Back to Activities Friends for Life 2014
  Friends for Life Conference and Expo
July 1-6, 2014
Orlando World Center Marriott
Orlando, Florida

Preregistration is now closed.
On site registration opens at 9:00 a.m. July 1.

Brenda, Maryam and Kara want you to come to FFL

CWD dad Oliver Double shares his amusing version of "Think Like a Pancreas"

The green bracelet of belonging

The Quilt for Life celebrates our families

Meet diabetes community VIPs like Crystal Bowersox ...

... and former NFL star Kendall Simmons

Tweens have a blast at their social event

Friends for Life is for kids of all ages

Kids enjoy finding their photo in our collages


I have never seen my teen so happy, although I only saw him five minutes before bed and five minutes for a few minutes after waking....he said mom I see you everyday, but these guys are my friends for life!
Incredible! It does not matter how long you have been diagnosed, I learn more and more each time I go; even when I think I know what I need to be to successful in supporting Rachel; I always learn more, and better ways to help her. I wish everyone could make the trip!

Conference Information

Children with Diabetes presents our 15th annual family 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. 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 2014 Event?

  • Families and individuals with type 1 diabetes
  • Young adults, teens, school-age children, and younger children
  • Extended families, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, spouses, partners, other caregivers
  • Kids with type 1 diabetes and their siblings and their best buddies – our programming is for all children, not just those with type 1
  • Adults with type 1 diabetes and their spouses or partners
  • Health care professionals who work with type 1 diabetes (CEUs are not provided)

The Conference Schedule in a Nutshell

  • Tuesday, July 1:
    Registration opens, Sports Central opens, Retinal Screenings begin, meet new friends and enjoy pool time! It's very easy to find other FFLers - look for the bracelets!
  • Wednesday, July 2:
    Focus groups all day (these are different from the Thursday and Friday sessions); Discussion sessions for various groups; Teen program begins in the afternoon; Sports Central opens; Screenings open; Caregivers Bootcamp; Grand Opening of the Exhibit Hall mid-morning (stays open all day), including the Quilt for Life; Casino Night for Adults with Type 1; Family Movie Night for everyone.
  • Thursday, July 3:
    Sessions for adults and children all day; Sports Central, Screenings, Exhibit Hall closes at 3:30; Family and Friends Banquet and Dance (theme: Independence Day picnic – it's casual this year!).
  • Friday, July 4:
    Sessions for adults and children all day; Teens offsite at Splitsville; Sports Central; enjoy the evening on your own — lots of July 4 festivities in the area!
  • Saturday, July 5:
    Family Day at the Marriott World Center; Teen Dinner Dance, Tween Social, Sports Central
  • Sunday, July 6:
    Farewell Breakfast; tearful good-byes
Pump Trials and Screenings

Insulin Pump Trials

Come to the conference and try a pump or continuous sensor. Pump companies 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 — OneTouch® Ping™
    Val Valentino at 484-328-6086 or
  • Tandem Diabetes Care — t:slim Insulin Pump
    Erin Goodman at 1-858-255-6271 or

Dexcom G4 Platinum Continuous Glucose Sensing Trials

Dexcom is pleased to offer trials of their G4 Platinum continuous glucose monitoring system at Friends for Life 2014. For more details on eligibility and how to sign up, see Dexcom Trial at Friends for Life 2014.

TrialNet Screening

A TrialNet team will be on site performing screenings beginning on Wednesday and continuing through Friday in Crystal PQ. Sign up sheets will be at registration. You may also walk up for screening when you have time.

Celiac Screening

Celiac screenings will be available beginning on Wednesday and continuing through Friday in Crystal PQ. Sign up sheets will be at registration. You may also walk up for screening when you have time. If you suspect celiac, you must eat gluten for four weeks prior to the screening. One slice of bread per day is sufficient, per Dr. Alessio Fasano, who is overseeing the screening.

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 Monday and continuing through Friday in the San Antonio room. Pre-conference sign up is required. If you have not pre-registered, stop by the San Antonio room to see if there are available time slots due to cancellations.

Youth Program Note

Please note that all children must be with their appropriate age group during sessions. The elementary program is for children ages 5-8, divided into 'younger elementary' ages 5 and 6, and 'older elementary' ages 7 and 8. The tween program is for children ages 9-12, divided into 'younger tweens' ages 9 and 10, and 'older tweens' ages 11 and 12. The teen program is for ages 13-18, divided into 'younger teens' ages 13-14, and 'older teens' ages 15-17. Those who are 18 and have just graduated high school may choose between the Teen program (older teens) and College Age program (pick one program and stick with it).

There is no 'skipping up' or 'skipping down.' This is per our insurance guidelines. No exceptions are allowed.

Teen Program Note

As in past years, the Teen Program will include sessions all day Thursday, and a chance to put into practice what has been learned on an offsite trip on Friday. The teens will be going to Downtown Disney's Splitsville this year on Friday, July 4. In order to participate in this trip, teens must participate in all four sessions on Thursday. This is mandatory. Bowling, bowling shoes, and lunch will be provided to each teen participating. Money for additional snacks or souvenirs is up to each individual. Teens will be traveling to Downtown Disney via chartered bus, leaving at 10:15 a.m. and returning at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Also note that once again this year, there will be teen programming on Wednesday afternoon. This was a new addition to our teen program last year, and was very successful. It is intended to allow the teens more time to get to know each other and have social and active time prior to the full day on Thursday. These sessions are not mandatory, but we do hope that most teens will choose to take advantage of this additional group time.

Not A Teen Anymore?

For a third year, we are happy to feature programming especially for the college-age group. Sessions will be offered all day Thursday and Friday. Attend all of them, or mix and match with sessions featured in the other adult program ballrooms and breakouts. These sessions are JUST for college-age (ages 18-early 20s), not for parents or interested others.

Adults with Type 1

Again this year, we are pleased to offer programming for adults with type 1 (college age adults are welcome in these sessions, too). These sessions will be held on Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday evening from 8:00 to midnight, join host Tandem Diabetes for a fun adults-only social event – stay tuned for more details! Please note this social event is only for Adults with Type 1 and their partners; this is not a family event.

Exhibit Hall Hours

The Exhibit Hall will open in conjunction with a Grand Opening Reception on Wednesday mid-morning. There will be plenty of food at this reception, so come hungry! Exhibit Hall hours extend all day Wednesday, from 10:00 to 6:00. On Thursday, hours are from 10:00 to noon, and 1:00-3:30 p.m. There won't be Friday hours due to the holiday. The Quilt for Life will once again be displayed in the Exhibit Hall. Please make sure to allow time to stroll the Quilt squares with your family (and if you haven't sent a square yet in honor of your family or your child, please consider doing so before the conference!).

What's Up on Saturday?

There's a lot going on at the conference venue on Saturday! Sports Central will feature games for kids of all ages from 10-4. Enjoy volleyball and pool games at the main pool area on Saturday afternoon! This is for all Marriott World Center guests. There is usually a DJ, BBQ, and all day events around the pool, providing the weather cooperates!

Teens! Saturday evening is the Teen Dinner Dance from 8:00 to midnight. Dress up and join your friends for this not-to-be-missed event. Parents are not allowed (except for the dance chaperones). Please no jeans or cut-offs. Dinner is provided.

The Tween Social – which is a mix of karaoke, games, and dancing – is again on Saturday evening this year. From 8-11 p.m., join DJ Miles for a very fun and energetic evening! Parents are not allowed (except for chaperones). Please no jeans or cut-offs. Dinner is not provided; snacks and beverages are.

Sports Central – Back for a 12th Year!

Sports Central is an area where you can work out with Harold Sanco, stretch, play some volleyball, interact with some world-class athletes, or generally work off some energy from Tuesday through Saturday. Located in Cypress 1 Ballroom, Sports Central will have drop-in hours daily and a schedule of featured events. Many thanks to Novo Nordisk for sponsoring Sports Central for the past decade – and many thanks to the wonderful athletes who spend a week with our CWD families staffing Sports Central!

Registering for the Conference

You must register for the conference using CWD's online registration system. The cost of registration varies depending upon when you register and how many people are in your family or group.

Registration includes all Wednesday focus groups and discussion sessions, as well as the Thursday and Friday educational sessions for all age groups (including childcare). The following meals are provided:

  • Wednesday First Timers Coffee (8:00 a.m.)
  • Wednesday Buffett Breakfast (9:00 a.m.)
  • Wednesday Grand Opening Reception (10:00 a.m.)
  • Thursday breakfast, lunch, and snack breaks
  • Thursday Family and Friends Banquet
  • Friday lunch and snack breaks
  • All of the various receptions/socials (Teen Dinner Dance, Tween Social, Adults with Type 1 Social)
  • Sunday Farewell Breakfast
Registration also includes one t-shirt per person.

It has come to our attention that a number of independent organizations have contacted the exhibitors for the upcoming Friends For Life conference implying that they are working with, or have been contracted by Children With Diabetes to provide travel assistance. This is not the case. The only organization that is authorized by Children With Diabetes is the Marriott World Center. We strongly suggest that you ignore any solicitation not originating from the Marriott World Center. If you have any questions about anybody offering travel assistance, please contact us immediately for clarification.

The Conference Venue and Reservations

The Orlando World Center Marriott is one of the largest Marriott properties in the world. This venue, convenient to the Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Universal Studios theme parks, offers plenty of convention meeting space for Friends for Life as well as tremendous vacation and recreational opportunities for families who wish to 'stay and play' for a few days before or after the conference. The resort boasts six swimming pools and three water slides at the main pool area. There are outdoor basketball and sand volleyball courts as well as tennis courts. The Orlando World Center Resort Spa offers a wide variety of treatments and services as well as a quiet spa pool; it is adjacent to the state of the art fitness center. For those who enjoy golf, the Hawks Landing Golf Club is right on site.

The Marriott World Center's luxurious hotel rooms include 2 double beds or a king bed (some rooms have pull-out sofas), high speed internet (fee for service), mini-bar, coffee maker, and cable with pay per view movies. There are several restaurants on site as well as a newly-renovated Pool Bar which is open for lunch and dinner. There is also a newly-renovated Starbucks in the lobby.

Room rates are $169 + tax. This rate is available 3 days before and after the conference for those families who might want to extend their vacation.

Larger Suites may be reserved for hospitality events or entertaining, subject to availability. Suites are also available for larger families, again subject to availability. There are different types of suites and they have different prices; please contact the hotel directly for availability and pricing.

For housing reservations, call Marriott reservations directly at (888) 789-3090 or use Marriott's Online Reservation System. If you are calling, 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 these phone numbers or website.

Also, please note that this year's conference includes 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 or after the conference, please make your reservations as soon as possible.

Disney Theme Park Tickets

For advance purchase of specially priced Disney Meeting/Convention Theme Park tickets, please call 407-566-5600 or visit Please note the cut-off date for advance purchase savings is July 2, 2014.

Transportation From Orlando International Airport

Mears Transportation is offering discounted rates on their shuttle service between Orlando International Airport (MCO) and the conference hotel. Please download the coupon and use it at the airport.

Cancellation policy:
Cancellations prior to June 1, 2014 will be refunded minus a US$75 processing fee. After June 1, 2014, no refunds are available.

For more conference information, contact Laura Billetdeaux at 734-353-9294 or

  Friends for Life 2014 Conference and Expo  
  Introduction - Registration - Exhibitors - Sponsors - Convention Center Map (PDF)  
  Faculty - Youth Faculty - Grandparents Faculty - CWD Staff - Sports Central Staff - Retinal Screening Staff  
  Schedule: Parents and Adults - Youth - Trials and Screenings  
  Childcare Form (PDF) - FAQs  
  Reports from 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  

Special Guest
Jay Hewitt

Jay Hewitt
Jay Hewitt is an elite Ironman triathlete and three-time member of the U.S. National Team for Long Distance Triathlon. Jay was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in college, but has not let diabetes hold him back from following his dreams. Jay is sponsored by Novo Nordisk.

Special Guest
Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball
INDYCAR driver Charlie Kimball is the first and only licensed driver with diabetes in the history of the sport to win a race. He will be a VIP Speaker and member of the faculty at the Friends for Life conference. Charlie is sponsored by Novo Nordisk through the Race with Insulin® program.

Special Guest
Kendall Simmons

Kendall Simmons
Kendall Simmons is a former NFL player with the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. Kendall was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes shortly before his second season. Kendall learned how to manage his diabetes and went on to play nearly ten years in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls. Kendall is sponsored by Novo Nordisk.

Special Guest
Phil Southerland

Phil Southerland
Phil Southerland, a former professional cyclist, is the cofounder and CEO of Team Novo Nordisk. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at seven months old, Phil has dedicated his life to education about diabetes management and sports. Phil is sponsored by Novo Nordisk.

Special Guest
Ryan Reed

Ryan Reed
Three years ago, just as his career was taking off, NASCAR driver Ryan Reed was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and told he would never race again. But he refused to give up on his dream. Today, at age 20, he's the driver of the No. 16 American Diabetes Association Drive to Stop Diabetes℠ presented by Lilly Diabetes Ford® Mustang in NASCAR's Nationwide Series. Ryan inspires us all to dream big and live life to the fullest.

Special Guest
Matt Neal

Matt Neal
Pro BMX racer Matt Neal started competing at age 10, turned pro at 20, then took some time off to get his degree in kinesiology. When he got the itch to start racing again, Neal had trouble staying healthy. By the time he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Neal had been back on the BMX track for about six months. Now 33 and five years after his diagnosis, Matt heads up Type1BMX, an all-type-1 team of kids and adults racing all over the world. Matt also leads Riding on Insulin's BMX camps in both Arizona and Wisconsin. You can also see Matt on the slopes as a talented snowboarder helping kids at the Riding on Insulin ski/snowboard camps.

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