Diabetes Friends for Life & MasterLab

In July, I was in a hotel resort. In Diabetes World, surrounded by thousands of people with diabetes, and at the Friends for Life 2015 Diabetes Conference. I felt like I was in a dream!

Those of you who have been following my blog for more than a year will know that I attended FFL UK last August and wrote about it for weeks. If you haven't seen those posts, here is the first one. Well, FFL US has given me enough material to write for months maybe even a year!

What is Friends for Life (FFL)?

The FFL conferences are organised by ChildrenwithDiabetes, an American non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes. 
www.childrenwithdiabetes.com (CWD) was started by Jeff Hitchcock in 1995 in response to his daughter Marissa's diabetes diagnosis at the age of two. The idea was -- and continues to be -- to share experiences with other families, so that together, we can all make a difference in the lives of everyone living with type 1 diabetes.

In August 1999, a diabetes Mom on the CWD email list, Laura Billetdeaux, was planning her family holiday in Orlando in June 2000. She sent out an email to her friends on CWD asking if anyone was interested in meeting up there? 550 people from across the US showed up!

That was the first FFL! And FFL 2015 was their 66th conference to date.

Some FFL 2015 Facts.

- There were over 2,000 families, attending FFL 2015! That number, in itself is impressive, but when you consider how many people make up family then it's mind blowing!

- Anybody who is anybody in the world of diabetes attends this conference. Such as;
  • Gary Scheiner, author of "Think like a Pancreas"
  • Moira McCarthy, Diabetes Mom, Advocate, Autor of “Raising Teens With Diabetes: A Parent Survival Guide” 
  • Charles Kimble, professional race car driver and is the first licensed driver with diabetes in the history of INDYCAR. http://www.charliekimball.com/biography

to name but a few....

- It is huge. So big, some of the booths have play areas for the kids.
- They have childcare facilities, all ages of children programmes, tween and teen programmes, so that ALL of the grown-ups can fully experience the presentations.

They next FFL that might be of interest to folks is in London - however, this conference is sold out since last March.

But if you were planning your 2016 family holiday in America then why consider making the FFL 2016 conference part of your holiday in July? It's MORE than worth it!

I put together some of my photos from both of the conferences I attended in Orlando if you would like a better taste.

"Diabetes Hands Foundation, through the Diabetes Advocates program, covered the costs of my travel, registration and lodging while at MasterLab through a scholarship. That being said, the views and opinions expressed are my own