Alanna Landry RN, CDE, has been working as a pediatric diabetes nurse educator for 18 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.
Justin Abel attended his first CWD conference in 2002 after his daughter Sailor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 2001 at age 2. Once he started attending more CWD conferences, his wife Sunshine did not have to twist his arm for him to realize he wanted to get more involved. Justin has been volunteering at CWD conferences since 2006. He is also dad to Sierra, who is a young adult volunteer with CWD.
Hannah Opdenaker is excited to wear a green bracelet again this summer with some of her favorite "diabesties". Hannah was diagnosed with Type 1 at age 3 in 1999, and has been attending CWD conferences since 2001. She is a third year Theatre and Political Science double major at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. When she's not on stage dancing or acting, she is probably snuggling a dog or writing on social justice issues for her school's paper, The Mountain Echo. After she graduates college, she plans to pursue a Master's Program in Theatre Education and take the gifts she's been given and travel around the world to teach kids that nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams - especially a chronic illness.
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.
Grace Grande-Cassell is very excited to be staffing her sixth year of CWD conferences! She has grown up with a connection to type 1 diabetes because of her grandfather, who was diagnosed at age 14. Grace currently lives in New York City where she works in the fashion industry. She is so happy to be helping at another conference.
Amanda Borges is a Miami, Florida native who moved to New York in 2011 to attend New York University's Film and Television Production program. Since Graduating in 2015, she now works at NBCUniversal's Bravo Network, and lives in Brooklyn with her boyfriend Ben Stroud, who was diagnosed with T1 Diabetes in 1998. She'll be working with the Tween Staff, and will be assisting with the Docu-Diabetes project.
Sunshine Abel, LPN, is the mother of Sierra and Sailor. She attended her first Friends for LifeÂ® 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 toward her RN degree. Sunshine has been working as a nurse and leader in the Friends for LifeÂ® youth programming since 2006.
Josh Guidie is studying Sports Management at Canisius College in Buffalo New York. He is a volunteer firefighter and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). Josh has been a volunteer with his local JDRF chapter and a delegate in Childrenâ€™s Congress. He was diagnosed with type 1 in 2004. Josh and his family attended Friends For Life Orlando from 2009 through 2014. He has enjoyed working with the Elementary team since 2015!
Monica Lanning is 23 years old and just graduated with a bachelors in biology from the University of Chicago. She is attending Boston University to work on a Masters in Medical Sciences and Clinical Investigation. She previously worked as a research assistant the the Monogenic Diabetes Registry at the Kovler Diabetes Center in Chicago. She loves to get crafty, bake, hike, and travel. Monica has had diabetes for 21 years and has been to every Friends for Life Orlando conference (all 17!) as well as many regionals. She calls her CWD friends "family" and is excited for this yearâ€™s "family reunion!"
Jeremy Meredith, 23, has had type 1 diabetes for 17 years; he was diagnosed in May of 2000 when he was six years old. Jeremy has been attending Friends for Life Orlando conferences since 2003; this will be his 14th. He received his Associates of Science in Criminal Justice Technology in 2016 and attends St. Petersburg College, working towards his BAS in Public Safety Administration. Jeremy is excited to be elementary staff and to be with his CWD family.
Orange Assembly Faculty (Siblings)
Sierra Abel is the older sister to Sailor Abel, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2001. Sierra attended her first Friends for Life conference with her family in 2002, where she was in the elementary group. She has now worked her way through all the programs, graduating from the teens at Friends for Life Orlando 2011. Sierra graduated from Mercy College in 2016 with a degree in Public Relations focusing on Marketing. She is excited to be a leader of the siblings group and working with friends and family.
Mary Babin, 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 â€“ 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 specialty 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!
Helen Rodenheiser, wife of Kenny Rodenheiser, is a first grade teacher at Folsom Elementary School in New Jersey. She has been attending Friends for Life 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.
Chris Joynes, BSN, RN, attended her first Friends for Life Conference after her daughter Molly was diagnosed with diabetes in March 2005 at the age of six. She has been a pediatric emergency department nurse for 14+ years and loves working with kids. She is also mom to Andrew, Elizabeth and Benjamin who have grown up with CWD. Chris is excited to begin working with the childcare group again this year!
Brandy Schmidt is Jeff's wife and mother of two, Brandon, dx'd 1997, and Rhiannon, dx'd 2009. When Brandon was diagnosed, Brandy came home from the hospital and found CWD on the first search. She has been addicted to CWD since then. She has been an advocate for all military families dealing with diabetes. She helped implement a gluten free policy in San Diego county public schools when Brandon was diagnosed with celiac in 2005. She has been dubbed the "Gluten Free Police" at conferences. Brandy now lives in North Carolina with her husband, two kids, four dogs and a bearded dragon!
Friends for Life Falls Church 2017 Conference and Expo Introduction - Registration - Sponsors Faculty and Staff - Youth Staff Program - Youth Program - Hotel Floor Plan - Exhibitor Application
Last Updated: Monday September 11, 2017 10:05:52
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