CWD Friends For Life – First Timer


Picture of my "First Timer" badge at FFL 2010I am easily overwhelmed — especially the first time I go somewhere or do something.

I think the folks at Children With Diabetes (CWD) must have known that.  They must have also known that I’m not the only one who feels that way.

If you have never been to a Friends For Life (FFL) conference, they go the extra mile to make sure you feel comfortable.

No, not just comfortable, more than comfortable.  They make you feel appreciated just for being there.  It was so great.

There is a “First Timer” ribbon on your name tag, a special table near registration with a few volunteers to answer questions and talk about how to make the most of the conference, and a special “First Timers Reception” (which I missed!).  I was bummed I missed it because there is a chance I missed meeting people!  At least I had a good excuse.  I’m pretty sure I was snuggling BSparl and visiting with Kerri & her husband after a fun-filled lunch.

At registration I was also given a green wristband.  This was one of the most special things for me.  The wristbands are color-coded, and everyone that registers gets one.  Orange wristbands were for family members or caregivers, and green wristbands were for those with type 1 diabetes.

It was a really great thing, and I think it serves a couple of important purposes.   There is the safety aspect of it, knowing that if you see a little one with a green wristband having trouble it could be their blood sugar.  But even more special, when you look around and see hundreds of people wearing green wristbands, the isolation that normally swallows you up completely melts away. Instead of isolation, you are enveloped in a giant bubble of understanding, support, and encouragement.  Every single person at the conference “gets it”.  I’ve never felt anything like it, and I miss it terribly.

Walking around the huge conference center and hotel, you’d see groups of kids, all ages, hanging out.  Their green bracelets pulling all of them together.

There were plenty of us “grown-ups” walking around with green bracelets too.  I bumped into Allison from “Low Snacksand Lip Gloss” while she was chatting with Dana Lewis.  I waved hello, then saw Allison and said “waitaminute…I know that face…”  It was very cool bumping into people from the DOC that I didn’t expect to see there.

Can you see the green wristbands in the picture?  It was like this all over the hotel.  Every few people you’d see, there would be a green wristband.  I loved it.  I left my green wristband on even long after I got home.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, and advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer.

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…