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.
Alanna Landry RN, CDE, has been working as a pediatric diabetes nurse educator for 17 years at Markham Stouffville Hospital in Ontario, Canada. She has the privilege of working with 450 families with type 1 diabetes. After attending her first CWD FFL conference in 2004 she was hooked on the incredible experience and wants to continue to share this experience with the wonderful people she has met and encourage as many families as possible to attend. Working with the teen program has been something she looks forward to each year.
Melissa Geren was diagnosed with diabetes when she was four. She went to her first CWD Conference in 2003 and has been attending Friends for Life Conferences ever since. Melissa has three siblings, Sarah, Kayla, Matthew. Matthew also has type 1 diabetes. Melissa graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2013 with a degree in Public Relations and Marketing. Currently living in Milwaukee and working as the Marketing & Communications Coordinator at the Woman's Club of Wisconsin.
Kenny Rodenheiser, BSN, RN, CDE, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003. Through his involvement with CWD, ADA, JDRF and other local organizations, he realized his passion is to help people with diabetes learn about their disease and how to cope with it. He earned his Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Kenny earned his Certified Diabetes Educator in 2015 and currently works as a diabetes educator for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Deb Ruppert looks forward to meeting and being inspired by the incredible tween team each year. Outside of CWD, she is a strategic marketing consultant for healthcare companies and enjoys cooking, college basketball and football, and her two four-legged fur babies.
Jenny Vandevelde was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2003. She has a degree in Recreation and Tourism Management from San Diego State University. She currently works for Tandem Diabetes Care in San Diego and spends her weekends snowboarding and wakeboarding. Jenny is part of the Elite Coaches team at Riding on Insulin, where she helps kids with type 1 learn to snowboard. She also loves playing soccer and basketball. Her most recent accomplishment is her third bike ride through Death Valley for JDRF, clocking in at 102 miles and raising $10,000. In October 2008, she ran as one of the 25 Medtronic Global Heroes in the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon. Jenny attended her first CWD conference in San Diego in 2005 and has been in love with CWD events since then.
Sunshine Abel, LPN, is the mother of Sierra and Sailor. She attended her first CWD conference with her family in 2002, after Sailor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 2. Sunshine immediately 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. Sunshine is continuing her education working towards her RN degree. Sunshine has been working as a nurse and leader in the youth programs since 2006.
Lynet Fox is the mother of three girls, Marisa (22), Jessica (20), and Erica (18) and Granna to Carter (1). She attended her first CWD conference in 2004 after Erica was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She has not missed a Friends for Life Conference since first attending. Her daughter Jessica was diagnosed in December 2010 at the age of 16. Lynet currently teaches high school physics. The entire family looks forward to conference in Orlando each summer. She has volunteered in different capacities at Friends for Life conferences over the past eight years.
Marisa Fox, BSN, RN, is a graduate of East Texas Baptist University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She is now an Acute Care nurse in Portland, Oregon. She is the oldest sibling to two sisters, Jessica and Erica, both living with type 1 diabetes. Marisa attended her first CWD conference in 2005 and has enjoyed being able to attend many since.
Timothy Hitchcock is currently studying Astrophysics at the University of Cincinnati. His older sister Marissa was diagnosed with type 1 in 1989. Tim is a founding father of a fraternity at the University of Cincinnati and is looking forward to using the leadership skills he has learned thus far to work with the elementary kids.
Orange Assembly Faculty (Siblings)
Intissar Ben Halim, MSS, is mom to Maryam, Zakariyya, Abdalla, and Yaseen, and wife to Nabil. She and her family been involved with CWD conferences since 2004. She enjoys meeting other CWD parents and families and sharing stories and challenges. Intissar loves her work as a clinical social worker at a nonprofit agency in West Chester, Pennsylvania, as well as her work as an associate at Cultivating Wholeness, a private practice in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. She and her family reside in King-of-Prussia.
Carolyn Billetdeaux has been attending FFL conferences since the age of 13. After growing up through the Teen and College Age programs, she now works as Coordinator of the Sibling Program. She presents diabetes as a family disease and focuses on sharing the sibling side of the experience. Carolyn majored in management and organizational behavior at New York University, and currently works as a Sustainability Consultant in the metro-DC area.
As a college and semi-professional athlete, James Stroud focuses on exercise and healthy eating habits as an important part of his daily routine. James has been part of the FFL family ever since his older brother Ben was diagnosed with type 1 over 15 years ago. He can't wait to see old friends and meet new ones at this year's FFL Conference. James recently began working for Dexcom as a sales representative.
Mary Bulgarelli, RN, BSN, CDE, has served as the childcare coordinator since the very first CWD conference. Mary leads a team of certified diabetes educators providing care and fun in a safe environment for kids under age five 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 diabetes management. Mary has devoted her career to the world of medicine. As a graduate of Eastern University and Presbyterian School of Nursing, Mary currently works as a pediatric endocrine speciality nurse and has been a CDE over 20 years! 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!
Alex Bush is excited to be staffing her fifth year of CWD conferences! A graduate from Chico State University, she received her Bachelor degree in Psychology and Child Development. Alex is excited to be working in childcare this year.
Chris Joynes, RN, attended her first Friends for Life conference after her 6 year old daughter Molly was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March 2005. Chris loves working with children and has been a pediatric emergency department nurse for 11 years. She is excited to be full time staff and to give back to an organization that "provided my family with support, hope, motivation, and smiles once Molly was diagnosed." Chris is also mom to Andrew, Elizabeth, and Benjamin, who have grown up with CWD.
Helen Rodenheiser, wife of Kenny Rodenheiser, is a first grade teacher at Folsom Elementary School in New Jersey. She has been attending conferences as a Childcare staff member sine 2011. She brings the knowledge and resources she learns from CWD to help any and all children affected by diabetes in her school. Helen is currently working towards earning her Masters in Special Education.
Friends for Life Anaheim 2016 Conference and Expo Introduction - Registration - Sponsors Faculty and Staff - Youth Staff - Nightscout Faculty - Program - Youth Program Floor Plan - Childcare Form - Exhibitor Application Recent Conference Reports: Falls Church - UK - Canada - Anaheim - Orlando
Last Updated: Thursday August 04, 2016 15:35:41
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