Disney World Gets Even More Magical

Disney World Gets Even More Magical

-Kelsie LaFerriere

Every year thousands of families flock to Walt Disney World in Orlando. For some families, it’s more than just a week of sunshine and amusement parks; it’s a chance to be among other families touched by type 1 diabetes. At Friends for Life, attendees experience a week filled with education on the most current information in type 1 diabetes care, and share type 1 diabetes management tips and experiences with others who understand life with this chronic condition.

Children with Diabetes will be hosting its 20th annual Friends for Life conference this summer at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. From July 16th – 21st, kids with type 1 diabetes, their siblings, adults with type 1 diabetes (and even their children), grandparents and other type 1 diabetes supporters, in addition to world-renowned clinicians, researchers, and physicians, all come together at ‘The Most Magical Place on Earth’. Attendees can join educational sessions on innovative type 1 diabetes research and management, participate in focus groups, discussion groups and trials, and even receive TrialNet and retinal screenings throughout the conference.

Friends for Life (FFL) isn’t like most disease-specific conferences. It’s not just that families are able to learn more about type 1 diabetes; it’s that living with the chronic disease is “the norm” for children and adults alike. There’s no need to explain beeping devices or carb counting, there are low-stations positioned around the conference, and there’s a general sense of comfort knowing everyone is living (in some way or another) with type 1 diabetes. To symbolize this, the conference is flooded with a sea of colored wristbands worn by attendees with pride. Green wristbands represent those who have type 1 diabetes, and their supporters wear orange wristbands – a visual representation of the vast support system this conference fosters.

While parents and adults can choose different speakers and presentations to attend, children get to hang out with others their age who know exactly what it’s like to have type 1 diabetes or love someone with the condition. If that wasn’t exciting enough, all of this happens feet away from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The conference includes planned group outings to the amusement parks, dinners and dancing at night, as well as tons of activities during the day.

Kids, especially those children who live daily with insulin dosing and symptom management, deserve to be surrounded by other children just like them – to grow, learn, share, and just have fun. Just as Friends for Life has helped different families from around the globe come together, the T1D Exchange Registry helps bring different voices and experiences into type 1 diabetes research.

T1D Exchange will be attending Friends for Life this year to discuss our newly launched T1D Exchange Registry. The Registry recently revealed new features to help make participating in research easy and more accessible. To further expand this effort, the Registry team will be bringing this research opportunity directly to families at Friends for Life. Attendees can stop by the exhibit hall to learn more about the Registry, ask questions, and even sign up to participate while at the conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Red Carpet,” and the Registry is hosting our own red carpet with a “paparazzi” photo opportunity.

There is no better way to help secure the future of diabetes research than by adding to it yourself. The Registry team is looking forward to hearing and learning from the world-renowned researchers, advocates, and families just like yours.

For those who can’t make it to Friends for Life this year (or for those attending who are eager to join), participants can join the Registry at any time, from anywhere in the United States using a computer or mobile device – no in-person sign-up needed! Enrollment is easy and only takes about 15 minutes. Simply complete a consent form and answer some quick questions about yourself (or your child) to make a difference in type 1 diabetes research.

The Friends for Life Conference in Orlando is just the first of many recruitment events that T1D Exchange plans to attend this summer. Stay tuned to see if the Registry team is coming to a conference or walk near you, and comment with an event that you would like us to attend!

Be heard. Support the type 1 diabetes community. Help drive research that matters. For more information, or to join, visit the T1D Exchange Registry or contact us at (617) 892-6165 or Registry@T1DExchange.org

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