Report from San Diego 2005

Nearly 200 people from across the U.S. (as far away as Boston and Florida) gathered for the 15th Children with Diabetes conference, Focus on Pumping, held September 9-11, 2005 at the Marriott Mission Valley in San Diego, California. The weather was unseasonably cool and sunny, but that didn't stop the younger kids and tweeners from spending lots of time in the (very heated) swimming pool, nor did it stop the teens from exploring such San Diego landmarks as Balboa Park and Seaport Village! And for those who stayed over Sunday night to relax and enjoy some down time with other CWD families, sight-seeing in the Gaslamp District and Little Italy - as well as a sail in the San Diego Bay - were definitely highlights of the weekend!

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 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, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, Diabetes Mall, Disetronic, LifeScan, Medtronic MiniMed, Nipro Diabetes Systems, Smiths Medical, SpectRx, 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 Bernadette Tull and Meghan Neumann for staffing registration and serving as the information checkpoint for both CWD participants and other hotel guests interested in our event (conferences always elicit lots and lots of questions from other people at other events at the hotel)!

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. Bruce Buckingham opened the conference with a session about Continuous Glucose Monitoring and the path to a closed loop. In his very relaxed and understandable style, Dr. Buckingham presented the historical path of what has led to today's continuous monitoring devices. He then presented information about new CGM devices which are either in front of the FDA or still in the conceptual stage. The important bottom line from this session was that continuous data will most certainly be a critical tool in managing type 1 diabetes, from catching highs/lows before they happen, to limiting the wide excursions in blood glucose throughout the night and day.

Author and pump specialist John Walsh presented sessions for both beginning and advanced pumpers on Saturday, and was also available throughout the conference to help pumpers tweak their pumping routines with things like 'super bolusing' and 'tipping.' CWD sports program director Rick Philbin discussed managing diabetes in children who are athletic and very active, and then he continued the weekend working with the teen program - getting the kids off-site, playing kickball in Balboa Park! He was also available throughout the weekend to conference participants who wished to discuss particular challenges in managing their own sport and diabetes. There were quite a few teen and tweener athletes at this conference, with sports such as hockey, tennis, swimming, and soccer!

CWD mom and ADA advocacy expert Crystal Jackson presented two sessions on Saturday which focused on the basics of managing pumping in the classroom and having a 504 plan in place to cover the management protocol for each child. She spent the second session in more of an interactive problem-solving mode, addressing specific school-related challenges faced by the CWD families. Crystal encouraged families to be proactive and armed with knowledge as they work with the school systems. 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. Dr. Kelly then spent the rest of the conference working with his favorite group of kids: the tweeners!

Gary Scheiner presented two sessions - Strike the Spike, and Preventing and Managing Hypoglycemia - both very challenging topics for many pumpers. Teen program coordinator Natalie Bellini took time off from her very busy schedule with the teens to present the general session, Selecting an Infusion Set. Natalie is known at CWD conferences for her no-nonsense presentation style, and she discussed the pros and cons of all of the infusion sets currently on the market (there are a lot), combined with a demonstration of how each of them works and looks when applied. As usual, her presentation sparked many questions and Natalie spent the rest of the day meeting with individual families to discuss infusion sets, cannula length, types of adhesive, and very importantly, site rotation.

For the teen group, the conference began in earnest on Saturday morning with a discussion of the CWD teen ground rules - i.e., in going off-site and participating in teen activities, every person has to have a meter, strips, insulin, and some form of glucose! During the weekend the teens spent time exploring Balboa Park, Seaport Village, Target (a most favorite destination!), as well as the hotel swimming pool and hot tub! The teens had their own meeting place - a separate building on hotel property called Kicks. On Saturday evening, they held a pizza party, followed by some very fun pool time. Sunday afternoon's closing session featured a panel discussion by CWD teens and tweeners Sam Billetdeaux, Marissa Hitchcock, Monica Lanning, and Trevor Tull. The kids candidly discussed their feelings about diabetes and pumping and took questions from the audience, and they did a great job! It's not easy sitting in front of an audience and sharing your thoughts about diabetes! Many thanks to teen coordinator Natalie Bellini and program staff Jim Vail, Chris Tull, and Neal Billetdeaux for scooting everyone in the right direction, getting everyone on the right trolley and making sure no backpacks (or kids) were left behind!

The tweener group - ages 9-12 - began with an ice-breaker and a discussion of "What Do You Want To Learn This Weekend?" Based on the kids' responses, group coordinators Kim Kelly and Melissa Ringley structured the weekend to include some discussion time about those topics, as well as some fun social and sports activities. The kids had wonderful questions, and they learned about different infusion sets, important concepts in helping take care of a brother or sister with diabetes, and they all discussed the importance of good dental hygiene and healthy diet. Quite a few of the kids said that their favorite activity during the weekend was the CWD version of Diabetes Taboo!

Both the tweener and elementary groups participated in Scavenger Hunts on Saturday and Sunday which had them scouring the hotel and exhibit hall - and interviewing CWD and hotel staff - for tidbits of information, i.e., find the number of carbs in a 10 oz cup of lemonade. This was a very active and fun activity for the kids (and the staff)!

The elementary age children, led by CWD moms Lauren Lanning and Michelle Rago and CWD dietitian Mike Schurig, 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 including musical chairs, chalk-drawing, free play, and interactive diabetes games. And absolutely best of all - pool time all afternoon on Saturday! 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, many families enjoyed an ice cream social in Kicks, followed by a poolside movie. The Marriott was kind enough to modify their movie schedule to accommodate our families and kids. We bundled up in jackets, sweatshirts, and blankets, grabbed a bowl of popcorn and a cup of lemonade, and watched Shark's Tale down by the pool. A few kids braved the cool evening to spend more time in the swimming pool, while many of the teens enjoyed the hot tub.

Interestingly, while this conference was one of the smaller regional events in terms of attendance, nearly all of the conference participants gave very positive feedback that this was their favorite CWD conference (many had attended other conferences in the past and were there to update about pumping). Every parent got to meet every other parent, every exhibitor and every presenter, and this encouraged very lively conversations about all sorts of diabetes topics. The teens in particular expressed that because their group included about 20 kids, every single person was going home with 19 new teen best friends. They were all a bit sad about leaving… and were already making plans for some impromptu CWD get togethers before the next conference (teens - stay tuned!).

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. 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.

Finally, CWD would not be able to hold conferences at all if not for the continued and consistent generosity of our sponsors. Special thanks and appreciation to Abbott Diabetes Care, Animas Corporation, LifeScan, Medtronic MiniMed, Novo Nordisk, and Smiths Medical MD, Inc. for their generosity in supporting the conference and CWD families, as well as their passion for helping our kids and everyone with diabetes to lead a full and healthy life.


Families met with exhibitors on Friday night
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Dr. Bruce Buckingham spoke about continuous glucose sensors and the evolution to a closed loop system
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Ben started pumping insulin and Donny pumped saline
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Monica shows Navigator to John Walsh, Gary Scheiner, and a group of parents and kids
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Natalie Bellini pumps both insulin and Symlin
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Kayse made quite a positive impression on Melissa -- and everyone else
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Ben tries out his new insulin pump ... with a pink Inset!
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San Diego 2005: Focus on Pumping
Conference - Registration - Program - Faculty
Sponsors - Exhibitor Information

Report | Photo Pages: | 1 | 2 | 3 | Grade School Kids
Navigator 1 | Navigator 2 | Navigator 3

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Last Updated: Sat Sep 17 14:49:06 2005
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