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CWD: Friends For Life.

Friends for Life has to be the most aptly named conference I've ever attended.  I had the chance to meet, and reunite with, many people from the diabetes online community who have helped to change the course of my diabetes health. CWD's Friends for Life conference has more information on tap than I can cover in one post, but that's for later this week. 

For now, I want to focus on the faces of diabetes.

A little blogger meet-up action at CWD.
From left to right:  Elizabeth, CuteBaby, David, Kerri, Sara, and Mandy 
 
We had a sort-of impromptu blogger meet-up after Chris and I arrived in Orlando, but we totally forgot to take any pictures.  (I know - bad blogger!!)  But we did manage to snap that shot before the banquet on Thursday night. 
 
The magical, mystical Bennet!
Bennet (behaving) and Kerri (sort of behaving)

I was also able to meet Bennet from YDMV and his fantastic family.  This is the only picture that came out normal of the two of us.  The other one was very goofy and there is no way I could share it with everyone ... whoops.  (And speaking of parents at CWD, I had the pleasure of meeting Michelle Campbell for the first time.  She's awesome - hi, Michelle!!)

Me and Andy Bell.
Kerri and Andy Bell.

I also was able to FINALLY meet Andy Bell from the JDRF.  He's as energetic and sweet as I had anticipated, and the kids just flocked to his warm and friendly style.  The JDRF is lucky to have Andy as an advocate!

Kerri and Sara.
Kerri and Sara

And, of course, the awesome Ms. Sara Knicks herself.  Sara and I met for the first time at CWD last year and she's now blogging over at Diabetes Daily.  (She also rocks a glow necklace like nobody's business.)

These people inspire the hell out of me.  Whether we're diagnosed with diabetes in our childhood or in our later years, "children with diabetes" grow up to be determined, capable, and reasonably badass.  We live with this disease and it may affect some of our decisions and take its physical toll, but it doesn't keep us from being ourselves, being happy, and being strong. 

All thsoe pictures?  Living proof.  

(More on the CWD conference to come, including plenty of this:

Rockin' Disney World!! )

Comments

LOL! How many pictures did we snap to get that not horrible one? :D

I intended to start getting caught up on blogging last night but fell asleep right after dinner instead!

Good to put a face with an @! I saw you in a few sessions but did not realize it was YOU. Next time I'll say "hi".

@jhef

GArate pictures! Maybe one day I can make it to the conference. Sounds like an amazing time. Thanks for sharing!

Great photos, Kerri. Looking forward to more.

Andy Bell is awesome!!

Kerri and Sara! Two of my favorite people!

I just hate that I could not be there. I know one day I'll make it, I just hope it's 2010!

Thanks for posting the pics! Elizabeth and I had a blast at dinner. Can't wait for the next meetup!

Such a great time!

I really enjoyed meeting and hanging out with everyone.

Thanks Kerri :)

That conference was expensive and did not have need-base financial aid. I would like to note that the 'faces' of the 'friends for life' look awfully similar. Perhaps the conference could be renamed to 'Rich White Diabetics for Life?" When will someone realize that there are type 1's who can't fly off to FL on a whim and we may all have diabetes but we don't all have the same opportunities?

Thoughts - there is need based financial aid. A personal friend attended soley with the help of the financial aid. All expenses were paid. Conference fee and hotel.

Since the very first Friends for Life conference, CWD has found a way to bring families to the conference who would not be able to attend without financial assistance. Early on we did this ourselves, but now this role is served by the Diabetes Scholars Foundation (www.diabetesscholars.org), which provides scholarships for families and young adults to attend CWD conferences (Friends for Life and regionals), as well as college scholarships to young people with type 1 diabetes.

We realize that many families cannot or don't want to travel to Orlando with their family. This is why we hold regional conferences throughout the US and Canada each year. This year (2009), we will hold five regional conferences, in addition to Friends for Life in Orlando and Friends for Like UK near London.

Finally, we are very mindful of the fact that type 1 diabetes impacts families from all economic and ethnic groups. We work very hard to keep conference registration costs as low as possible -- and do so thanks to the generous support from our industry sponsors and partners.

fact: the scholarship applications have no questions about financial need.

What a terrific photo of you and Andy! You must have found someone very adept at using your camera to have taken a photo that came out so well.

I just love seeing pictures of so many of the folks I respect, admire, and am inspired by too - thanks for sharing!

Thoughts,

For the record, and to correct your misunderstanding, the following is taken directly from the 2009 CWD FFL Family Scholarship Application Form:

Line 4. "Please provide a brief statement of financial need: Attach a copy of your 2008 Federal Tax 1040 (Individual Income Tax Return), copy of W-2, as well as your last two pay stubs (two for each parent if you both work.)"

Hopefully, this information will clear up any misconception that you have about the availability of financial aid, and the corresponding request for proof of need.

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