Friends For Life…2013

The Friends For Life Conference for people with type 1 diabetes was held in early July this year. The conference meetings began in the year 2000, so this was the fourteenth year. It was created by Jeff Hitchcock, the owner of the website at http:/www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/. Jeff has a daughter with type 1, and the FFL has done so very much for type 1 diabetics. People from other countries attended, it is an international conference. 

The conference is held in Orlando, FL in the month of July because that seems to be the only month that all children are out of school and can attend. Having the meetings so close to Disney World is very convenient. Many parents took their children to see the Disney attractions before or after the conference. 

This was my first year at the FFL, and it was one of the most valuable experiences of my lifetime. The type 1 people attending were divided into four groups: children, tweens, teens and adults. Discussions were held for each group. I visited several wonderful discussions on three of my days there. The speakers were well chosen and I learned much from them. There were more than one hundred discussions, and several were held simultaneously. Choosing which ones I wanted to attend was difficult. Food was provided in several buffets, and I ate too much. The carb counts for all items were provided so I was able to keep my blood sugar stable. I attended several special evening socials with wonderful meals: First Timers Reception, Grand Opening Ceremony, Family and Friends Banquet, Adults with Type 1 Casino Night, and Dessert with the Faculty. There were also special socials for the other groups.The closing keynote address was given by Will Cross. Will is type 1, and he has climbed the highest mountain on each continent. He has also hiked his way to both the north and south poles. His wife and children attended his  session. There were some type 1 celebrities present, mostly professional athletes. Kids had their pictures taken with them. I met Crystal Bowersox. She is type 1, and she won second place on the American Idol TV show several years ago. She sang some songs, and posed for pictures with the kids. 

This conference was so wonderful that I want to attend as often as I can. I met so many online friends, and my picture was taken with many of them. My wife and I are planning to attend the FFL conference in 2015. I am really looking forward to that.

All type 1 diabetics, irregardless of age or location, should attend at least one FFL event. It will be a very worthwhile experience.Image

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