Back to the 2009 conference report 2009 Friends for Life Report - Wednesday

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Wednesday was Focus Group Day at the conference. Over twenty focus groups were offered by conference sponsors, and included a very wide and exciting range of topics. The focus groups were limited to about 50 participants per group, so they were very interactive and lively. Many thanks to the focus group leaders as well as the participants for getting an early start on the conference!

Race car driver Charlie Kimball – along with his race car – joined us on Wednesday morning. Charlie gave a very inspirational presentation to children and their parents, and then spent time meeting with them, signing autographs, and posing for photos. Thank you to Novo Nordisk for sponsoring Charlie to spend the morning with us. (And it was very cool to continue to see his race car in the Novo Nordisk booth the rest of the week!)

Also on Wednesday, we were very pleased to have the FDA join us for two sessions, one on continuous sensors and the other about the Artificial Pancreas.

Exhibitors continued to set up their booths all day Wednesday, and the last few Quilt squares were added along the perimeter of the Exhibit Hall. This year, Quilt for Life squares numbered over 700 and extended in several rows all around the exhibit hall (truly amazing to walk through and view them all). Throughout the day, the registration area was buzzing as well. Teams of registration volunteers kept South Registration running efficiently, and by the end of the day, nearly all registration packets had been picked up and everyone was accounted for!

Nabil Elarbi and Katie Daugherty coordinated an area called First Timers Hospitality. First Timers Hospitality was busy on Tuesday, really busy on Wednesday, and absolutely buzzing by Weds afternoon. The First Timers Reception was held on Wednesday afternoon in the giant Fiesta Ballroom… for all 900 adults and kids experiencing Friends for Life for the very first time. Tom Karlya, Lauren Lanning, Nabil Elarbi, and Katie Daugherty welcomed the first timers to the reception, had some welcome comments, and then fun ice-breaker activities to help everyone get to know one another. Sanofi-Aventis sponsored this wonderful event for the third straight year, and they welcomed First Timers as they arrived. Many thanks, Sanofi-Aventis!

Teens had their own very fun reception led by CWD teen staffer Galen Horton. There were 300 teens at Friends for Life this year (the largest number ever), with roughly 100 of them being first-timers. The teen ice breaker encouraged everyone to make friends and talk to each other, because Thursday morning was right around the corner, starting right at 8:45 with teen sessions!

By 5:00, under the supervision of CWD dad Ashley Head, the exhibit hall in Veracruz was just about ready for the Grand Opening Reception. The red ribbon was hung ceremoniously across the entrance unit to the main doors -- and the giant scissors were ready to go. By a few minutes before 6:00, the crowd filled the prefunction space and spilled down the hallway. Right at 6:00, Pumpy from Disetronic – along with CWD's Laura Billetdeaux - welcomed conference participants and asked all the kids to count down the ribbon-cutting. And with that – the exhibit hall opened and the conference was officially underway! Many thanks to Roche Diagnostics for sponsoring this incredible grand opening reception for yet another year!


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Race car driver Charlie Kimball spoke with familes about his experiences with diabetes during the focus groups and receptions
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Pumpy is never one to shy away from a photo
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The spirit of Friends for Life is evident in the smiles of our families
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