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Conference Faculty

 

In 1989, Douglas Cairns was a Royal Air Force jet pilot and instructor at the age of 25 when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and consequently lost his flying career. In 2000 he regained the freedom to fly in the USA as a licensed private pilot, and in 2003 Douglas went on to complete Diabetes World Flight, a round-the-world flight. Since 2009 Douglas has run “Flying With Diabetes”, an initiative to raise positive awareness for pilots with diabetes, by setting solo and group aviation world records including “Diabetes Polar Flight” in 2011 to the North Pole and landing on the polar ice. Douglas is a co-founder of “Pilots With Diabetes”, an aviation policy advocacy group for pilots with insulin-treated diabetes. Douglas is passionate about raising positive awareness of diabetes and gives regular talks to conferences and meetings, highlighting that diabetes need not limit the scope of people's dreams and ambitions.



 

Chelsea Carr has grown up around diabetes; her brother Jeremy was diagnosed in 2000. She attended her first Friends for Life Conference with her family in 2003 and has been to many CWD regional and annual conferences since that time. It was through the FFL conferences that she first met her husband, Martyn. Chelsea now lives in Glasgow and having completed her Masters Degree in History at the University of Edinburgh, works as a data analyst for Vodafone UK. She is also an aerialist and spends all of her free time hanging from the rafters on a trapeze in various venues around the UK!



 

Edward Damiano, PhD, is a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University and the President and CEO of Beta Bionics, Inc. His educational training is in the areas of biomedical and mechanical engineering and applied mathematics. Over the years, his lab has been engaged in basic scientific research that combines aspects of fluid dynamics, solid mechanics, and intravital microscopy to study the biomechanics of the inner ear and blood flow in the microcirculation. Ever since his wife, Toby, diagnosed their infant son, David, with type 1 diabetes over 18 years ago, he has set his sights on creating a bionic pancreas that David could take to college. He and his engineering team at BU began conducting experiments testing an early version of their bionic pancreas running on a laptop computer in diabetic pigs in 2005 and then progressed with their clinical collaborators at the Massachusetts General Hospital through in-patient trials in adults and adolescents with type 1 diabetes from 2008–2012. From 2013–2018, his team at BU and clinical collaborators have conducted over a dozen outpatient and home-use clinical trials in adults and children with type 1 diabetes testing a mobile version of their bionic pancreas, which ran on an iPhone that wirelessly controlled one or two insulin pumps. He recently co-founded Beta Bionics, Inc., a Massachusetts Public Benefit Corporation that is committed to the singular mission of commercializing a bionic pancreas for people with diabetes and other disorders of blood sugar regulation. Beta Bionics has recently received FDA approval to begin clinical testing of a fully integrated, wearable, bionic pancreas device – referred to as the iLet – that operates independently of a smartphone. The first home-use clinical trial of the iLet began in May 2018 in adult volunteers with type 1 diabetes. Beta Bionics plans to continue clinical testing of the iLet this year and then conduct the final clinical trials testing the device in 2019. Beta Bionics will seek FDA approval of the iLet for commercial distribution in the first half of 2020.



 

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of eight, Gavin Griffiths openly shares that his biggest struggles came in returning to school and emotionally adapting to life with a life-long autoimmune disease. Nobody welcomes it! However, after getting back into sports, Gavin found himself more settled and playing semi-professional football, and then into ultra-endurance running. In 2018 Gavin completed his 100th challenge to support those with type 1 diabetes by running 25 marathons around the U.K and Ireland in the space of 1 month - and this helped kick start the 'League of DiAthletes,' an international entity which connects a team of type 1 advocates from around the world with a global alliance of diabetes organisations to produce more engaging forms of type 1 diabetes education, designed from the patient's perspective.



 

Ashley Head is husband to Shayne and dad to Jake (28) and Phoebe (22, Dx T1D 2001). He is Director of an International Event Logistics company, owns Lewes FC and organises an off-road marathon - The Moyleman - in Lewes, East Sussex. He has volunteered at Friends For Life in the USA since 2009 and was part of the team to help CWD set up the first FFL UK at Beaumont House. Ash takes care of the Sponsor/ Exhibit space at the conferences and works on the move-in and move-out crew. Ash is also a trustee of T1 Today UK.



 

Aileen Hillis is mum to Marc (dx 2006). They both attended the first Friends for Life UK conference in Windsor in 2009. Aileen co-founded iPAG in 2008, a voluntary group supporting equal access to insulin pumps and diabetes technology. She is a patient representative on her local health board (Glasgow), she campaigns and raises awareness of type 1 diabetes, and supports and encourages families through Facebook groups, her website, and other avenues.



 

Jackie Jacombs first became involved in the CWD USA parent's mailing list shortly after her daughter Sasha was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999. There were no equivalent supporting mailing lists or websites in the UK. Jackie asked CWD Founder, Jeff Hitchcock, if he would set up a mailing list for UK families. This was the start of a strong on-line community of families in the UK. They now have a committed Facebook group which replaced the UK mailing list. The UK Children with Diabetes Advocacy Group was formed in 2007 to advocate for better care, especially in schools and better access to new technology. There are annual family weekends away for families to meet each other and parents who live near each other, arrange to meet up with their children in the holidays. Various parents of the Facebook group continue to work and support the work of JDRF, Diabetes UK, DRWF and INPUT whenever possible. Jackie's daughter Sasha, is now 24 years old, studying Biological Sciences and hopes to work in research. Sasha's identical twin, working in law, does not have type 1, but both twins have really enjoyed helping out at the CWD UK conferences in the past.



 

Brian Kennon, MD, FRCP, was appointed as an adult consultant diabetologist in 2004. He works at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow, and his sub-speciality interests include transitional care, diabetes foot disease and technology enabled care. He is also interested in developing person-centred care models and a societal approach to wellbeing. As national lead for diabetes in Scotland, he has been involved in the implementation of the Diabetes Improvement Plan with the aim of improving the care of persons with diabetes across Scotland. Brian is the proud father of a one year old son and personal interests include football, walking and cycling.



 

Scott Kyllo lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has two adult children, Alyssa and Chad. Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when his son, Chad, then age two, 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 Children with Diabetes® 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. These skills and his “MacGyver” qualities keep him running at the Friends For Life® conferences as its Information Technology and Audio/Visual support person. He is a strong advocate of Friends For Life® 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!



 

John Pemberton, BSc Sports Science; PGDip Dietetics; Diabetes Educator, is passionate about empowering and educating children and young people and their families to self-manage and take control of diabetes. He has had type 1 diabetes since 2008 and has played both cricket and football at a high level. He is passionate about being active, and takes every opportunity to get to the gym, walk the Grand Canyon, and tackle the Three Peaks. His work at Birmingham Children's Hospital (UK) involves delivering personalised education to; the newly diagnosed, those initiating pump therapy, new starters on CGM, and those wanting to improve their lifestyle. He run a sports specific clinic for those who play at a high level. His current interests is the effective use of CGM using a "Sugar Surfing" approach. His main focus is to bring the current evidence base into clinical practice as soon as possible, by creating tools that make it easy. Recently, this has been the implementation of a new system KISS, for giving extra insulin for high fat and protein meals.



 

Siddharth Sharma was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on 21st October 2015 at the age of 27 years. An engineer by trade, Sid picked up cycling after his diagnosis and since then has cycled London-Paris with Diabetes UK, New York to San Francisco with Beyond Type 1, and completed the Paris Roubaix challenge in honour of DRIFCan. He is passionate about helping others live beyond their diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, with special emphasis on sports and mental health for kids and adults alike. Sid is looking forward to this year’s conference and meeting everyone whether you live with type 1 diabetes or love some who lives with it.



 

Jill Weissberg-Benchell, PhD, CDE, is a paediatric psychologist and a certified diabetes educator with over 25 years of research experience and clinical work with children, adolescents and families with diabetes and their families. Her academic appointment is as a Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She has published numerous research articles and offered workshops and lectures addressing issues such as improving self-management behaviors, family adaptation and coping, building adolescent resilience, the use of technology (CGM, Pumps and the Artificial Pancreas), and transitioning from paediatric to adult care. She is a co-author of two books, one that focuses on transitioning from paediatric to adult care, and another that focuses on working with adolescents with type 1 diabetes.



Conference Staff

 

Gwen Sutherland is a Trustee and Chairperson for T1 Today UK. She has volunteered on both sides of the Pond having attended her first Friends for Life UK Conference in 2010 with Rebekah (Dx’d at 36 months) and husband David. She attended her first Friends for Life Orlando Conference in 2013 and has been part of the registration team there ever since. Gwen works in her husband’s criminal defence law practice when not organising and working on the CWD Conferences. She and David have three other children, Jamie, Gemma and Sarah and a gorgeous wee grandson Aaden who has brought so much joy and laughter into all their lives.



 

Ashley Head is husband to Shayne and dad to Jake (28) and Phoebe (22, Dx T1D 2001). He is Director of an International Event Logistics company, owns Lewes FC and organises an off-road marathon - The Moyleman - in Lewes, East Sussex. He has volunteered at Friends For Life in the USA since 2009 and was part of the team to help CWD set up the first FFL UK at Beaumont House. Ash takes care of the Sponsor/ Exhibit space at the conferences and works on the move-in and move-out crew. Ash is also a trustee of T1 Today UK.



 

Chris Sutton is a Trustee of T-1 Today UK, the charity that now funds and organises Friends for Life UK. He is husband to Teresa and father of Daniel, Hannah (diagnosed 2010) and Mattie. Chris is a Lecturer in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries having previously held a number of positions in financial services. Chris has appreciated the education and support offered by CWD FFL conferences over a number of years and is excited to be at Crieff this year.



 

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 US conference and had organised the UK conferences until 2015 when the UK charity was established, always keeping in mind the true purpose of Children with Diabetes — 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 her husband Neal. They are parents of Sam and Carolyn who both serve as faculty at Children with Diabetes conferences as time allows.



 

Chelsea Carr has grown up around diabetes; her brother Jeremy was diagnosed in 2000. She attended her first Friends for Life Conference with her family in 2003 and has been to many CWD regional and annual conferences since that time. It was through the FFL conferences that she first met her husband, Martyn. Chelsea now lives in Glasgow and having completed her Masters Degree in History at the University of Edinburgh, works as a data analyst for Vodafone UK. She is also an aerialist and spends all of her free time hanging from the rafters on a trapeze in various venues around the UK!



 

Martin Carr is Dad to Laura and Martin and papa to Hamish. His Martyn son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February of 1993. Martin has attended Friends for Life conferences in Orlando and UK since finding FFL in Orlando while on a family holiday in 2003 where he has helped in sports Central registration and room captain.



 

Marc Hillis, from Glasgow, was 13 years old when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2006. He has since went onto complete his Masters in Architecture and now works for the world renowned Dualchas Architects. He is also an avid campaigner for equal access to diabetes technology in Scotland. Marc attended the first CWD UK conference in 2009 where he felt normal for the first time since his diagnosis. He has since attended all UK conferences as well as one in Florida, enjoying seeing other kids experiencing the same sense of community as he did.



 

Jeff Hitchcock is the Founder, President, creator, editor, and webmaster 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.



 

Scott Kyllo lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has two adult children, Alyssa and Chad. Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when his son, Chad, then age two, 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 Children with Diabetes® 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. These skills and his “MacGyver” qualities keep him running at the Friends For Life® conferences as its Information Technology and Audio/Visual support person. He is a strong advocate of Friends For Life® 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!



 

Rosa Martin is Grandma to Rebekah Sutherland (dx’d August 1998), Jamie, Gemma, Sarah, Anna and Eve and very proud “GG” (great grandma) to Aaden. She was an infant teacher but has been retired now for 34 years and does not know how she managed to find time to work. She enjoys her garden and spending time with her family. Rosa has attended CWD conferences in both Windsor and Glasgow and is excited to be part of the Friends For Life Family.



 

Glynn Robinson is married to Penny and has four children including Sophie 16, T1 for 14 years. He has attended Friends for Life conferences in the UK since 2009. He runs an IT Services company with offices in the UK & USA and is naturally drawn to the technological advances in diabetes management. He is also an Education Advisor, sits on the Skills & Education Panel in his local authority and is on the Board of TuringLab: an organisation providing disadvantaged children with key digital skills.



 

Penny Robinson is mother of Sophie (16) diagnosed in 2004. She spent two years as parent lecturer at Leeds Beckett University on the MSc Advanced Diabetes Educator course providing the family perspective, and was a parent representative for Yorkshire & Humber in the National CYP Diabetes Network. Currently Penny is a community outreach volunteer for JDRF North, research speaker for JDRF, and treasurer of CWD UK. Her day job is running a property business.



 

David Sutherland is one of CWD’s Food and Beveridge Co-ordinators on both sides of the Pond. He attended his first Friends for Life UK Conference in 2010 and his first Orlando Conference in 2014. David is a criminal defence lawyer in Aberdeen, running his own business, which employs son Jamie and wife Gwen. When not in court he enjoys going to the gym, cycling, spending time with his family and playing with grandson Aaden.




  Denotes faculty or staff with diabetes




  Friends for Life® UK 2018 Conference  
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Last Updated: Tuesday September 25, 2018 11:46:31
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