • Saturday, July 11: Magical Memories Character Breakfast; CWD Day at Magic Kingdom®
  • Sunday, July 12: Farewell Breakfast

The Conference Venue and Reservations

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. 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.

Newly renovated hotel rooms include two 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. Wireless high speed Internet is available in public areas of the hotel, including the lobby, conference center, and swimming pool.

Room rates are $149 + tax. This rate is available from July 3, 2009 to July 13, 2009 for those families who might want to extend their vacation. Corporate Suites may be reserved for hospitality events or entertaining, subject to availability.

For housing reservations, call Disney conference reservations directly at 407-939-1020. Be sure to say you are with the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life conference. The Children with Diabetes room block is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that you are only in the CWD room block – and only have the perks of being in the room block - if you make reservations through this phone number (i.e., not through the Disney 800 number or through a travel agent because they cannot access the CWD rooms). You may also book your hotel at You can also use this link to access reservations for Disney's Magical Express transportation.

Also, please note that this year's conference backs up to the busy July 4 holiday weekend. The resort will be quite crowded and will likely sell out early. If you plan to vacation for a few days prior to the conference, please make your reservations as soon as possible.

Disney Theme Park Tickets Specially priced Disney Theme Park tickets are available for Friends for Life conference attendees. Order tickets online through the special Walt Disney World® Resort Children with Diabetes 2009 Conference page. Use this link to access reservations for Disney's Magical Express transportation.

The Program

The adult program is designed to run 5-8 sessions simultaneously during Thursday and Friday. Please refer to the schedule for details. There will also be two-day programming for school-age children (ages 6-9), tweens (ages 10-12), and teens (ages 13+). Full-day childcare is available for children under age 6, by pre-registration only. This includes activities at the Kindergarten level, Pre-K level, and 'toddler and younger' level. Please note that all conference participants under the age of 18 must have a parent or adult guardian with them during the entire conference (i.e., teens and children should not be dropped off to participate while parents go elsewhere). This is for health and liability reasons, and there will be no exceptions.

Youth Program Note:
Please note that all children must be with their appropriate age group during sessions. 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.

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. Schedule information can be found at:

Pump Trials, Sensor Trials, Screenings & Studies

Insulin Pump Trials

Come to the conference and try a pump or continuous sensor. Pump companies Animas, Disetronic, Insulet, and Medtronic Diabetes 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
    Room: Sonora A
  • Disetronic Medical Systems Inc/Roche Diagnostics
    Sharilyn DeCrastos at 317-521-0268 or
    Room: Laredo 2
  • Medtronic Diabetes
    Erin Roper at 1-800-999-9859 x5231 or
    Room: El Paso 2
  • OmniPod Insulin Management System
    Lindsey Joyal at 781-457-4712
    Room: Toluca A

Continuous Sensor Trials

You can try a continuous glucose monitor from Medtronic. If you would like to wear only the continuous glucose monitoring device, a prescription from your physician is required and must include the wording "continuous glucose monitoring evaluation."

If you would like to wear the insulin pump integrated with continuous glucose monitoring, a prescription from your physician is required and must include the wording, "insulin pump with saline and continuous glucose monitoring evaluation." CGM trials are limited to adults and kids aged 7 or older.

  • Medtronic Diabetes
    David Conrad at 818-576-3149 or email
    Room: El Paso 2

TrialNet Screening

A TrialNet team will be on site performing screenings beginning on Wednesday and continuing through Friday in Toluca B, outside the Veracruz Ballroom (the exhibit hall). Sign up sheets will be at registration.

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 will be on site performing free retinal screenings to kids and adults with type 1 diabetes, beginning on Wednesday and continuing through Friday in Laredo 1, outside the Veracruz Ballroom (the exhibit hall). Sign up sheets will be at registration.

Lancing Device User Experience

Kids with diabetes ages 12 to 17 are invited to participate in a lancing device user experience study involving a new lancing device. You'll need parental permission and will meet for 15 minutes on Tuesday, July 7th and for 30 minutes on Friday, July 10th. Monetary compensation will be provided after the final meeting. For more information, contact

View the Quilt for Life

Quilt Photo  

Quilt Logo

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 submitted by July 1, 2009 will be on display with the entire quilt at Friends for Life!

Cancellation Policy

In case of cancellation prior to June 1, 2009, a full refund minus a $50 processing fee will be provided. After June 1, 2009, no refunds will be offered. Hotel room cancellation is subject to the rules of the resort.

For More Information

For more conference information, contact:

  • Mike Schurig at 407-859-9630 or or
  • Laura Billetdeaux at 734-428-8265 or

Please phone during regular business hours (eastern time), as these are home offices.

  Friends for Life 2009 Conference and Expo  
  Introduction - Partners & Sponsors - Exhibitors - Convention Center Map  
  Faculty - Youth Faculty - Grandparent Faculty - CWD Staff - Special Guests  
  Registration - FAQs - Kids' Voices  
  Schedule: Parents & Adults - Youth - Young Adults - Focus Groups  
  FFL Reports from 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  

Special Guest
Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball, diagnosed in 2007, is a successful race car driver forging a career in the highly competitive world of open wheel racing. You can meet Charlie on Wednesday during a morning reception and during the Grand Opening Reception that night.

Special Guest
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.

Special Guest
George Canyon

Country music star George Canyon will join us for the conference, and George will perform at the Family and Friends Banquet on Thursday evening.

Special Guest
Jay Hewitt

Jay Hewitt
Elite Ironman Triathlete and three-time member of the US National Team, Jay Hewitt will be a VIP Speaker at the Friends for Life conference.

Special Guest
Doug Burns

Doug Burns is an internationally-respected fitness consultant, record-holding athlete and diabetes advocate. Doug will be one of the featured athletes of Sports Central and will participate on the Athletes' Panel on Friday morning. Kids and parents may also visit Doug at the Abbott Diabetes Care booth in the exhibit hall.

Special Guest
Sebastien Sasseville

Sebastien Sasseville
Sébastien Sasseville will work with our youth faculty and meet with all ages of kids to share his experiences about living with and conquering diabetes.

Special Guest
Phil Southerland

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.

Special Guest
Joe Eldridge

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.

Special Guest
Jen Alexander

Jen Alexander, the 2008 Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association's "Athlete of the Year," will work in Sports Central.

Special Guest

My name is PJ Foster and I am 6 years old. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was only 8 weeks old.

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