Report from Philadelphia 2006

Although this event was described as a 'regional' conference, nearly 400 people from across the U.S. – and even as far away as France! - gathered for the 16th Children with Diabetes conference, Focus on Pumping, held March 17-19, 2006 at the West Philadelphia Marriott in West Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. It was cold and blustery outdoors, but the energy indoors radiated the warmth of so many CWD families all in one place together, sharing, learning, and making new friends.

The conference began on Friday evening, as registration and the Exhibit Hall opened with a wonderful reception and social evening. Fourteen exhibiting companies spent the weekend with CWD families, discussing their insulin pumps and products, demonstrating new meters and data management systems related to pumping, and generally keeping conference participants up to date on the newest and best diabetes management tools available. Exhibitors included Abbott Diabetes Care, Animas, BD, Disetronic, LifeScan, Medtronic Diabetes, Nipro Diabetes Systems, OmniPod, Roche Diagnostics, Smiths Medical, TrialNet and Unomedical. Two other exhibitors, Angel Bear Pump Stuff and PumpWear, Inc., had some special significance for conference participants, as both of these companies are 'home-grown' - owned and run by CWD parents and grandparents. They had some wonderful pump accessories to share with our pumpers. Many thanks to Lisa Anstine, Bernadette Tull, and Adriana Rodenheiser for staffing registration and serving as the information checkpoint!

The conference was divided into several tracks for Saturday and Sunday, with the teens, tweeners, and elementary aged children all heading off to their own separate areas, and the adults having both general sessions as well as breakout sessions more specific to advanced pumpers and beginning (or considering) pumpers. Dr. Henry Anhalt opened the conference with a wonderfully informative – and often funny – perspective on Why We Pump. By the end of the session, those parents whose children already were pumpers understood the science behind it, and those considering pumping understood why they should move forward with it.

In a second session entitled The Future of Pumping: A Look Ahead, Dr. Anhalt discussed continuous glucose monitoring, development to date of CGM systems, and why this type of management is critical to people with type 1 diabetes. Dr. Anhalt stressed that one of CGM's most useful functions is to identify trends in blood glucose, and that this should be done quarterly for the best blood glucose management results.

CWD favorite Rick Philbin presented basic pumping information for those families who are just in the beginning stages of pumping (or considering a switch from MDI to pumping). Rick also talked about managing type 1 diabetes in kids who are very active and involved in sports. His talk Exercise and Busy Kids gave parents some pointers on what to modify with their child's pumping regimen. Rick was also available throughout the conference to discuss individual protocols for athletic pumpers. As Rick serves as CWD's Sports Coordinator for our various conferences, this is a topic near and dear to his heart!

CWD mom and ADA advocacy expert Crystal Jackson presented Pumping In Schools: Making It Work. Crystal encouraged families to be proactive and armed with knowledge as they work with the school systems. After her session, she was available both days to discuss specific school system challenges with individual families. Crystal was able to share with families the particular nuances of their state's regulations regarding diabetes management in schools. There is active and ongoing legislation in some states, and Crystal discussed that as well.

Pharmacist Kim Kelly, in his session Glucose: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, explained why glucose is beneficial - and dangerous as well - to all people, not just those with diabetes. This session is always an eye-opener to participants ... if you did not get an opportunity to hear Dr. Kelly at this conference, make sure you catch this session at the next one! After his presentation, Dr. Kelly then spent the rest of the conference working with his favorite group of kids: the tweeners!

Gary Scheiner presented three very interesting sessions – Advanced Pumping Concepts, Strike the Spike, and Preventing and Managing Hypoglycemia. In his discussion of Advanced Pumping, Gary presented ways to address those very challenging diabetes management scenarios, through the use of more advanced pump functions and dietary management. In his other sessions, Gary discussed the mechanism of hypoglycemia (which affects all of us at some time and is tremendously scary), as well as the very frustrating post-prandial blood glucose highs which affect lots of our kids.

On both Saturday and Sunday, Dr. Alan Schorr led discussion sessions about pump problem-solving. Parents were encouraged to bring their pump challenges to discuss with the group, and then Dr. Schorr walked through problem-solving scenarios with the group. It was very helpful for all levels of pumpers!

Teen program coordinator Natalie Bellini took time off from her very busy schedule with the teens to present Sunday's beginning general session, Selecting an Infusion Set. Natalie is known at CWD conferences for her no-nonsense (and sometimes very funny) presentation style, and she discussed the pros and cons of all of the infusion sets currently on the market. There are a lot. She also demonstrated how each infusion set works and looks when applied. Most importantly, Natalie stressed the importance of site rotation with infusion sets. This doesn't mean side to side, using the same two spots over and over. It means moving the set to at least several dozen different places on a person's body ... even if you need to use a permanent marker to grid it out.

The teen group was a big one this time – over 50 kids! Their weekend combined a mix of some very serious and emotional discussion led by Dr. Bob Bulgarelli with some very fun hands-on learning activities. One of the highlights was a group analysis of several huge bags of junk food brought from the local food court by teen staff Chris Tull and Jim Vail. Exactly how many grams of carb, how much fat, and how many calories are there in that big old bag of fries? The teens were surprised! That, of course, led up to Sunday's outing to – yes – the same food court at the nearby King of Prussia Mall. We're not sure, but we don't think anyone ordered that big portion of fries! Carb-counting by the group was pretty accurate, and the teens said that the previous day's session was a real eye-opener when it came to actually dining in such a venue!

The tweener group - ages 10-12 - began with an ice-breaker and a discussion of "What Is Glucose and Why Do We Care?" This set the stage for the rest of the weekend which included a wonderful mix of learning and fun. Tweener Program Coordinators Melissa Ringley and Kim Kelly led a rousing (truly!) game of Diabetes Taboo. You need to see this to believe it – and it is so much fun and so informative that we have talked about making it a parents session as well! The tweeners also were given the opportunity to design a quilt square for CWD's Quilt for Life, and some families even began working on their quilt squares Saturday evening. Many thanks to those CWD moms and grandmas who donated the blank quilt squares for this very special activity!

Both the tweener and elementary groups participated in Scavenger Hunts on Saturday and Sunday which had them scouring the hotel and exhibit area - and interviewing CWD and hotel staff - for tidbits of information, i.e., find the number of chandeliers in the convention center ... how many carbs in a chocolate TastyKake cupcake ... where will you find a picture of the liberty bell ... where is there a photo of Mrs. Marriott? This was a very active and fun activity for the kids (and the staff)! And boy was it noisy.

The elementary age children, led by CWD moms Lauren Lanning, Michelle Rago, and Stacey Nagel, enjoyed arts and crafts activities such as conference scrapbooking (including photos of your new CWD friends, 'what I think about diabetes' and autographs of faculty and friends), some very fun active time, free play, and interactive diabetes games. And absolutely best of all - pool time on Saturday and Sunday afternoons! While staff and parents did, indeed, fight low blood sugar challenges as a result of lots of active play in the pool and out, it was a great experience for all of us to discuss and handle these challenges together. It encouraged a lot of sharing regarding what works with temporary basals, infusion set adhesive, fast glucose, identifying impending lows ... and somehow the challenges just aren't that discouraging when you face them with friends!

Saturday night, thanks to the generous support of Founding Sponsor BD, all of the conference participants enjoyed a scrumptious Italian buffet dinner and some well-earned down time. It was a great feeling to just sit and chat with new friends about all the ideas presented during the day. There was so much new information; somehow discussing it with others helped it make sense and sink in! After dinner, the teens headed off on a Cosmic Bowling excursion (thanks to all the volunteers who drove there and stayed on site to supervise), while other folks worked on quilt squares or headed to the swimming pool.

Many thanks to CWD dietitian Mike Schurig, who once again spent months pulling together some great, healthy menus for all of our meals - complete with portion sizes and carb counts, and gluten free items for those who needed them. It always amazes the hotel management and dietary staff that we spend so much time and effort on this particular facet of our conferences ... but it is probably the most important thing that makes families feel safe about spending the weekend at a CWD event. So, kudos to Mike for another job well done. And many thanks to the Marriott for following instructions down to the last letter!

Finally, CWD would not be able to hold conferences at all if not for the continued and consistent generosity of our sponsors. BD stepped forward this year as our first Founding Sponsor for all of the 2006 regional conferences. This was so important to us as it allowed CWD to offer a Saturday evening dinner event which kept everyone on site, interacting and continuing the day. We haven't been able to do this at prior regionals, but we definitely felt it was missing. Because of the Founding Sponsorship, we were able to add this very special component – many thanks to BD for enabling us to do this.

Special thanks and appreciation to our supporting sponsors, including Abbott Diabetes Care, Animas Corporation, LifeScan, Medtronic Diabetes, Novo Nordisk, Roche Diagnostics, and Smiths Medical MD, Inc., for their generosity in supporting the regional conferences and CWD families, as well as their passion for helping our kids and everyone with diabetes to lead a full and healthy life.

Finally – a great big hug to all of our volunteers. You know who you are. And you know we couldn't do it without you.


Friday night was registration, then ...
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... a visit to the welcome table of Founding Sponsor BD ...
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... and then a visit to the many exhibitors to learn about the latest products.
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Speaker Henry Anhalt shared his wisdom and experience with families
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Kids of all ages proudly wore their insulin pumps
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A quick blood glucose check and then back in the pool
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Philadelphia 2006: Focus on Pumping
Conference - Program - Youth program
Faculty - Sponsors - Exhibitor Information
Report from the Conference - More Photos
Presentations from the Conference

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Last Updated: Sun Mar 26 15:42:27 2006
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