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PEP Talk

DRI Makes a Splashy Appearance at CWD’s FFL

People were pointing, bells were ringing and everyone wanted to see for themselves just who was part of the CURE at the Diabetes Research Institute’s booth at the annual Children With Diabetes Friends for Life Conference held this July.  At this spectacular family “happening” that brought more than 3,000 children and adults from all over the world to Orlando, FL, we unfurled the visually-captivating CURE banner, a popular campaign that ran last fall, and invited passersby to find their photo. (See photos below.)

Scores of attendees searched through nearly 1,500 photos on the banner and those who found theirs were celebrated with the ringing of a bell and a replica of the CURE montage on a commemorative sticker. 

But the sticker just wasn’t enough for eager participants who literally wanted the shirts off our backs!  Clad in CURE collage black tees, DRI Foundation staff members decided to make them available to everyone.  >>Buy your CURE T-shirt now.

The DRI booth was also the first stop in the America Rocks contest. Kids followed clues, accumulated points and picked up goodies along the way to a chance at winning over $750 in prizes, including tickets to the concert/event of their choice, $100 in Disney Dollars and more.  Congratulations BRODY on taking home the grand prize!  You rock!!

Several DRI faculty and staff members participated in presentations during the week:

Dr. Jay Skyler – “Can we Prevent Type 1 Diabetes”

Dr. Juan Dominguez-Bendala – “Stem Cells: New Sources, More Options”

Dr. Alice Tomei – “Tissue Engineering and Immunology: New Ways to Protect Islets” 

Gary Kleiman, DRI executive director of medical development, spoke about participating in clinical trials, and related some of his own personal experiences. 

And let’s not forget that the DRI Foundation’s Vice-President Tom Karlya, also affectionately known as “Diabetes Dad” by practically every attendee and beyond, played a significant role not only in serving as the banquet emcee, but also leading multiple presentations about living with diabetes.

We hope you join us in sending (((big hugs))) to Jeff Hitchcock and Laura Billetdeaux who do a tremendous job organizing this amazing event every year.

It’s not too early to mark your calendars for next year’s Friends for Life International Conference, July 4-8 at the Marriott World Center in Orlando.  The DRI will proudly be there for our 12th consecutive year!

Diabetes Dad Tom Karlya and DRIF President and CEO Robert A. Pearlman check in at the hotel. 

DRIF's Tom Karlya, Barbara Singer, Brian Huether, and Lori Weintraub, former NFL player Kendall Simmons and his wife, Celesta, with Bob Pearlman.

"Hey look, Ma.  Our photo is in the CURE!"


The Grant Family, who participated in the PEP Talk mini conference earlier this year, came to visit us at CWD.  Love the balloon hat, Senie!

Brian Huether presents the America Rocks grand prize to Brody.  Great job!


Tom Karlya with American Idol finalist Crystal Bowersox, who has type 1 diabetes.


Katelyn of Colorado Springs found her photo in the CURE.


Friends for Life, Barbara Singer and Laura Billetdeaux.  Barbara's office wall is covered in CWD plaques!  Love it!!

Meet Coco!  She's friends with Goofy, Mickey and the gang, and she has type 1.  She was introduced to audiences at the conference. 


Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
200 S. Park Road, Suite 100
Hollywood, FL 33021
[P]   (954) 964-4040
[TF] (800) 321-3437
[F]   (954) 964-7036

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