National Conferences

2014 TCF Conference Logo

The Compassionate Friends is pleased to announce that Chicago, Illinois, will be the site of the 37th TCF National Conference on July 11-13, 2014. "Miles of Compassion through The Winds of Hope" is the theme of this year's event, which promises more of last year's great national conference experience. The 2014 conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, just minutes from the airport. We'll keep you updated with details here, on the national website as well as on our TCF/USA Facebook Page and elsewhere as they become available. Plan to come and be a part of this heartwarming experience. View our registration booklet for conference schedule and printable registration form.

Program Book now available to plan for your Conference weekend.

Conference Registration

The Hyatt Regency O'Hare, 9300 Bryn Mawr Ave., Rosemont, IL 60018, is now accepting reservations for TCF's National Conference. To make your reservation, please access the following link, which will take you directly to TCF's reservation portal on the Hyatt's website. The Hyatt O'Hare has informed us that they are sold out of double rooms. However, there are still plenty of king rooms available. Conference attendees are receiving a discounted room rate. Conference attendees will also receive a discounted parking rate of $10 per day. We anticipate a large attendance for the conference, so we encourage you to make your reservation as soon as it is convenient for you. 

Additional Conference Accommodations Available:

TCF has arranged for a room block to handle any additional needs for our Conference attendees. They are currently accepting reservations at the Hilton Rosemont/Chicago O'Hare. Please mention the group code CPF when making your reservation. The room rate is the same as the Hyatt - $129/night. To make your reservations, please call 888.452.6943 or book online at All reservations have to be booked by Tuesday, June 17, 2014 to ensure availability at the group rate. 

Please visit Rosemont’s website,, for information on local area dining and activities.

Keynote Speakers

Alan Pedersen, Executive Director (Opening Ceremony) - Alan attended his first TCF meeting in Littleton, Colorado in 2001, after the death of his 18-year-old daughter Ashley, who died in an automobile accident.  Alan has been an active volunteer for TCF, having served on his local steering committee and as a member of the TCF National Board of directors in 2012 and 2013. In 2003, the focus of Alan’s professional life as a singer/songwriter changed.  He began using his talents to help families grieving the loss of a child. In the past 10 years, Alan has shared his story as a keynote speaker, workshop presenter and through performances of his original songs at nearly 900 events as part of his Angels Across the USA Tour. Alan's travels included presentations for nearly 300 TCF chapters.  Alan is certified as a Grief Services Provider (American Grief Academy) and lives in Roseville, California with his wife Denise who is also a bereaved mom to her son Sean Patrick Sullivan.

Eric Hipple (Friday Afternoon Luncheon) - Eric is a former National Football League (NFL) quarterback whose ten year career was spent with the Detroit Lions. Hipple's accomplishments include two playoff bids, a divisional championship, and the Detroit Lions most valuable  player award for the ‘81 season. Since his 15-year-old son Jeff's suicide, Hipple has devoted his life to building awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding depressive illnesses. He and his wife Shelly live in Fenton, MI with daughters Taylor and Tarah. His daughter Erica and her husband Ben live in Arlington, VA.

Dianne Gray (Saturday Evening Dinner) - Dianne is the President of Hospice and Healthcare Communications, an international firm focused on creating and furthering advocacy projects and education/mass media initiatives involving all aspects of hospice and palliative care. She is also an award winning writer, and her work has been featured in numerous magazines, textbooks and guides on pediatric end of life care and grief. She is also the President of the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, co-chairs American Academy of Pediatrics, Section of Hospice and Palliative Medicine’s Parent Advisory Group, and is an advisor to the Advocacy Committee of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network. She is the Senior Producer for an upcoming film on end of life care for PBS and was the associate producer of two documentaries, “After The End” and “The True Cost”. On a personal note, she still regards her family’s ten year pediatric hospice/palliative care experience with her son, Austin (who died in 2005), as “the gift of a lifetime.”

Alicia Franklin (Sunday Closing Ceremony) - Alicia is a bereaved sibling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, grief management specialist and a nationally board certified hypnotherapist. She is the author of Am I Still A Sister? and a contributing author in Dear Parents and The Dying and Bereaved Teenager. She co-authored A Place For Me: A Healing Journey for Grieving Kids, Footsteps Through Grief, The Other Side of Grief and Finding Your Way Through Grief with her mother, Darcie D. Sims. She is featured in the video, When A Loved One Dies: Walking Through Grief As A Teenager. A former Captain in the Air Force, Alicia designed the pediatric social work program for Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB and also served as the Chief of Mental Health at Columbus AFB.  Her military service included leading the Critical Incident Stress Teams at two different bases. Emerging as an internationally recognized authority on children and grief, Alicia has designed an award winning self-help model for children's grief support programs that has been implemented nation-wide. Alicia is the president of Grief International and a consultant for Grief, Inc. 


For your information, here is a list of the workshops that we will be offering at the Conference. If you are interested in sponsoring a certain workshop(s), please click on the link below. Workshop schedule to be determined.

Siblings, make sure to sign up when you register for the Conference.


A variety of sponsorships are available and can be found here, 37th National Conference Sponsorship Form To confirm your sponsorship, please call Lisa Corrao at the National Office, fill out the form and e-mail it to, or fax it back to us at 630.990.0246.

Questions? Please contact us at 877.969.0010.

Silent Auction

We are currently seeking donations for our Silent Auction at the Conference. Please consider donating a gift basket or individual items such as sports tickets, gift cards, restaurant gift cards (national chains preferred), and anything else you think would be a great addition to our Auction. Fill out the form and send directly to the National Office.


Volunteers are always needed for this very special conference. If you would like to volunteer, please fill out the Volunteer form or call the National Office at 877.969.0010.

Get a feel for what to expect at next year's national conference through highlights from the 2011 event in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota! Special thanks for highlights sponsors Amery Regional Medical Center and TCF's Manhattan Chapter.

Comments from Compassionate Friends who attended the 34th National Conference held in Minneapolis:

"This conference was life changing for me--my daughter died last year. Thank you to everyone that made my experience possible."

"The conference was great as usual. It is great to have a place like the National Conference to be ourselves. The unfortunate part is going home and back to the real world."

"Attending the conference was the best thing I could have done for myself. It's a vacation with my son that I will take every year!!!"

"I attended my first conference and it was one of the best things I have ever done. The friends I made were incredible and the feeling throughout the whole weekend was so healing. I never thought I would have to belong to such a club, but am grateful it is there to help. Thank you TCF!"