Friday offered a wide variety of sessions and again included presentations and discussions for parents, adults with type 1, and college age participants. Friday was also the Grand Opening of the Exhibit Hall – with a wonderful lunch and 2 hours of 'down time' to explore the hall – all sponsored by Roche.
Psychosocial sessions continued to feature strongly on Friday. These sessions included Transitions in the Teen to Young Adult Years (Diana Naranjo), The First Year: Dealing with Burnout (Joe Solowiejczyk), Positive Caregiving (Bill Polonsky, sponsored by Roche), and Family Teamwork in Diabetes Management (Barbara Anderson).
Scientific sessions continued with a presentation by Arleen Pinkos from the FDA, Advancing Diabetes Treatments. Gary Scheiner presented more concrete, how-to sessions with Managing Hypoglycemia and Strike the Spike, while Rick Philbin talked with parents about Sports and Pumping: Finding the Right Mix.
Kimberly Davis and Tom Karlya presented a session called Being an Advocate, and both were available throughout the week to talk with participants about how to become involved in advocacy efforts large and small. Also, a special thank you to Crystal Jackson who was very visible and available to parents who wanted to talk about their children's school challenges. Crystal presented a formal session on Thursday – Managing Type 1 at School – and spent much of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday working 1:1 with moms and dads.
Two rooms on Friday continued to be dedicated to adults with type 1. The college age sessions featured a young women's discussion group, young men's discussion group, and then a closing session to recap the program and get ideas for next year's college age sessions. Adults with type 1 featured Dealing with Diabetes Burnout (Korey Hood and Jill Weissberg-Benchell), Twittering in the DOC and Taking Online Support Offline (Kerri Sparling and Scott Johnson), and Being a Parent with Type 1 (Kerri Sparling, Scott Johnson, Stefan Rubin).
There were several panels and discussions throughout the day. Rick Philbin and the Sports Central and Guest Athletes held a discussion for adults, and they also met with the different groups of children throughout the day. The athletes talked about their own challenges and type 1 diabetes management, shared some tips, and answered questions. Both adults and kids really enjoy interacting with these athletes, who truly live 'best practices' day to day so they can be at the top of their sport.
The moms discussion groups was packed as usual! CWD's Lauren Lanning, Michelle Rago, Intissar Ben Halim, and Ellen Ullman facilitated the discussion groups, and guest Joanna Southerland (mom to Team Type 1's Phil Southerland) was a special treat. The dads discussion, facilitated by Tom Karlya, Scott Kyllo, and Oliver Double, was also an excellent opportunity for sharing ideas and challenges. As happens each year, both moms and dads groups shared that they could have used a double session for discussion time – there is so much to talk about!
The Grands had a very full day of sessions, beginning with Ask the Diabetes Team ... any question was fair game! The morning continued with Dealing with Diabetes Emergencies, which many grandparents shared is their #1 fear. After lunch, the grandparents had a discussion about Reclaiming Sleepovers and Get-Aways. Again, many thanks to our Grands faculty and staff who keep this program growing with new ideas and energy!
Ironman Triathlete Jay Hewitt and former NFL player Kendall Simmons closed the conference with a very poignant keynote. They shared their personal stories, and then took time to answer questions from the audience. These questions brought out the 'practical' side of type 1, and stressed how sometimes – in the moment – one just does what makes sense in order to manage diabetes. The audience very much appreciated the candid conversation with these two wonderful VIPs; many thanks to Novo Nordisk for sponsoring their participation in Friends for Life this year!
The teens headed off on buses to Sea World for a day in the park. While on the surface, this excursion may look like simply a 'fun' day, in reality there are many learning objectives in place for this outing. A lot of planning and responsibility goes into spending a full day in a hot park with lots of activity and other things to keep track of, and the teen staff encouraged the teens to be as independent as possible in managing the day. Teens checked in periodically with the staff at the air conditioned home base for a bg check and a 'once over' (for those without diabetes), and the day went very smoothly!
The Tween Group had a very fun and interesting Friday, beginning with discussion time for kids with type 1 and separate discussions for sibs. Many thanks to Zak Elarbi, Austin Martin, Carolyn Billetdeaux, Maryam Elarbi, and Kelsey Martin for facilitating discussions with these two groups. These young adults have grown up with CWD, and it is wonderful that they can share their talent and perspective with the younger age groups. Crystal Bowersox joined the discussion this year, and that was a really great surprise for the tweens! The schedule continued with Harold Time, followed by discussions and hands-on sessions in the afternoon, and ending with an hour of DJ Miles (always a favorite!).
The elementary group began their day with Sports Central and Harold Time. After morning break, Crystal Bowersox joined them for a Scavenger Hunt in the Marriott World Center – again, what a treat to have Crystal be part of the group! After lunch, the elementary kids enjoyed an hour with DJ Miles, and then some discussion time to put closure on the two days of sessions.
Friday night was a big social evening, and a huge thank you right up front to the dozens of parents who assisted by helping with set-up and chaperoning the various events (and thank you to Betty Smith and Belinda Peach for taking the lead with teens and tweens on this extremely busy evening). Your help in keeping the activities safe and fun was invaluable! DJ Miles surprised the tweens by bringing his decked-out Mini Cooper to their event ... and both groups were happily surprised by the glowy blinkie things decorating both parties. Many thanks to Tween Social sponsor Medtronic Diabetes!
The teens held a very special Teen Dinner Dance – an Italian buffet and DJ Jason in the Crystal H ballroom. Most teens dressed up; they were beautiful! At any given point in time through the evening, the dance floor was packed with teenagers having so much fun!
Tandem Diabetes Care organized two events for adults with type 1 and their partners and friends. The first event was a dinner for college age participants, and featured comedian Oliver Double from the UK. Dinner was delicious, and Olly had everyone rolling. Very fun evening. The second event – just a bit later in the evening – was for all adults with type 1 and featured a casino night. It was elegant, interesting, and lots of fun – and most everyone asked, "Can we do this again next year?"
Dessert and Posters with the Faculty was back for a 5th year! And this year, the discussion was so interesting that the event didn't end until well after midnight.
New addition this year – a movie night for the 'under 10' crowd. At the end of a very long couple of days, it was nice to just grab a pillow and a bag of popcorn, and watch a movie with friends. We hope to offer this again next year.
Friday's Thank You's also include Dr. Ben's welcome/registration crew in the Retinal Screening area: Betty Smith, Belinda Peach, and Bernadette Tull. From Tuesday through Friday, Dr. Ben had more people than ever requesting walk-in retinal screenings, and he didn't want to turn anyone down. This led to fairly long lines, later-than-expected hours, and sometimes short tempers. These ladies kept everything working smoothly, and happily volunteered their own long hours to make this happen.
Once again, many thanks to Friday's sponsors, faculty, staff, and volunteers, who enabled this extraordinary day to happen!
Friday is Teen Day at a Park -- and quiet at the conference
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Teens with type 1 check in with nurses Natalie Bellini and Marissa Town
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Calco (left) and Pumpy (right) cut the ribbon to open the Exhibit Hall
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Kendall Simmons met with families in the Novo Nordisk booth
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DJ Miles brought his tricked out Mini Cooper for the Tween Social
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Ed Damiano and his team spoke with families late into the night on Friday
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