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  Back to 2012 Conference Friends for Life 2012 Sports Central Staff

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Rick Philbin, MED, MBA, ATC, is Vice President of Sales for Asante Solutions. Prior to his leadership role at Asante, Rick worked for 12 years at Animas Corporation (2000 thru 2011) as a Territory Manager, Regional Manager, and East Area Field Director. His background is in Athletic Training/Sports Management and he is an individual with Type 1 diabetes. Prior to joining Animas, he managed a comprehensive sports medicine center in the Washington, DC area. He is currently on the board of directors of the Diabetes, Exercise, and Sports Association (DESA), a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for people with diabetes through exercise and physical fitness. Rick has been working with CWD for 11 years presenting to parents, coordinating the sports programming for kids, and writing articles on the CWD website called the Sports Corner. Rick's professional experience also includes working as an Athletic Trainer for a Philadelphia-based sports medicine center, where he worked with professional athletes from the Philadelphia 76ers and Flyers. He believes education is paramount for good diabetes management. As an avid exercise enthusiast with Type 1 diabetes, he practices tight management of his diabetes while on an insulin pump. Rick lives in the Washington, DC area with his wife Sharon and daughter's Nicole and Andrea.

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Testing blood sugars in the middle of the night is something most people with diabetes have mastered, but marathon swimmer Jen Alexander takes it to a new level: she tests her blood sugar in the middle of the night while treading water and getting stung by jellyfish! Jen was diagnosed when she was 13 years old - back when blood tests took 3-5 minutes. Jen has swum from Alcatraz to San Francisco, around parts of Manhattan, and in lakes and oceans around the Maritimes. In 2007, after swimming for 19 hours and 17 minutes, Jen became the first person to swim a double-crossing of Canada's Northumberland Strait. During the best 10 hours of this world-record swim, her blood sugar averaged 112 mg/dl (6.2 mmol/L) without any lows. In 2007, Jen was awarded the Canadian Diabetes Association's Inspiration Award. In 2008, Jen was honored with the Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association's "Athlete of the Year" award.

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Danny Ambrosini is a former basketball player and current dodge ball referee at CWD. He is associate director of the blue collar division for the New York City municipal employees union and the greatest "type 3" support system for Judith Jones Ambrosini.

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Judith Ambrosini is a diabetes journalist and writer. She has recently completed her first book, The Sisterhood of Diabetes. The book is a collection of stories about strong and determined female athletes with diabetes who redefine past attitudes about diabetes as they motivate and inspire. Her insulin infused engine continues to dance, bike, walk marathons, jog, and practice tai chi after 50 years of living a good life with type 1 diabetes. She is a former ADA and DESA board member, and recipient of the Lilly for Life Award for journalism. She also teaches tai chi at Diabetes Sisters and TCOYD conferences and for Diva-betics.


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Alex Bush attends Chico State University studying Psychology and Child Development. She plays for the women’s golf team at Chico State and is looking forward to her senior year. She hopes to work as a counselor for children and their families after college. This is her second Friends for Life conference and she is very excited to be working again at Sports Central.

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Garrett Cope has attended CWD conferences for the past eight years. He became a CWD volunteer as soon as he joined the teen group and has continued to volunteer at various conferences. He has helped his sister manage her type 1 diabetes since her diagnosis in 2003. He remains active in fund-raising events and diabetes awareness. Garrett lives with his family in Miami, Florida.

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Ryan DeGroff is 23 years old and has been living with type 1 diabetes for 14 years. During this time, Ryan never once allowed it to slow him down; growing up, he played every sport possible! Once Ryan entered high school, he began to focus on football and baseball, continuing to play through college years at Plymouth State University. He discovered that diabetes made him who he was every time he stepped on the field. Finding a way to balance diabetes with his strenuous lifestyle was not easy. Ryan states, "Sharing my struggles and achievements with younger diabetic children is my goal in life." This is Ryan's fourth Friends for Life conference as Sports Central staff!


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Athletics and adventures were an integral part of life growing up, but type 1 diabetes only entered the game plan at the age of 19 while a college sophomore in 1995. Since then Jimmy Dodson has worked to learn how good glucose management practices become a part of, yet not a limiting factor, to exploring the world and challenges he enjoys. The 2005 winner of the DESA-LifeScan Athletic Achievement award and 2009 winner of the REI Anderson award, he is an "all-arounder" -- a climber, cyclist, runner, skier, fly-fisherman, wilderness first responder, adventure athlete, and diabetes advocate in his spare time. Professionally he is a TWS Certified Wildlife Biologist and NC Registered Forester for the College of Natural Resources at NC State University in Raleigh, NC.

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2012 will be the fifth year that Liz Dodson has helped out in Sports Central. She has a long history of working with all ages in a variety of settings, including teaching dance and nature programs. Since becoming a type 3 three years ago, she's had the pleasure of playing with the entire CWD family!


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"If it's a sport, I'll try it – or at least watch it!" An avid volleyball and football player in her younger years, Deb Ruppert is excited to be working with Sports Central again if for no other reason than to meet all the amazing people who come to play a mean game of hoops, a competitive dodge ball match or to just run around and work off some energy! Stop by and say hi! This is Deb's fourth Friends for Life conference, and she's looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones!

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Ben Stroud has been attending FFL since 2003, the last four years as a volunteer. Ben, diagnosed at the age of 10, is celebrating 14 years of diabetes health. He enjoys sports and was a member of the one and only official CWD soccer team that toured Italy in 2004. Ben currently lives in Hollywood and is attending the Los Angeles Film School, studying cinematography and directing and is always looking for exciting locations and interesting people to work with. Ben is also looking forward to seeing all of his great friends and working with his brother James in Sports Central.

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James Stroud is a 21 year old college student attending Chico State University in Northern California studying Marketing & Communications. He is also the goalkeeper for the nationally ranked Chico State men's soccer team and is looking forward to his senior year. Growing up with his brother Ben who's had diabetes for 13 years, James has always been supportive and has strived to understand diabetes so he can always be there for Ben. Attending CWD for many years, James has made lifelong friends. He looks forward to working in Sports Central with his brother Ben, challenging and motivating kids to get moving, and have fun doing it!

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Ben Tzeel, 20, is a junior at the University of Tampa studying biochemistry with the goal of attending medical or pharmacy school. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999 just before his 8th birthday. He enjoys playing baseball, working out, and rapping. Ben has attended the past four FFL Orlando conferences, and the idea of giving back to the program that taught him so much makes him very excited for this year’s conference.

  Friends for Life 2012 Conference and Expo  
  Introduction - Registration - Exhibitors - FAQs - Sponsors - Convention Center Map (PDF)  
  Faculty - Youth Faculty - Grandparents Faculty - CWD Staff - Sports Central Staff  
  Schedule: Parents & Adults - Youth  
  Registration - Teen Driving Clinic - Retinal Screening Signup - Childcare Form (PDF)  
  Reports from 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  



                 
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Last Updated: Sunday April 29, 2012 19:09:04
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