Friends for Life® 2014
The Friends for Life® conference held in Orlando by the organization Children with Diabetes® is a highlight of the year for many kids and their parents across the country. The conference brings type 1 families together, giving them a chance to make new and life-long friendships. Families can get the latest information on diabetes care and learn about new possibilities for their children. This year, the 15th annual event will be held on July 1-6, 2014. Read on to hear from the founder and from families who keep going back every year:
“It’s kind of like trying to explain Walt Disney World® to someone who hasn’t been. No matter how much you say, it will never fully capture the magic of being there. It offers families living with type 1 diabetes a chance to meet other families like themselves, learn from the world’s leading researchers and clinicians, and share real-world experiences with other people who understand what living with type 1 diabetes means.”
–Jeffrey Hitchcock, founder of Children with Diabetes, Inc.
“I remember entering the banquet hall for the first time and listening to the keynote speaker with tears in my eyes. We are forever bonded with an unspoken understanding of how challenging this autoimmune disease is to live with. We have the same fears, struggles, and triumphs. It was so comforting to know these people here get it! The conference never fails to recharge us and leave us with inspiration. We want Grady to be surrounded and connected to others fighting this daily battle to keep blood sugar in check. He now has an impressive support system of ‘friends for life’ spanning all over the United States and across many countries. I hope everyone can find a way to attend at least once and experience all the event has to offer.”
–Cheri L., mom of 7-year-old Grady
“I’m a single working mother with two kids and outrageous medical bills. I skimp and save all year for that one week in July when Hannah feels normal and accepted. She laughs and smiles constantly … her face just beams with happiness. The role models there — like the Team Type 1 cycling team, famous basketball players, football players, singers, and even a guy who climbed Mt. Everest — all had big dreams and they accomplished them in spite of having type 1 diabetes. And when Jen Alexander sits down with you as a young kid, and you’re amazed that she swam the English Channel and she’s helping you decorate a pump cover to match hers, you realize that diabetes won’t stop you from swimming the English Channel either if you choose to do so. Those memories are magical.”
–Belinda P., mom of 14-year-old Hannah
“Seeing my daughter video-chat with the friends she met there is priceless. The bond they all share is just amazing. Seeing them there for each other when one is having a bad day or feeling down, and helping each other through the rough spot… This is what Friends for Life is really about — making lifelong friends.”
–Betty S., mom of 17-year-old Shelby
You can find out more about the conference here. And while you’re at the event, stop by the Lilly Diabetes booth to experience how Lilly supports the type 1 community and how your family can get involved! Learn about their work with diabetes camps, scholarships for everyday heroes with type 1, and awards that acknowledge success in diabetes management. Pick up copies of books for young children and tweens and magazines for parents. Created in collaboration with Disney, these books and magazines explore real-life issues and offer inspiration for all that is possible with type 1 diabetes. See you there!
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.
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