At the beginning of July our family went to the CWD Friends for Life conference in Orlando. It was our first time attending the conference and it was wonderful!
It's taken me forever to write about our experience at FFL! I think it's because it's so awesome, so overwhelming, so fun filled that I just have no idea where to even start!
I think the best way for me to share our fun and experiences is through my pictures!
This was the view from our room! Sweets liked kicking back on the patio!
One of the first things that Sweets did was participate in a session called Rev Your Engines. The kids were divided into teams and the teams were led by either Charlie Kimball, Phil Southerland, or Jay Hewitt. Sweets' group was led by Jay Hewitt. They had to answer questions about diabetes to earn different parts of their race car. Once they had all the parts they got to build their car! She LOVED this!
Sweets also really loved the sessions she went to with the other kids! She had a great time doing all the different activities. Her age group did things like a scavenger hunt, dancing with DJ Miles, meeting the special guests (She was so excited to meet Kevin Covais! Or Victor from Good Luck, Charlie as she calls him!), playing around in Sports Central, and some discussions about things they liked and were worried about concerning diabetes. She couldn't pick her favorite thing!
This is her testing with one of her teachers! She also loved all her teachers!!
She's always been a little on the shy side when she first goes with someone she doesn't know. And she can be especially nervous when it comes to someone else handing her D care. But she didn't hesitate here at all. She happily went in to her room with no hesitation or worries at all! That's BIG folks!
Sweets also was a big fan of the exhibit hall! We liked it, too... but Sweets LOVED it! And why not?!? FREE STUFF! She loved all the stuffed animals. pens, t-shirts, balls, bags... you name it! She loved meeting Lenny from Medtronic!
One of the special things that we did while we were there was an interview with Dexcom. Sweets really enjoyed being asked questions!! I'm not sure yet what it will be used for - but when I know, I'll let you know! She did a great job! I was interviewed as well about our LOVE for our Dexcom and how we couldn't live without it. I, however, cried through the interview when talking about the scariest night of our lives. I don't love to talk about it but it's one of the main reasons why I feel so strongly about how wonderful our Dexcom is and why I am so passionate about it!
Sweets is also a Dexcom Warrior! I wrote a little something for them to use on their website and soon she will be featured on the Warrior website. She was excited to see her name on the signage at the Dexcom booth so she had to pose by it for a picture!
Sweets made some great new friends at FFL as well! These are Heather's girls! Heather and I have been friends for years and this was the first time our girls got to meet! All three girls wear Omnipods and Dexcoms! They loved hanging out in their sessions and at the pool... Basically all day long every day!
We also enjoyed the sessions! It was hard to decide what sessions to go to! J and I often went to different sessions to make the most of our time. Between the two of us, we went to sessions by Gary Scheiner about striking the spike and treating hypoglycemia, sessions about the bionic pancreas, the gut and autoimmunity, information about diabetes and school, and a session by Joe Solowiejczyk, author of The Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe and founder of A Mile in My Shoes. I loved his practical advice!
I took this picture of the Grandparent's track because I thought my parent's might be interested!
For me, the absolute best part was meeting and hanging out with my "old" friends and making some new friends!
We have all known each other for years and years! We've been through all kinds of stuff together... even though we live all over the country! As wonderful as it is to chat on the computer... it's so much better to hang out in person!
I also loved meeting some of the folks I've known online for years but never actually met in person! There were lots of late nights spent gabbing with friends.
This is probably one of my favorite pics from all week... Heather, me, Kelly K, Meri and Lora. It pretty much sums up the whole week! Lots of laughs. Lots of love. Lots of memories!
After all, what else do you do with your Friends for Life?!?
We had a great time and I know we will be back! I highly recommend it - especially to anyone looking for the feeling of "same". There's something very powerful about being in the same place with so many other people who are living the same life and dealing with the same kinds of things that you are.
For information about the fall/winter conference, click here!