Back to Friends for Life UK 2018 Friends for Life UK 2018 Youth Faculty

Teen Programming Staff


After having spent years on the sideline as the "spouse" of one of the faculty members, Neil Benchell decided it was time to get involved with CWD and Friends for Life®. As one of the Teen Staff members, Neil is always in the thick of trying to make the conferences a more memorable experience for all. In addition to his work with CWD, Neil is an attorney practicing in the area of intellectual property litigation, and has represented a number of diabetes-related organizations.


Mum to Ella-Mae, (T1D since 2004) and Anya-Sofia Campling, Helen Campling is working towards her Masters in Child Psychotherapy and currently works in a school in Hertfordshire as a psychotherapist-in-training with elementary aged children. Helen’s former life was as an art class leader and she can regularly be found covered in paint in her downtime! Helen began attending Friends for Life conferences since 2009, both in the UK and the USA and really cherishes the friends and families she has met along this journey.


Neil Carpenter started working at Abbott in 1999. Neil is a Principal Scientist working in Research and Development, and is involved in the design and development of test strips and meters for blood glucose monitoring. Neil has a non-identical twin, but likes to regard themselves as "simultaneous brothers". He enjoys watching many different sports. Formerly a choir boy, Neil now prefers to enjoy his music through visits to the theatre and and attending concerts. He also likes to spend his free time traveling both in the UK and abroad. Neil met his wife Nicola through working at Abbott.


Jake Head, 29, is son to Ash Head and Shayne Weldon, brother of Phoebe (23, Dx T1D 2001). He is an Event Manager at EFI Logistics, responsible for managing International Exhibition and Trade Show Logistics at events all over the world. He is a keen motorcycle enthusiast and recently rode his motorcycle up to the northern reaches of Norway on a camping holiday. Jake has worked with the Teen Group here at FFL UK since 2015 and assists with move-in.


Phoebe Head, 23, T1D and diagnosed in 2001, graduated from the London Contemporary Dance School with a degree in Contemporary Dance in the summer of 2016. She has performed on stages across London such as Sadlers Wells and The Robin Howard Theatre. She has recently completed her PGCE and is now a qualified teacher of dance in secondary schools around the UK; starting her first job in September at Varndean School, Brighton. She has worn an insulin pump since 2005 and currently uses a pump and CGM. Phoebe has attended and or volunteered at Friends for Life in the USA since 2008 and here at the UK FFL.


Leah Mackenzie, BSc, RN, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2004 age 16. Qualified with a Bachelor of Science in nursing in 2014 and worked mostly in care of the elderly. Currently working in a rehabilitation ward. Leah has volunteered with diabetes UK at family events in Scotland and a weeklong residential camp with teens in England. She is looking forward to her first Friends for Life UK Conference.


Jon Peel is the Sensor Manufacture Lead for the FreeStyle Libre system at Abbott Diabetes Care. Jon has been with Abbott for 15 years in various roles, so knows a lot about glucose monitoring for diabetes. In his spare time, Jon enjoys listening to music and is a regular regular festival goer. He also enjoys both watching and playing cricket and taking his mad dog out for walks. Jon has run five full marathons, over 20 half marathons, and might attempt another one!


Mark Wheller is married to Faye we has two kids, Summer and Morgan. Morgan is his type 1 superstar. Mark is an ex-navy aircraft engineer but now works for Flybe. He likes all things classic VW.

Tween Programming Staff


Martyn Carr, BSc, RN, lives in Scotland and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was five years old. Martyn earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University West of Scotland and currently works with different age groups with diabetes. He would like to become a Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN). Martyn met his wife Chelsea at the Friends for Life Conference in Orlando. He has participated in the Friends for Life conferences both in United States of American and the UK for many years, working within the Elementary, Tween and Teen age groups where he loves helping out and being with his friends at CWD conferences.


Liz Phipps started at Abbott over 20 years ago. Liz is a Clinical Study Start-up Specialist, working in Clinical Affairs team, her role involves setting-up studies with Doctors & Nurses to test our glucose monitoring systems. Liz regularly enjoys cycling and takes part in events across the country. She re-found her love for cycling when she signed up for a charity ride on behalf of the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) in 2014. She also enjoys gardening, walks with her pet Labrador and knitting bobble hats.


Jamie Sutherland is the brother of Rebekah and son of David and Gwen. He has attended Friends for Life Conferences in Windsor and Glasgow. He lives in Aberdeen and works for his Dad as a paralegal. Jamie enjoys cooking for friends and baking; his cakes are in great demand and he has even had orders for birthday and wedding cakes! He is excited for the Friends for Life conference this year and can’t wait to join the Tween Team.


Becky Thomson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2009 at the age of 24. She is a writer, director and actor who posts far less frequently than she would like on her blog, Instructions Not Included. Over the last nine years, she has been privileged to work with new pump users during their start up and take her one woman show about diagnosis and life with Type 1 to northern audiences and medical students in Leeds. In her day job she works in university accommodation services with a focus on students with additional medical needs and requirements. She is currently learning to play Roller Derby despite being fairly terrible at it. She has attended three Orlando Friends For Life conferences and is thrilled to have the opportunity to assist with the UK conference for a second year.


Faye Wheller is mum to Morgan and Summer, who are both excited to be in the Elementary group this year. Morgan was diagnosed type 1 at two years old, when Summer was just two days old. Over the last few years, Faye has helped organise and run One Walk events for JDRF, has been to the Houses of Parliament with INPUT, and brought a self-trained (ish) hypo dog into the family; Chuckles, the cockapoo! Faye used be be a Science teacher, a college lecturer and now is studying Food Science MSc at the University of Reading.


Marissa Wylie has worked for Abbott Diabetes Care for just over 10 years and is now the the Sensor Manager, looking after Navigator and Libre Sensor manufacturing lines, and the cleanrooms in which the sensors are produced. Marissa has a degree in Science and a Masters in Business Administration. Marissa loves horses and is lucky enough to have have her own horse called Bob. They spend time together going for rides and jumping (small jumps!) in competitions. Marissa also loves the mountains and spends as much time as she can in them scrambling, climbing and walking with her husband. In June, Marissa completed the 3 Peaks Challenge with come of her Abbott Colleagues to raise money for the charity, Special Effects.

Elementary Programming Staff


Laura Braid has been a volunteer for FFL since the first UK conference. Laura has a family history of type 1 diabetes, completed research in diabetes technology as part of her Master’s Degree, and currently works as an engineer for a Diabetes technology manufacturing company. Originally from the US, Laura lives in the Scottish Highlands with her husband, two guinea pigs, a flock of chickens and tankful of fish. Laura is a proud Auntie to seven nieces and nephews and in her spare time plays trombone in several bands, enjoys mountain biking, loves home brewing and is a keen gardener. She loves volunteering for FFL because of the huge support network that it creates for families impacted by diabetes and because of the sheer joy and laughter the conference brings.


Aileen Durkan attended her first Friends for Life UK conference in 2009, volunteering with the elementary group. She was inspired by the opportunity to bring both siblings and children with diabetes together, enabling and encouraging them to express their feelings about diabetes and learn while having lots of fun. She has a younger brother with type 1 diabetes, and she has worked with LifeScan and Animas in Ireland for the past 17 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 17 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, traveling and meeting new people.


Suzanne Caldwell, BSc, is a prison mental health nurse practitioner. Her daughter Sammi (age 10) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 2015 aged seven. Suzanne and husband Kenneth have two other children, Odhrain (13) and Cillian (6). This is Suzanne’s first Friends For Life Conference and she is very excited to be on board.


Nicola Carpenter started at Abbott over 20 years ago. Nicola is a Principal Technologist, working in Technical Services managing projects involved with raw materials that are used in the manufacture of blood glucose and ketone strips. Nicola enjoys singing and has sung in the same choir since joining the junior choir many years ago, which has led to performing all around the country and abroad. She also loves dance, especially tap dancing, and likes to regularly visit the theatre.


Rosalind Carr is Mum to Laura and Martyn and Gran to Hamish. Her son Martyn was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February of 1993. Rosalind found the Friends for Life Orlando conference in 2003 while on holiday in America. The family have attended numerous FFL Orlando and UK conferences where Rosalind has volunteered in childcare, registration and Sports Central.


Saheela Mohammed started at Abbott just over a year ago. Saheela is an Engineering Graduate currently on rotations on the Engineering Graduate Development Programme. She is involved in the manufacturing process of Libre sensors. Outside of work, Saheela enjoys volunteering her time to encourage the uptake of STEM in schools. She also loves reading, travelling and spending time with friends and family.


Rebekah Sutherland was diagnosed with T1 diabetes in 1998 at 36 months old. She attended her first Friend for Life UK Conference in 2010, her first Friends for Life Orlando Conference in 2013 and has attended both ever since, joining the volunteer staff on both sides of the Pond in 2014. Bex graduated in Social Science in 2016 and is continuing her studies at Open University majoring in psychology with counselling with a view to becoming a diabetes psychologist and educator. Since the age of 13, Bex has delivered speeches on life with diabetes at business lunches, fundraising bails, oil industry events, school assemblies and since 2015 speaks to the 2nd year medical students at Aberdeen University during their lectures on diabetes. In her spare time, she plays competitive netball, is a swimming teacher, dotes on her nephew, loves reading and enjoys a good vanilla latte.


Conn Walsh is an engineer working in the Operations planning department who started work with Abbott Diabetes Care in 2016. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Conn came to work with Abbott after graduating from University College Dublin with a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. His daily work involves management of production of BGM strips and sensors to ensure we meet our supply plan in delivering our products to customers all over the globe. Conn enjoys swimming and playing water polo and in his spare time and is currently a team member with City of Oxford water polo club. He also takes part in swimming endurance and biathlon events and will be swimming in the Oxford 1-mile lock-to-lock swim in September 2018.


Tracey Yuill, BSc, RN, qualified as a registered nurse in 2014 and have been working within the district nursing team since. She has three children: Campbell (13), Fletcher (12) and Morgan (9). Fletcher was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November 2017.

Child Care Programming Staff


Shayne Weldon is wife to Ash Head and mother to Jake (28) and Phoebe (22, Dx T1D 2001). She is a Community Nursery Nurse, working for the NHS in Sussex, responsible for mother and baby education, home visits and check-ups. Shayne has volunteered in Child Care at FFL USA since 2009 and at the UK events since the very first here at Beaumont.


Ella-Mae Campling from Brighton, England, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age four. She attended her first CWD UK conference in 2009, her first CWD Orlando in 2011, and has greatly enjoyed each conference she has attended. Ella-Mae studied Performing Arts and now works in a London Theatre. In her free time, she works with kids aged 4-18 in performing classes as well as enjoying reading and training animals. Ella-Mae loves the support and relationships CWD has helped create and is so excited to work with the kids this year!


Judith Kennon, BSc, Dip Nursing, RAN, has been a Diabetes Specialist Nurse for five years. Having graduated from Glasgow Caledonian University in 2010, Judith started her career in medical receiving at Victoria Infirmary Hospital, Glasgow. Here Judith learned about the acute side of diabetes and its complications. From here, Judith moved to a diabetes ward at Gartnavel General Hospital, where she gained further experience in diabetes and successfully applied for her current role as a Diabetes Nurse Specialist. Specialist interests include transition care, psychological impact of diabetes, health literacy, and health inequalities. Judith is the proud mother of a one year old son and her personal hobbies and interests include music, walking, dancing, and all things Disney!


Karen Marcelino started in Abbott in 2016 as a Technical Complaints Investigator and recently changed the department to be a Senior Laboratory Technician in R&D Research and Development Laboratory. She enjoys long walks around the river. She also likes to play keyboard and piano and practice yoga.


Katie Sellis was diagnosed in 2011 at the age of 10. She attended her first Friends for Life UK conference in 2012 and has attended ever since. Katie has just finished doing her A-levels in dance, English literature and language and science and is now doing her Pilates teacher training. She is a JDRF youth ambassador and has been mentioned in parliament after meeting with her local MP. In her spare time, Katie enjoys doing ballet, pointe and Pilates as well as spending time with her two dogs who are both incredibly clever and can detect when she is low. She also enjoys teaching dance to younger children and looks forward to the future.

  Denotes faculty or staff with diabetes

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Last Updated: Tuesday October 02, 2018 12:31:55
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