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Friends for Life Canada 2019

November 8 @ 5:00 am - November 10 @ 4:15 pm UTC+0


WHAT: A weekend conference for the Type 1 diabetes community. Youth attend activity and education sessions led by youth-focused staff. Parents and Adults attend breakout sessions led by industry experts.

WHERE: Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls

WHEN: November 8-10, 2019

WHO: Youth (0-17), Adult (18+), and Parent Programming for the Type 1 diabetes community (siblings, children, and friends welcomed) 

Children with Diabetes (CWD) and Connected in Motion (CIM) present Friends for Life Canada, a conference for individuals and families living with type 1 diabetes! Join our group of world-renowned clinicians, researchers, physicians, adults, children, and families with diabetes to learn the most current information in diabetes care and support. Attend educational sessions and get cutting-edge diabetes management ideas. Participate in discussion groups, share your story, and help motivate and support others who walk in similar shoes. Watch toddlers and teens, college students and professionals, young parents and grandparents, new and practiced diabetes clinicians make new and lifelong friendships. This is a conference you won’t ever forget!

Friends for Life Canada 2018 was better than we could ever have imagined. Based on feedback from the community, we are working hard to make the conference available to more families in 2019!

Now, the FFL Canada Team needs to raise the money to make this possible!

We work hard to make the conference accessible to the community, heavily subsidizing each registration fee. Help us make the experience available to more individuals by making a donation, hosting a fundraiser, or spreading the word.


OF OUR $10,000 GOAL




For now, check out some of our 2018 FFL Canada Faculty below

Tina Sartori

Elementary Staff Lead, T1D since 1993

Tina has been rocking the world of living with T1 for 25 years. Her connection to the T1 community and outdoor adventures started at Camp Huronda where she worked for 17 summers, the final few as the Assistant Director. She was thrilled at the idea of an organization like CIM coming to fruition after her camp days ended as she realized the strength and knowledge of a T1 community is vital for managing this disease. Tina has some experience in the outdoors, but nothing like what the Rockwall has in store. She has taken on her 25th diaversary as one for celebrating living well with type one and doing big things! She has taken Adam Brown’s writing in Bright Spots and Landmines to heart, with regards to eating and insulin management and is currently training for a half marathon with CIM in Ottawa on May 27. The Rockwall Trail will be the grand finale! She is the Executive Director at Montessori Academy of London, where she tries to get on every outdoor field trip as possible, and lives in the city with her husband Kary and 9 year old son William. Together they share a passion for fishing and baseball.

Saturday @ 7:15pm - Sport & Adventure Panel - Hear from some Slipstreamers who have been on epic adventures in sport and backcountry exploration. Join the CIM Adventure Team and Team Bike Beyond in a panel discussion. Bring your questions!

Erin Randall

Childcare Staff Lead, 5.5er since ∞

Supporting close family members with T1D for the past 30+ years, Erin has always considered herself an ally to the T1D community. Her strong desire to educate and connect with the T1D community led Erin to work at Camp Huronda for many summers and to pursue a career in nursing. Erin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, as well as being a Certified Diabetes Educator. Not only does Erin work as the Slipstream Coordinator, she also works as a nurse educator at the paediatric diabetes clinic at Markham Stouffville Hospital. When Erin is not working you can find her paddling, camping or spending time at the cottage.

Alanna Landry

Teen Staff Lead, RN, CDE

Alanna Landry, RN, CDE, has had the privilege of working alongside the T1D community as a pediatric diabetes nurse educator for 22 years at Markham Stouffville Hospital in Ontario, Canada. After attending her first CWD FFL conference in 2004, she was amazed and inspired by the incredible experience. Working in the teen program has been something she looks forward to each year.

Michelle Sorensen

Diabetes Psychologist, Mom, T1D since 1998

Michelle Sorensen has been living with type 1 diabetes for almost 20 years. She was diagnosed during graduate school and is now a clinical psychologist who works with people with diabetes (although she doesn’t discriminate and does see those without D as well!)

Lorraine Anderson

RD, CDE, T1D since 1988

Lorraine is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She has had the privilege of presenting lectures and workshops across Canada to both health care professionals and PWD’s and their families. When not at work, she is a busy mom and stepmom to six teenagers/“young adults” and two golden retrievers. Lorraine celebrated her 30 year diaversary in March of this year and understands firsthand the ups and downs of daily life with t1d.

Julie De Vos

Kinesiologist, CDE, T1D since 1990

The diabetes community has always remained a constant in Julie’s life. After traveling the world, she started volunteering her time with Connected In Motion and Riding On Insulin. This led to a career change into Programming and Education and as a Registered Kinesiologist and Certified Diabetes Educator, Julie now works as the Community Advocate for Diabetes Daily. While managing multiple chronic diseases, she continues to push herself on the slopes, scuba diving and checking off the adventures on her travel bucket list.

Tammy Hand

Tween Staff, T1D since ~1975

Tammy Hand grew up in Scarborough Ontario. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 10 – sadly it was just after Halloween and her brother got to eat all of her candy. On the good side she started going to Diabetic Camp where she got in touch with her nature self. Tammy spends her days at her dream job instructing at one of the Peel District School Boards Outdoor/Environmental Education Centres. To her, outside doing stuff, experiencing life = fun. Tammy is excited to be joining the CIM Adventure Team heading to Gros Morne this summer because she am stoked to explore a place she has never been, to push her limits and to spread the word to others that life with Type 1 Diabetes can be full of possibilities.

Anissa Gamble

2017 Adventure Team Member, Athlete, T1D since 2002

Anissa Gamble was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick where she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 8. Pursuing competitive hockey, she attended Appleby College in Oakville, Ontario for high school, and went on to play Division 1 NCAA hockey at Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While at RMU, she majored in biology with a concentration in pre-medicine and minored in chemistry. She recently completed her masters in experimental surgery at the University of Alberta studying islet cell transplantation for Type 1 diabetes under the wing of Dr. Shapiro.

Saturday @ 7:15pm - Hear from some Slipstreamers who have been on epic adventures in sport and backcountry exploration. Join the CIM Adventure Team and Team Bike Beyond in a panel discussion. Bring your questions!

Gamble will be joining us for the weekend to tackle all things social media.

Heather Gomez

Community Outreach Coordinator @ Connected in Motion, T1D since 2006.

When Heather was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 16, Connected in Motion was one of the first organizations she was introduced to as a ``new member`` of the diabetes community in Toronto. Soon after, Heather moved to Nova Scotia to attend Acadia University, later graduating with a Kinesiology degree. For the past three years, Heather has been working with a number of diabetes organizations in the community, coordinating programs for youth and adults with T1D. She has also stayed busy teaching all varieties of fitness classes (and has a special love for aquafitness!).

Hank Devos

Film Maker, T1D since 1994

When he isn’t daydreaming about ripping down a mountain in knee deep powder, you can find Hank behind a camera. His passion for film and media began when he was a young child– seeing blockbuster films had him hooked. Whether it’s on a mountain, or inside a studio, the need to tell a story through images consumes his time. His love for the outdoors and filmmaking collide head-on in his role with Connected in Motion as their video producer. Hank is the man and the mind behind the CIM Adventure Team video project.

Hank will be documenting our weekend to create the Ontario Slipstream Highlight Reel.

Jen Hanson

Executive Director @ Connected in Motion, Type 1 Since 1987.

Jen has grown up with Type 1 diabetes. Diagnosed in 1987, she has never let diabetes stop her from pursuing her passion. Jen’s early beginnings as a campfire-loving, bug-catching, mud-puddle-jumping, tree-climbing tot sparked in her a love for the natural world that has been fostered and frown into a full-blown passion for everything outdoors. Jen has degrees in Kinesiology and Education and specializes in Outdoor and Experiential Health education. Jen has worked with Connected In Motion for 10 years and is now CIM's Executive Director.

Amy Burrows

Elementary Staff, T1D since 1988

No stranger to CIM, Amy Burrows has had type one diabetes for 30 years. Hailing from Beaverton Ontario Amy enjoys spending time outdoors (mainly canoe tripping) with her friends, family, fellow T1's and her dog Caius. She spends her days working in dentistry as a Level 2 assistant and treatment coordinator in Uxbridge.

Paul Chalmers

Tween Staff, T1D since 2000

Paul Chalmers lives in Niagara Falls, Ontario and works full-time for U-Haul. He also is completing his BA in Business Management. Paul loves long walks on the beach, snowboarding, reading and hanging with friends. He loves Slipstreams and looks forward to the chance to meet new friends and connect with old ones (that you haven't seen in 16 years from before you both had diabetes - seriously, that happened). Paul is excited to learn new and interesting ideas about diabetes. Interesting Fact: In 2016, Paul received Niagara's 40 under 40 business award for young leaders in the Niagara area.

Saturday @ 3:30pm - Archery - Try your hand with a bow and arrow! Join us for a lesson and get out and practice your skills.

Sarah Melcher

Tween Staff Lead, T1D 1996

Sarah Melcher was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was nine years old. She volunteered at her first Friends for Life conference in 2009 and is excited to be taking the lead on the Tween Program at Friends for Life Canada in 2018. Sarah is a secondary school teacher, specializing in physical education. She has attended and worked at a diabetes summer camp in Ontario where she met many of her friends with diabetes.



For now, check out our 2018 FFL Canada Schedules for an idea of what to expect.


How do I register for the conference?

We expect that FFL Canada 2019 will sell out quickly. Registration is expected to open in early April 2019. To make sure you are receiving communications about registration, please opt in to the FFL Canada mailing list, here: http://eepurl.com/2pbRP

How do I register for childcare at the conference? What do the kids do in childcare? How will the staff take care of my child's diabetes?

To register for childcare, choose ‘child’ when registering for FFL Canada. Childcare is limited to the first 20 children who apply because of space limitations, so register as early as possible. Childcare is for full days only and for children age 5 and under. Childcare is coordinated by Erin Randall, RN, CDE and staffed by a team specifically chosen based on their experience with this age group.

Can my child participate in childcare for partial days?

Childcare is for full days only. We need to do this for staffing reasons. Childcare will open at 8:45am on Saturday and Sunday. Parents need to pick up their child right after morning sessions for lunch (60 minute lunch break). Childcare will close at 4:15 pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

What do I do about snacks in childcare?

You may leave a snack at childcare, in a container marked with your child’s name on it. Otherwise, child-friendly snacks will be available in the refreshment area outside the childcare rooms. When you come to check on your child during the break times, you will need to get them snack (we will not allow them to graze in the snack area without you being there!) and bring it into the childcare room. We’ll have a supply of glucose tabs and juice boxes in each room to treat lows. If you bring a snack, please, NO NUTS of any kind.

Can you accommodate special dietary needs, such as celiac or peanut allergies?

Yes. As with past Friends for Life® conferences, we take great care in trying to accommodate the special dietary needs of our conference participants. Please note that all food served at our conference will have portion size and carb counts listed in tent cards on the buffet tables. If you need special dietary accommodations (food allergies, kosher, gluten-free, etc.), there is a place on the registration form for you to note that. Note that you must alert us to allergies prior to the conference in order for us to ensure meals and snacks that work for you. Please note that all meals and snacks at FFL are nut-free.

Will my kids who don't have diabetes participate?

Friends for Life® is for your entire family. Kids who don’t have diabetes, whether they have a sibling or parent with type 1, participate in their age group sessions. There’s much to learn and share for them too.

What is the dress code?

Niagara in November can be cool, windy, wet, or snowy – Come prepared for fall in Canada! Dress comfortably. For most people, this means jeans, t-shirt, and a warm layer. If you are attending the Saturday evening social for Adults with Type 1 (as well as partners and friends – sorry, no parents allowed!), you may like to bring something a bit dressier. The youth program includes sessions which can be quite active. Please make sure your kids wear appropriate shoes for these activities.

I want to volunteer. How do I sign up to help?

Heather Gomez is in charge of the volunteer schedule. We plan to have over 75 volunteers at FFL Canada. We couldn’t put on a conference without the help of these folks! Some jobs are quite big (coordinators of different areas, such as AV or room moderators), others require less time (such a room captains, or check-in for the movie night.) Although most spots are already filled, feel free to email Heather if you have a special interest in being involved. Please note, all staff working with youth are required to have a Vulnerable Sectors Check completed. Heather can be reached at heather@connectedinmotion.ca

My child has special needs. Will she be able to participate in the regular youth programming?

Our Youth Staff are skilled at type 1 diabetes care, but are not trained to take care of a child with special needs. If your child has special needs, please contact Laura Billetdeaux via email (laura@childrenwithdiabetes.com) before you register to ensure that your child will be able to join in their age group programming.

I read about the Tween Program. My son is 13. Will he be a Tween or a Teen?

We must be very strict about kids staying within their particular age groups. This year we will have childcare (ages 0-5), elementary group (ages 6-8), a  tween group (ages 9-12), and a teen group (ages 13-17). Those who are 18 are part of the adult group, not teens.

I see that the teens are scheduled to go off-site on Sunday. Will other age groups be doing this as well?

This is a special event just for the teens. Note that teens must participate in all six sessions on Saturday and Sunday in order to participate in the off-site event on Sunday.

Can children come into the adult sessions?

Unless otherwise noted, they may, although we strongly encourage kids to be in their age-appropriate sessions. The material presented in adult sessions is on an adult level. Often, some of these same topics are discussed with the children within the context of some of their other learning activities – and the material is at an age-appropriate level for their group. Be aware that some adult and parents sessions include topics that are not appropriate for kids and kids will not be permitted in those sessions.

I received a registration confirmation form. Do I need to keep this?

The confirmation form verifies what you paid for. You should have received this from RegOnline right after you completed payment. Please print out your registration confirmation and bring it with you to the conference. When you pick up your registration materials on Friday evening, you can double check that everything is correct. At the registration desk (2nd Floor – Oakes Foyer) we will hand you name badges, conference t-shirts (the sizes you indicated on the registration form), and the printed program. Nothing is mailed ahead of time.

Is there a Facebook Group for Friends for Life Canada?

Yes, we have a private Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/FFLCanada. You must ask to be admitted to the group. If your Facebook profile doesn’t immediately convey that you are part of the type 1 diabetes community, please email Jeff Hitchcock (jeffh@childrenwithdiabetes.com) and ask him to approve your request to join the group.

We cannot afford the conference. Are there scholarships available?

Because the Friends for Life Conference is already so heavily subsidized, there are not additional subsidies available through Connected in Motion or Children with Diabetes. If we are made aware of external scholarship opportunities, we will post them here.

Do I sign up ahead of time for the sessions on Saturday and Sunday?

No, you do not sign up for the Saturday and Sunday sessions. Just go to them. Please be on time, as the seats do fill up.

I'm coming from outside of Canada. Can CIM help me get a visa?

CIM is unable to provide any assistance with obtaining a visa. Visitors from outside Canada are encouraged to submit a visa application well in advance of their anticipated travel date. Note that you will also need to make your own hotel reservations using a credit card. CIM cannot help with that either. Please note, if you are travelling from outside of the country, you will need your own travel health insurance. Please be sure you have obtained this before crossing the border so you can access emergency medical services, should they be required.

I work with a non-profit diabetes organization in my community and was wondering if it's ok for me to hand out information about it at the conference?

CIM and CWD receive hundreds of requests from organizations such as yours. The only companies and organizations which are allowed to hand out literature and demonstrate their products at FFL conferences are the ones who are in the Exhibit Hall. Thank you for respecting this!

I am an exhibitor and was hoping to share my exhibit space with another company or organization. Is that allowed?

Support form our Sponsors and Exhibitors help us welcome more families and community members into the conference and are an important part of the financial model that allows the program to remain sustainable. We do not allow for booth spaces to be shared and encourage anyone interested in interacting with the FFL Canada community to consider becoming a sponsor. For sponsorship inquiries, please reach out to Jen Hanson, ED of Connected in Motion (jen@connectedinmotion.ca)

Are we required to stay at the conference hotel?

You are not required to stay at the Sheraton on the Falls, although most people choose to do so for convenience and the sense of community, which often extends into the evenings and down time, by the pool and in the common areas.

May I bring my diabetes alert dog to Friends for Life?

The staff at FFL is well aware of the positive impact Diabetes Alert Dogs (DADs) have on children and adults who live with type 1 diabetes. While we do not want to disturb these relationships, we want to ensure that the presence of DADs does not interfere with the positive experiences of all our attendees. While DADs are welcome, we discourage conference participants from bringing their DADs to FFL. We have learned from past experience that DADs have a tendency to become overwhelmed and stressed by being in a closed environment for several days with hundreds of individuals who have type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We have seen DADs become overly aggressive and exhibit signs of anxiety because of their situation at FFL.


November 8 @ 5:00 am
November 10 @ 4:15 pm


Sheraton on the Falls
5875 Falls Ave
Niagara Falls,Canada
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