Marco Island 2007 Report

The weather was perfect. The beach was perfect. The hotel was - well, under construction ... but that didn't matter because we were on the perfect beach in the perfect weather.

And so began CWD's first Focus on Best Practices conference, held January 3-7, 2007 at the Marriott Marco Island Resort.

Sixty families from all over the U.S. gathered for several days of educational sessions, kids activities, support, and plenty of outdoor exercise. The presentations covered a wide range of cutting-edge topics. Dr. Bob Bulgarelli set the tone of the conference by opening with a session about managing our stressful lifestyles (he also offered meditation on the beach as a very helpful follow up to this presentation). Dr. Bruce Buckingham continued the program with an update on Continuous Sensors which covered information about both the devices currently on the market as well as those under development. Several conference participants were actually wearing continuous sensors and they shared their experiences and answered questions from the audience. Dr. Kim Kelly finished up the sessions on the first morning with a discussion entitled "It's Not Just About Insulin Anymore." Dr. Kelly addressed the need for additional medications which is experienced by people who have type 1 diabetes and concomitant insulin resistance. He also spoke about recent developments in medications which are very effective in managing potential complications.

With the morning over, nearly everyone went out on the beach or sat by the pool to celebrate 80 degrees and sunshine! The Marco Marriott has a beach with plenty of shells, and the kids had a great time collecting them (lots of sand dollars!). Parents gathered in groups on the beach and by the pool to compare notes and continue the discussion from the morning. The sunset cooperated ... and all in all, it was just a fabulous day.

Saturday's sessions began with Dr. Camillo Ricordi from the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami providing an update on Islet Cell Transplantation. Of great significance is the international growth and breadth of research in this area. It was very exciting to hear updates on the current and projected studies. Dr. Darrell Wilson from Stanford continued the morning's presentations with discussion entitled "The Best of the Best of the Best - Sir!" (ok, corny, but it was a good take-off on Men in Black). Dr. Wilson is a very engaging speaker - and quite funny at times - and he encouraged all of us, whether we were pumping or using injections, to give up the old comfortable ways and employ the current best practices in managing our kids' diabetes.

The last full session of the morning focused on developments towards the artificial pancreas, presented by Aaron Kowalski from the JDRF. Dr. Kowalski first talked about his own family - his brother, who was diagnosed as a child ... and then his own diagnosis. He talked about watching his parents struggle with both diagnoses, and about the guilt and sadness he felt watching his parents suffer over his - the second - diagnosis of type 1 in the family. This resonated with everyone. Dr. Kowalski explained how the artificial pancreas would work and presented research with the models to date. It was a very hopeful session.

Dr. Bulgarelli concluded the conference with very poignant remarks. He asked everyone to look inside themselves, consider all of the information they had learned the last two days, all of the friendships cemented, all of the support garnered ... and to feel - unbridled joy! - at the advances that have been made which allow our kids to lead happy, healthy lives.

On that note, everyone made a quick switch to bathing suits, and the group spent the afternoon on the beach, Marco Style! We had sailboats, beach hammocks, kayaks, all kinds of water toys ... and best of all - beach volleyball! The fun continued until dinner ... you guessed it, on the beach. The sunset was spectacular, and we all spent the evening under the stars, cooled by beach breezes, enjoying the company of new friends.

Same time, next year.

So many thanks are due to our wonderful Supporting Sponsors: Abbott Diabetes Care, Animas Corporation, LifeScan, Maple Grove Farms, Medtronic Diabetes, Novo Nordisk, and Smiths Medical MD, Inc..

To the conference's Founding Sponsor, BD, tremendous thanks for allowing us to add the Saturday afternoon and dinner event on the beach to this conference. So much learning and sharing happens during these social times. They are such a critical piece of the overall event.

To all of our sponsors, we hope you were able to come away with memories of the smiles and the hope created this weekend.

As always, many thanks as well to our CWD staff and volunteers: Lauren Lanning, Michelle Rago, Kim Kelly, Melissa Ringley, Natalie Bellini, Jim Vail, Nabil Elarbi, Neal Billetdeaux, Gayle Schurig, Mike Schurig, Julia Mattingly, Lisa Anstine, Mary Podjasek, Scott Scolnick, and Katie Daugherty. You are all worth your weight in gold.

[ Report | Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | Event announcement ]


The sun sets off Marco Island on Wednesday, the day before the conference begins
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CWD teens renew friendships
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Dr. Darrell Wilson spoke about best practices
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Kids enjoyed the glow-in-the-dark necklaces provided by Founding Sponsor BD during the Saturday evening dinner
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Last Updated: Sat Oct 13 09:40:57 2007
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