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  Back to Friends for Life UK 2014 Friends for Life UK 2014 Faculty

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Laura Bull is a Children's Diabetes Dietitian. After graduating as a dietitian, she trained as a paediatric dietitian, specialising in paediatric diabetes. Laura joined the Children's and Young People's Diabetes team at University College Hospital London Hospital in 2013. Laura is thrilled to join the faculty at Friends for Life.

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Dr Fiona Campbell is a consultant paediatrician and diabetologist at St James's University Hospital, Leeds. Her research interests are in paediatric diabetes with a particular interest in the use of insulin pumps. She started the paediatric pump programme in Leeds in October 2002 and 90 children currently attending the paediatric diabetes service use a pump to control their blood glucose levels. Dr Campbell has been involved in many local, national and international diabetes research studies and has recently been awarded a grant from Diabetes UK for a multi-centre, randomised, controlled trial to look at the incidence of hypoglycaemia in children using continuous glucose monitoring on pumps versus multiple daily injections. She is an Insulin Pump Association steering group member and has been on the DoH Insulin Pump Working Group which published its report in 2007. She was also the Diabetes UK nominated clinical expert at the TA 57 NICE guidelines review of pump therapy.


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Jacqui Double was a school teacher and performer until her life changed direction after the birth and subsequent diagnosis of her youngest son, Tom then aged 1. The diagnosis 5 years later of her eldest, Joe then aged 8 only sealed the deal. She found herself in the world of patient advocacy; trying to improve the care and support for children in the UK with Type 1 Diabetes through work with various Department of Health and Education groups as a parent rep. She is currently sitting on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Paediatric Diabetes Guideline Review and is the Chair of the Families with Diabetes National Network, aiming to join together the voices of those living with children and young people with Diabetes in England. Miraculously, she has recently found a new role where her unanticipated experience over the past 13 years can be useful: as a Student Support Officer at the University of Kent, a role which also involves knowing and admiring the tenacity of young adults with Diabetes. Her husband Olly has kept her smiling through all of the above.

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Oliver Double is a senior lecturer in drama at the University of Kent, but in a former life he was a professional comedian. His sons Joe and Tom both have type 1 diabetes, and in 2006 this inspired him to write and perform a solo stand-up show, Saint Pancreas, which is now available on DVD ('A tender and uplifting monologue that's surprisingly funny.' Guardian. 'Funny, charming, touching.' Arthur Smith, Balance). He blogs regularly for Diabetes UK and writes a column for their magazine Balance, in spite of being, by comparison with his wife Jacqui, slightly rubbish at dealing with diabetes.

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Ashley Head is a CWD dad on both sides of the Atlantic – at Friends for Life Orlando and Friends for Life UK! Ash has been a Trade Show Professional for the last 30+ years, specializing in international event logistics; he has coordinated shows all over the world. Ash also serves on the Challenge Events Committee for the JDRF UK. He is married to Shayne, and dad to 19-year-old Phoebe, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2001. He is also dad to Jake, age 25.

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Peter Hindmarsh is Professor of Paediatric Endocrinology at University College London and Consultant in Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at University College London Hospitals and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. He has worked closely with the UK Department of Health to assess Paediatric Diabetes Care and practices diabetes within an inter-disciplinary team based on a flat system model. His research interests are in long term complication in diabetes and the mathematical modelling of data sets.

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Sir Michael Hirst from the United Kingdom is currently the President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). He became interested in diabetes over twenty years ago when his youngest child was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a very young age. Then a Member of the British Parliament, Sir Michael championed the cause of diabetes in Parliament, as a result of which he was co-opted to the Board of Trustees of the British Diabetic Association, now Diabetes UK. There he served as a trustee in a variety of capacities for 17 years, most recently as the first non-medical Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 2001-2006. As Chairman, he oversaw major changes in the operations and governance of Diabetes UK, Europe's largest organisation for people with diabetes. Sir Michael Hirst is a graduate in law of the University of Glasgow, and was an exchange student at the University of Iceland. He later qualified as a chartered accountant and became a partner in KPMG, the international accounting firm, until he entered the British Parliament. Sir Michael held a number of senior positions in frontline politics until 1997 and was knighted for political and public service in 1992. He has also served on the board of a number of leading charities and public bodies, and is currently Chairman of two companies in the UK.

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Jackie Jacombs became involved in the CWD parents mailing list in the USA shortly after her daughter Sasha was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999. There was no equivalent support mailing list or website in the UK, so Jackie asked CWD Founder Jeff Hitchcock, if he would set up a mailing list for UK families. Jackie now manages that list along with several other list members. This was the start of a strong on-line community in the UK. We now also have some linked face book groups. The UK CWD Advocacy Group, which was formed in 2007, is still asked to be involved with various campaigns by JDRF and Diabetes UK. We have annual family meetings and parents who live near each other arrange to meet up with their children in the holidays. We also support the work of INPUT whenever we can. Sasha is now 20 years old, her Identical twin does not have type 1 but both have celiac.

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Lesley Jordan was 18 months old when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She started using a pump in 2002 and saw the benefit immediately. Disappointed to hear how difficult it is for some people to get a pump, she started volunteering with INPUT (a patient-led group) in 2005, and when John Davis MBE retired in 2011 she took over as Chairman. She is a passionate advocate for access to all diabetes-related technology, and loves using technology in her work, too - maintaining INPUT's website, Facebook page and Twitter account. She is "mum" to two cats and a husband!

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Aaron Kowalski, PhD, is Vice President, Artificial Pancreas, at JDRF. Dr. Kowalski oversees JDRF-funded research aimed at accelerating the delivery and development of artificial pancreas systems. Dr. Kowalski is an internationally recognized expert in the area of diabetes technologies and has been a leader of JDRF's Artificial Pancreas Project, a multi-million dollar initiative that began in 2005 to accelerate the progress toward a closed-loop, automated insulin-delivery system. He has authored numerous articles in the field and was a co-author of the landmark study in The New England Journal of Medicine that revealed the effectiveness of continuous glucose monitors in T1D. Dr. Kowalski has traveled widely across North America and abroad describing diabetes research progress, and is known for his ability to translate science into easily understandable concepts. Dr. Kowalski has been an invited speaker at many national and international conferences, including the ADA Annual Scientific Sessions, and was the keynote speaker at the 2009 Diabetes Technology Society Meeting. He has been a voice for diabetes research in the popular media, appearing on The Martha Stewart Show, dLife, Fox Business, NPR, and many other shows, and is often quoted in print media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and People magazine. He earned his doctorate in molecular genetics from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In 1977 at the age of three, Dr. Kowalski's brother Stephen was diagnosed with T1D and in 1984 at the age of 13 he too developed T1.


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Scott Kyllo lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has two children, Alyssa (23) and Chad (20). Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when his son, Chad, then age 2 was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when they were residing in Bahrain in the Middle East. The World Wide Web had just arrived in Bahrain and it brought to the Kyllo's the safety of the CWD family. Two years later, when life was becoming somewhat comfortable and routine, Alyssa, then age 7, was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Chad was also diagnosed with celiac disease in 2001. The family attended their first Friends For Life conference in 2002. Getting to meet the CWDers in person was like Christmas in July! Scott is a Chief Information Officer by day and an Aircraft Engineer by night maintaining a Piper Cherokee and a Mooney. Scott is a strong advocate of CWD conferences and believes anyone with a connection to diabetes should attend at least one ... although warns that the conferences are much like potato chips ... it's hard to stop at just one.

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Rebecca Thompson RSCN BSc MSc is a Nurse Consultant for paediatric and adolescent diabetes. She has been supporting children and adolescents and their families living with diabetes since 1997, when she started at University College London Hospital as a Clinical Nurse Specialist. The service now supports 350 children and young people with diabetes (using MDI and pumps), with the service winning a major HSJ Awards in 2011, for quality and efficiency in services for children and young people. Rebecca is involved in a number of national groups including the Paediatric Education Task and Finish Group looking at education of health care professionals within diabetes and the Insulin Pump Stake holder Group.

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Jill Weissberg-Benchell, Ph.D., C.D.E., Pediatric Psychologist, Associate professor of Psychiatry, Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois. She has been a certified diabetes educator for over 20 years and is an author of numerous research articles, and a co-author of a book on transitioning from pediatric to adult care. Dr. Weissberg-Benchell works with children, teenagers and their families to facilitate adaptation and coping with diabetes and other chronic conditions.


CWD Staff

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Jeff Hitchcock is the creator, editor, webmaster and president of Children with Diabetes. After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff worked in high tech and traveled the world, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. He worked in defense related industries until 1995, when he started a small Internet company and launched Children with Diabetes. He subsequently worked at LEXIS-NEXIS and Pearson plc on Internet initiatives, and now works full time bringing Children with Diabetes to you.

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A finicky connoisseur of hotel meeting space, cappuccino, and kid-friendly cheese and fruit platters, Laura Billetdeaux is CWD's VP of Education and Programs. Since 2000, Laura has organized every single CWD conference, always keeping in mind the true purpose of CWD - education and support of families with type 1, and always keeping in mind why it all works – the efforts of so many dedicated individuals. Laura lives in Manchester, Michigan with husband Neal, who graciously and energetically assists with the conference teen programs. They are parents of Sam and Carolyn who both serve as youth faculty at CWD conferences as time allows.

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Ashley Head is a CWD dad on both sides of the Atlantic – at Friends for Life Orlando and Friends for Life UK! Ash has been a Trade Show Professional for the last 30+ years, specializing in international event logistics; he has coordinated shows all over the world. Ash also serves on the Challenge Events Committee for the JDRF UK. He is married to Shayne, and dad to 19-year-old Phoebe, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2001. He is also dad to Jake, age 25.

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Terry Jacombs has attended the three Friends for Life UK conferences held in Old Windsor. He is partner to Jackie, Dad to Sasha who has had type 1 for 15 years and before she went off to university helped out doing a lot of the diabetes chores, keeping a note of set change days, making sure we didn't run out of insulin and infusion sets and gluten free food. This gave Jackie more time to spent on the email list. Now that Sasha has become more independent this has changed to being there in the background to help if needed. In a former life, Terry worked as an IT Director for a large UK financial institution and still enjoys dabbling in IT in a very amateur way these days. Terry also enjoys sports and tries to remain active by walking and cycling. He is looking forward to helping out with anything he is asked to do at this year's conference.

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Scott Kyllo lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has two children, Alyssa (23) and Chad (20). Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when his son, Chad, then age 2 was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when they were residing in Bahrain in the Middle East. The World Wide Web had just arrived in Bahrain and it brought to the Kyllo's the safety of the CWD family. Two years later, when life was becoming somewhat comfortable and routine, Alyssa, then age 7, was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Chad was also diagnosed with celiac disease in 2001. The family attended their first Friends For Life conference in 2002. Getting to meet the CWDers in person was like Christmas in July! Scott is a Chief Information Officer by day and an Aircraft Engineer by night maintaining a Piper Cherokee and a Mooney. Scott is a strong advocate of CWD conferences and believes anyone with a connection to diabetes should attend at least one ... although warns that the conferences are much like potato chips ... it's hard to stop at just one.

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Julia Mattingly is mom to 18 year old Hannah and 16 year old Ethan, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 months and started pumping when he was 3. Julia, Ed, and the kids have been to every Friends for Life conference and most of the regionals as well. Julia coordinates registration at each conference, and you can always find her when you need a smile and a "Hi Y'All!" Julia loves coordinating registration and being able to meet and talk to everyone who walks in the door. Her best CWD memory is from 2000 when she met all of her CWD email moms in Orlando for the first time. She also loves to see the smiles on her children's faces when they re-connect with their CWD friends each summer.

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Joanne Stroud, MHA, FACHE, is first and foremost a CWD Mom. Her son Ben was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of ten and CWD quickly became their lifeline. She attended her first conference in 2003 and instantly became hooked, telling Laura she'd do anything (within reason of course!) she could to assist CWD. Both Ben and his brother James (23) are now 'giving back' as CWD volunteers. When not hanging with her FFLs, Joanne is a training manager for a healthcare software company. She and Jim, a CRNA, have one other son, Kyle who lives in Portland, OR with his fiancée Sarah.

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Last Updated: Tuesday August 12, 2014 10:32:19
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