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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16 thoughts on “CWD Friends For Life – First Timer

  1. Well I can’t make it to the first Canadian FFL but I think that I maybe able to manage the second one. It’s a little closer to home and I’ll have time to save. This one is only a week and a bit away.

  2. I know I tear up easily (waaaay too easily), but where you said “the isolation that normally swallows you up completely melts away” really got me. I’d love to have an experience that made me feel like that. (I haven’t felt like that since d-camp, and that was… oh… geez…. 16 years ago.) Thanks for sharing your experiences with us, Scott.

  3. This is so awesome, and makes me so want to be a part of CWD 2011 even more than ever now. Glad you had such a great time, Scott. Hope there’s a chance to be there again next year, and I’ll eagerly hope and push for the chance to be a “First Timer” myself!

  4. in the past, I have worn my FFL band to tatters..unfortunately, outside of Orlando (where everyone assumes its a theme park wristband) and FFL (which is over wayyyy too quickly) its mistaken as a hospital band, and after half a dozen concerned comments,(as to my current health) I decided it wasn’t worth it, FFL is a special week & I will just enjoy wearing it there.

  5. So cool to feel so at home. Making someone feel comfortable at such a large convention tells you that good people are running this thing. Only real people with loving hearts can pull off making so many feel so at home.
    that is awesome man, really awesome,

  6. Scott:
    I literally loved my green wristband to pieces.
    Lucky for me, Jeff Hitchcock was kind enough to send me a few via snail mail! They have a place of honor in both my office & my heart~
    Kelly K

  7. Scott, I’m so glad that you recognized me and took the time to talk to me! Meeting you at FFL was definitely a highlight!
    And I seriously love seeing those green bands!

  8. @schmancy, there is a FFL in Vancouver as well!! Check it out!
    @Scott This was truly one of the best weeks my family has had and we were so grateful to meet all of you grown up type 1’s and see that you are living a fabulous, healthy life!

  9. My wife forced me to take the green wristband off. 🙁
    Well not really, it was getting kind of ratty. Those were a great part of CWD. I didn’t bump into Allison, maybe another time.

  10. Scott, I’m glad you are sharing this. The green bracelets is a big, big deal. There’s something about seeing so many people living with T1 in one spot that melts you on the inside. I think about that all the time.

  11. I am totally jealous. I was just thinking about how much I would love to go to one of these huge events. I live in North Western Ontario and it’s a little far and pricey to be going there but oh how I would love to be able to experiance just a little of what you share.
    Thanks for allowing the rest of us a little glimps into this D safe haven.

  12. that sounds so cool.what i like is “knowing” who the type 1 s secret eye exams to see if you can spot a pump a meter a pen.(some people can hide this stuff very well!!)
    i still think we all should have a band.
    thank you scott.