It was about this time 13 years ago; perhaps a tad earlier, perhaps in the final weeks of the year before. I read in a chat room that a woman was heading to Florida with her family and if anyone wanted to meet there, to let her know.
This was not any chat room. It was a chat room of all parents who had kids with diabetes. I knew in my heart that the one man who started it, and was relaying information about diabetes and allowing us the opportunity to be connected, was doing a herculean job. He was a man who just wanted his daughter to be able to reach out and connect with others; he changed the diabetes world forever.
So I reached out to this woman (as did hundreds of others), and I stated we would love to go; and although none of us would know it, we became part of history. The Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference (CWD FFL) was born. That too would change the diabetes world forever. Click the link above to see EVERYTHING in store for this year.
Jeff Hitchcock and Laura Billetdeaux are probably two of the most brilliant people you will ever meet for a whole bunch of reason but the one that stands out is that they both did something that had never been done before in such a way. Jeff created Children with Diabetes, and Laura created every conference since that summer in 2000.
Their philosophy of ‘kids with diabetes are still just kids’ is a simplistic phrase with earth shattering complexity that drives them to perfection every year to create a conference that deals with the entire family and how diabetes impacts everyone from sibling, to parents, to grandparents, to children, and also now to adults who live with diabetes every day. Amazing.
My phrase, albeit a tad politically incorrect, has always been to beg, borrow, or steal but get to a CWD conference and now through the Diabetes Scholars Foundation, there may even be financial help to get your family there as well.
This annual conference (there are also local ones and those in other countries) in Orlando Florida each July has over 3000 people and many state all the time how they feel the personal touch each and every year.
Education, inspiring stories, inspiring people (in the past there have been American Idol contestants, Professional Race Car Drivers, Olympian Gold Medal Winners, Miss America, and the list goes on and on), and you can also see and touch the latest in technology for the best in management and in the research world. (not to mention a very famous Mouse and a few of his friends)
Any others who have been there please reply to this article and let others know WHAT YOU thought of past conferences.
See you in Orlando in July (shhhhhh rumor has it that the incredible Moira McCarthy Stanford is giving the welcoming keynote—but don’t tell anyone I told you—PS it’s not really a secret but worthy of the reminder) .
So if you have never been, get there this year; whatever it takes. Your lives will change. Your lives will be changed forever. Bring the kids (yup there is childcare), the grandparents, and yourselves. Newly diagnosed or the new normal has been around too long; CWD FFL. Be there.
I am a diabetes dad.
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