Teen Programming Staff
Natalie Bellini, RN, CDE, has had Type 1 diabetes since she was a young child. Within a year of finishing nursing school, she started to care for people with diabetes, focusing first on diabetes in pregnancy then pediatrics and insulin requiring adults. She has worked on the medical side of camps for children and teens in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. She has spoken nationally and internationally as an expert in both working with teens and their parents with diabetes as well as infusion set choice, usage and maintenance. Her fundamental goal when developing the teenage curriculum for Children with Diabetes conferences is that each and every teen that attends finds a passion in life and pursues it. She is currently studying to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Natalie is a senior territory manager with Animas Corporation and mom to Erin, who is now a senior in college.
Deborah Glassborow celebrated the start of her third decade of living with diabetes in 2010. She has been using an insulin pump since 2002 and felt so inspired by her positive personal experiences that she wanted to spread the word. Initially employed by Disetronic, Deborah has worked with Animas since 2005 where she has helped establish the business in the UK. In her spare time Deborah is a keen traveller and has always been determined that diabetes wasn't going to get in the way of living, so embarked on a solo trip across Africa whilst on injections. She likes to take to the hills to walk whenever possible, loves music and literature and has recently made steps to follow her childhood dream of studying falconry.
Marissa Hitchcock, BSN, RN, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 24 months old. She completed her bachelor of science in nursing in 2009 and works as a nurse in Tampa, Florida. She loves working with kids who have diabetes. Marissa brings her experiences as a diabetes camp counselor, nurse, and young adult with diabetes as she works with kids and teens at CWD's conferences.
Jim Vail was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19 while he was a sophomore at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Jim graduated with a degree in Media Communications and was a producer for CNBC Business news in Washington, D.C., for nine years all the while wrestling with the unpredictability of NPH and Regular insulin. After finally going on a pump in October of 2001 and 'getting his life back,' Jim pursued Animas Corporation, the maker of his insulin pump, for a job and a chance to reach others with diabetes. Jim made the jump from CNBC and has been with Animas Corporation since April 2002.
Nicola Ward has 4 children and 3 grandchildren. She has been working with Roche for 16 months, having looked after children with diabetes for some years. Nicola's hobbies include running, walking and reading. Her main time-consuming hobby, however, is track driving. Nicola’s last bit of fun was a visit to the Nurburgring in May. Just start talking about fast cars and she wakes up!
Tween Programming Staff
Justin Abel attended his first CWD conference in 2002 after his daughter Saylor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 2001. Once he started attending more CWD conferences, his wife Sunshine did not have to twist his arm for him to realize he wanted to get more involved. He is also dad to Sierra, who is a teen volunteer with CWD.
Nikki Allen, age 25, was diagnosed with MODY diabetes 10 years ago. Graduating as a nurse in 2007, she was keen to get involved with others with diabetes. She has been working as an inpatient nurse with adults with diabetes and is about to take up her first post as a Diabetes Specialist Nurse. Nikki has a particular interest in sports, particularly football. Friends for Life: UK 2010 will be her second CWD conference and she is looking forward to working with the teen group.
Carolyn Billetdeaux graduated from NYU with a degree in international business and Spanish and currently works as a sustainability consultant. She is older sister to Sam, who has had diabetes for over 13 years. Carolyn presents type 1 diabetes as a family disease: it affects everyone. She was a founding member of IDYA and founded the Supplies branch of the Children with Diabetes Foundation in 2003. She loves traveling and meeting other CWD families.
Paul Cheverton had such a great time at last year's CWD Conference and is delighted to have the opportunity to come back and help out again this year. Paul has a longstanding history of type 1 diabetes in his family and has spent the last three years working for Animas UK & Ireland supporting other families with insulin pumps. He enjoys sports and games of all kinds and can't wait to meet up with everyone at the 2011 conference.
Kelsey Martin was diagnosed with diabetes at age 12. She attended her first CWD conference two months later, and has since become an active volunteer. Kelsey has worked with first timers, tweens, and elementary-age children at CWD conferences. She is also active in her local chapter of JDRF as an ambassador and volunteer, and was the sole Kansas representative at the 2007 Children's Congress. Kelsey continues to be an advocate as she studies journalism and business in college.
Giulio Pojer, 22, lives in Italy and has had diabetes since the age of six. He recently graduated with a degree in Business Administration, with many educational semesters abroad (U.S, Ireland, Germany and U.K). He loves snowboarding, soccer and volleyball. During his studies abroad he always tried to connect with the local diabetes associations and to participate in their initiatives (Friends for Life Orlando, Friends for Life UK, JDRF camps). Giulio believes that, even if diabetes is an important aspect of his life, it is not the most important and he won't allow it to get in the way of his plans for his future!
Adam Town, BSN, RN, graduated from the University of Cincinnati's nursing program in 2009. Adam enjoys working with all children and is interested in pediatric nursing. He lives and works in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Adam enjoys sports of all kinds with a particular interest in baseball. Adam's fiance has had type 1 diabetes for over 22 years.
Elementary Programming Staff
Sunshine Abel, LVN, is the mother of two beautiful girls, Sierra and Sailor. She attended her first CWD conference with her family in 2002, after Sailor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Ever since then, Sunshine knew she had found a new family and a new home where kids were experiencing the same thing as Sailor. She then made it her mission to involve her whole family, including her Aunt Libby. Sunshine, husband Justin, and Aunt Libby all have volunteered for several years at Friends for Life conferences.
Laura Bailey's first experience with CWD was volunteering in Sports Central at Friends for Life UK last summer – and she was hooked! Laura, who has a family history of type 1 diabetes, has been involved in research and in fund-raising for the past decade. She performed diabetes research as part of her Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2003, and continued that work in her professional career. She also volunteers with Diabetes UK and raises funds for diabetes research. Her interests include playing the trombone, singing, and sculpting polymer clay. She is looking forward to working with the children at the 2010 UK conference!
Sam Billetdeaux, diagnosed at age 8, is determined that diabetes will never get in the way of his life dreams. Sam is an active member of the CWD Young Adult program and has traveled to Denmark, Italy, the UK, and all across the United States to exchange ideas with other CWD teens, young adults, and their families. Sam is an avid athlete and enjoys running and working out with friends. He is in college studying Spanish and the environment.
Martyn Carr, now 22, lives in Scotland. He is a qualified car mechanic and is studying Healthcare, hoping to study nursing and specialise in diabetes so that he can take care of kids with type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was five years old. Martyn and his family have participated in the last six Friends for Life conferences and helped out at the UK Friends for Life conference. Martyn has worked with the Elementary Group for the last three years and also with the tweens. He loves helping out and being with his other friends at CWD conferences.
Aileen Durkan attended her first CWD conference in 2009 and had such a wonderful time volunteering with the elementary group that she's coming back again this year. She has a younger brother with type 1 diabetes, and she has worked with LifeScan and Animas in Ireland for the past 10 years. She believes it is important to be at the forefront of what's happening in diabetes care, and she enjoys keeping her brother well-informed and motivated. Prior to working in the diabetes world, Aileen was a midwife for 13 years. In her spare time she volunteers for charity work involving children, believing that every child deserves the best possible chance in life. She also enjoys salsa dancing, attending sports games - especially rugby, travelling and meeting new people.
Liz Gillum is Mum of Chloe, 18, who has had type 1 since aged 9 and is currently an insulin pumper; and mum of Jack, 15. Liz joined CWD after doing much research to find a group that supports families. Liz is a Rainbow leader with a group of girls aged 5 to 7 learning about Girl Guiding. Liz also fundraises and volunteers for JDRF helping to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes. Liz helped out last year in the Elementary Group had lots of fun! She is looking forward to this year’s Friends for Life!
Elaine Gunn has three grown-up children; two sons still live at home and one daughter has emigrated to Japan. She also has a black Labrador called Holly. Elaine has helped with Scouts and Cubs and she very much enjoys working with children. At Roche Diagnostics, Elaine works in the Infusion Team. She is really looking forward to the Friends for Life event.
Lauren Lanning, mom of Monica, 17, dx 8/96, pumping 5/99, CGM 9/05, and Sarah, 15 ... her CWD "sig line." Lauren became involved with CWD shortly after her daughter was diagnosed in 1996. She has been involved in the CWD diabetes conferences since the very first gathering in Orlando in 2000, where she volunteered to make name badges. Lauren now coordinates the Elementary Programming for every CWD conference. Back home in Denver, she has served on the boards of the JDRF and CWD Foundation. She and her husband Steve have chaired and coached her local JDRF Ride team for many years. Lauren has worked as an elementary school computer teacher and now works at The Children's Diabetes Foundation at Denver as the IT Manager.
Melissa Pawlowski is a public relations major at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age four. Melissa has three siblings, Sarah, Kayla and Matthew. Matthew also has type 1 diabetes. Melissa enjoys attending Friends For Life Conferences and has been attending since 2003 with her family. Melissa loves working with CWD kids and is glad to be part of the CWD staff.
Al Piper's first experience of CWD was at Friends For Life in Orlando 2008. She was working with LifeScan at the time on international events and came to see what Friends for Life was all about. A week of running around with signs and generally getting involved got her hooked! She was part of the team that worked on making dreams of the first UK conference a reality in 2009 and has come back every year since as a volunteer. She is really looking forward to catching up with old friends, making new ones and is determined this year to have her face painted in time for the Halloween Party!
Becca Smart is also known as 'Panda' to those on the Infusion Pump Care Line at Roche. Becca looks after all of the Infusion Specialists and ensures that they have everything they need while they are working out in the field. She also illustrates the Combo the Cat books. Becca is looking forward to working with the younger children at her first Friends for Life conference!
Mary Babin, RN, BSN, CDE is one of the first clinical employees at Animas Corporation and the first coordinator of childcare for the little ones at the CWD conferences. Mary leads a team of certified diabetes educators providing childcare in a safe environment for kids under age six with and without diabetes. Providing this service alleviates the concerns of many parents of kids with diabetes – allowing them to attend the sessions with peace of mind knowing that their children are cared for by skilled professionals. This supports Mary's belief that education is the key to successful blood glucose management. As National Director of Clinical Services at Animas Corporation, she is responsible for overseeing diabetes and pump educators throughout the US. Mary has devoted her career to the world of medicine. As a graduate of Eastern University and Presbyterian School of Nursing, Mary has been in intensive care nursing for over 25 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for 15. This busy mom and devoted professional has been involved with CWD since 2001. You can spot her at the conferences-she’s the one with the trail of kids behind her!
Sharon Holmes works on the Accu-Chek Pump Care Line at Roche Diabetes Care. She is one of the friendly, helpful people you call if you have a problem with your pump. Sharon is looking forward to working with the younger children at her first Friends for Life conference!
Katie Jones works on the Accu-Chek pump care line for Roche Diagnostics where she takes orders for pump consumables and also provides technical support for pump problems. Katie is new to the team so she is learning every day! She is very much looking forward to the Friends for Life Conference.
Chelsea Meredith, age 20, has grown up around diabetes for the past eleven years; her brother Jeremy was diagnosed in 2000. She attended her first Friends for Life conference with her family in 2003 and has been to countless CWD events since that time. She loves kids and is a dance and acrobatics teacher for young children. Chelsea attends the University of South Florida St. Petersburg where she is studying history and philosophy as an Honors student. She is also an aerialist intending to run away with the circus, after college, of course! She spends all of her free time hanging from the rafters on a trapeze.
Shayne Weldon has been involved in JDRF UK since 2003. She has attended Friends for Life Orlando with husband Ashley and daughter Phoebe, who was diagnosed with type 1 in 2001. This year, as she has done at previous Friends for Life UK conferences, Shayne will assists in coordinating and providing childcare for the 'under 6' group. Shayne has been a Community Nursery Nurse in the UK since 2004 and a healthcare professional since 1981. In her spare time, she enjoys horse riding, reading, movies, and listening to music.
Friends for Life: UK 2011 is Sponsored By: Founding Sponsors
Friends for Life UK 2011 Conference and Expo Introduction - Faculty - Youth Faculty - Programme - Youth Programme - Sponsors FFL UK Reports from 2010 - 2009
Last Updated: Monday February 24, 2014 15:20:25
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.
This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2015. Comments and Feedback.