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  Back to Friends for Life UK 2013 Friends for Life UK 2013 Faculty

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Henry Anhalt, DO, is the Senior Medical Director, US Medical Affairs, Medical Diabetes, at Sanofi. He came to Sanofi with five years of experience at Johnson and Johnson's Diabetes Care Franchise and over 20 years in clinical practice. Henry was Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of the Artificial Pancreas Program for Animas Corporation. He served on the Management Board and directed the company’s medical and clinical activities. Henry’s primary area of focus was on the development and commercialization of the first generation Artificial Pancreas. He managed the strategic alliance of this uniquely co-funded project with JDRF. While he was there, he led two successful feasibility studies. Henry was also a critical driver in launching Animas' first integrated continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump combination in Europe. Prior to Johnson and Johnson, Henry was the Director of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at the Saint Barnabas Medical Center and co-director of its Healthy L.I.F.E. program, a family-centered, behaviorally based multi-disciplinary program for overweight children and their families. Prior to that appointment he was Chief, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at Maimonides Children’s Hospital and was responsible for developing and running the State University of New York Downstate Medical School’s fellowship training program in pediatric endocrinology where he holds an Associate Professorship of Clinical Pediatrics. In keeping with his passion for children with diabetes, Henry is a trustee and Medical Director of camp Nejeda, a diabetes camp for children in Stillwater, NJ. He continues to maintain a part-time clinical pediatric endocrinology practice in New Jersey.

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Natalie Bellini, BSN, 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 attending Drexel University part time in order to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Natalie is a senior territory manager with Animas Corporation and mom to Erin.

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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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A teacher with an honours degree in English Literature, Jacqui Double enjoys working with all ages of children through Theatre-in-Education; she also has worked with children as an English teacher at secondary level. Both of Jacqui's son have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes: Tom, the younger in 2000 at the age of 18 months, and Joe, the elder in 2005, at the age of 8. Happily her sons are now both using Medtronic pumps with CGM and she claims that her family is far more sane! Jacqui sits on several groups and working parties pertaining to National Diabetes Care. She also presents talks about pumping and about coping with diabetes, and is active in her local area promoting better care at school for children with long term medical conditions. She is married to Olly, a university lecturer, and enjoys living by the sea in Kent.

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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 has just started writing a regular column for Diabetes UK's Linkup magazine, 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 18-year-old Phoebe, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2001. He is also dad to Jake, age 24.

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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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Korey K. Hood, PhD, is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and Staff Psychologist at UCSF's Madison Center for Pediatric Diabetes. Dr. Hood directs NIH-funded research projects and provides clinical care aimed at promoting health and quality of life outcomes in youth with diabetes and their families. He also serves on national committees for the American Diabetes Association and is on editorial boards for Diabetes Care and the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. Dr. Hood is the author of Type 1 Teens: A Guide to Managing Your Life with Diabetes. His research, clinical care, and service are fueled by his personal experience with type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed as a young adult and has spent more than a decade managing diabetes. He is passionate about helping children and teens with diabetes, and their families, make diabetes a part of their lives while not letting it run their lives.

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Jackie Jacombs became involved in the CWD parents mailing list in the United States 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. This was the start of a strong on-line community in the UK and many hours on the computer each day. Jackie is also involved in working with INPUT, a patient led organization raising awareness of Insulin Pump therapy in the UK. Three years ago she organised a patient-led UK advocacy group for families of children with diabetes. The advocacy group has been working with JDRF, INPUT, and Diabetes UK to raise awareness of the need for support in schools for children with type 1 diabetes and to help families who are trying to get insulin pumps. Jackie has twin 18 year old daughters, both of whom have coeliac. Sasha has type 1 diabetes and has been a pumper since 2004. Jackie is also a lay member of the Science and Research Advisory Group for Diabetes UK.

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Tom Karlya, Vice President of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, is commonly known throughout the diabetes community as Diabetes Dad, used virtually everywhere, including his monthly column which appears at www.dLife.com/diabetesdad. He's been active since his daughter, Kaitlyn, was diagnosed in 1992 at the age of two. In 2009, his son Rob was also diagnosed, at age 13. Tom has been introduced to the NY State Capitol, testified in Washington, D.C., appeared at diabetes-related events at the United Nations and has lectured across the US about being a Diabetes Dad. He received numerous commendations for his work in the Katrina efforts where he was instrumental in organizing aid to over 10,000 people with diabetes. Tom was awarded The Jeff Hitchcock Distinguished Service Award from CWD in 2008 among many other awards from groups and organizations. For 12 years as an actor, he starred in the New York Production of Tony 'N Tina's Wedding, with the original Company and also at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., in Summer of the 17th Doll. His film, lbs., was at the Sundance Film Festival, and appeared in Unsolved Mysteries, Spin City, The Cosby Show, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, America's Most Wanted, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and more as well as numerous commercials. He won 13 Telly Awards, a FREDDIE Award, and was nominated for an Emmy Award while Executive Producer of dLife on CNBC. Tom will tell you that above everything else, he's just a CWD Dad.

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Harold Sanco, CPT, is a former National Aerobic Champion and two time bronze medalist at the National Step Challenge Competition. He has been voted Washington, DC’s “Best Instructor” by Washingtonian Magazine and the Washington Post. With more than 20 years of experience in youth physical education and coaching, he is an internationally acclaimed instructor and trainer who teaches across the United States, Canada and 15 countries for some of the top fitness conferences in the world. His popular “Urban Funk” class has been featured in People, Allure and W magazines. He is AFAA certified and a Master Trainer for Lebert Training Systems. Currently he serves as the Director of Group Fitness for the award-winning Results Gym in Washington, DC and the Director of Fitness for two National Youth groups “Children with Diabetes” and “Workout4Kids.”

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Gary Scheiner, MS, CDE, is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Exercise Physiologist who has had type 1 diabetes for more than 25 years. He owns and operates Integrated Diabetes Services, a private practice located just outside of Philadelphia specializing in intensive insulin therapy for children and adults with type 1 diabetes. He and his staff of diabetes educators provide consultations throughout the world via phone and internet. Gary earned a BA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Master of Science from Benedictine University. He received his diabetes training with the Joslin Diabetes Center. In addition to serving on the Children With Diabetes faculty, Gary is an active volunteer for the ADA, JDRF and Setebaid Diabetes Camps. Gary has written five books (including "Think Like A Pancreas") and dozens of articles on various topics in intensive diabetes management. He has received several awards for his teaching tools and techniques, and speaks regularly at regional, national and international conferences. A husband, father of five and avid sports fan, Gary has been a pump user since 1994, and a CGM user since 2006.

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Joe Solowiejczyk, RN, MSW, CDE, was President of InBalance Healthcare, a counseling and education service for health care professionals and adults and children with diabetes, for over 10 years. He also worked for LifeScan as Manager of Diabetes Counseling & Training and is a faculty member of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute. Joe is healthcare professional who has lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 50 years. Mr. Solowiejczyk has been able to translate his personal experience into patient care. As a diabetes nurse educator and family therapist, he specializes in assessing how family dynamics impact management of diabetes and designing interventions that result in more effective coping and optimal metabolic control.


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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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Marissa Town, 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 the Cincinnati, Ohio area. 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 teens and adults at CWD's conferences.

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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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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 18-year-old Phoebe, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2001. He is also dad to Jake, age 24.

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Scott and Heather Kyllo live in British Columbia, Canada with their two children, Alyssa (22) and Chad (19). Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when their 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 CWD'ers 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. Heather works at the local curling club as Office Manager. The Kyllo's are extensively involved in curling during the winter months. Their summers are spent enjoying the Sunny Okanagan on Shuswap Lake. They are strong advocates of the CWD conferences and believe anyone with a connection to diabetes should attend at least one ... although warn that the conferences are much like potato chips ... hard to stop at just one.

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Mike Schurig, MS, RD, LD, CDE, serves as Conferences and Content Manager for Children With Diabetes. As a diabetes educator, registered dietitian and person with type 1 diabetes since the age of 12, Mike has had extensive experience in diabetes education with kids and parents. Mike is active with local ADA activities, regional diabetes educator groups, and the CWD website. His interests are insulin pump education and technical advances in diabetes. Mike enjoys visiting the nearby theme parks and enjoying Central Florida.

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Julia Mattingly is mom to 16 year old Hannah and 14 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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Last Updated: Monday February 24, 2014 14:36:28
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