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  Back to FFL Orlando 2017 Conference Friends for Life Orlando 2017 Sports Central Staff

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Garrett Cope, FF/EMT-Paramedic, has been attending Friends for Life conferences since 2003 along with his younger sister, Hunter Cope, who has had type 1 diabetes for 14 years. Garrett is a Firefighter Paramedic with Flagler County Fire Rescue in Florida. He graduated from Miami Dade College, where he earned an A.S. degree in Emergency Medical Services. This will be Garrett's fifth year volunteering as Sports Central staff.

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Someone once asked Mike Singletary, former NFL Chicago Bears linebacker, what his favorite part of the game was. He answered, "The opportunity to play." Since his diagnosis in 1995, Jimmy Dodson has expanded his classic athletic background into various areas of endurance and adventures sports for both the physical and mental challenges, as well as to demonstrate that diabetes is merely a factor that can be managed. Whether it is ice climbing, racing mountain bikes, running the Goofy Challenge, or playing a pick-up game, there aren't many things he has not tried. Over the years, he has been actively involved with CWD, Adventures for the Cure, Mountains for Active Diabetics, IDEA 2000, Insulindependence, Hope on 2 Wheels, JDRF Ride to Cure, and has experiences as a guide, coach, and fitness instructor. Professionally, Jimmy is the Piedmont region biologist for NC State Parks & Recreation with duties as a certified wildlife biologist, registered forester, and wildland firefighter.

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Liz Dodson loves running, lifting, sweating, and playing outside. Since becoming a part of the type 1 family eight years ago through her husband Jimmy, she has made exercise and activity a habit in her life, and is constantly inspired by her amazing diabetes family. She has completed a few half marathons, obstacle races, one triathlon, and charity cycling events. She is excited about actively working with all of the families at this year's Friends for Life conference.


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Zach Geren graduated from the Marquette University Law School with his JD. He recently married Melissa Geren, who has been attending conferences since 2003. Zach attended his first Friends for Life Orladno conference in 2014. He enjoys participating in many sports, working with children, and volunteering with many organizations.

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Philip Hunsche is the "little" brother of Kara Hunsche, 22, who has had type 1 diabetes since 2001. He is 19 and hasn't missed a conference since 2012. Philip is studying business management at Cincinnati State. He’s excited to join the Sports Central staff at Friends for Life!

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Betsy King, RN, BSN, MEd, has over 30 years nursing experience since graduating from Villanova University. For the past 18 years of her career, she has worked as a certified school nurse for the Penn-Delco School District. She has additionally specialized in the areas of critical care nursing, working in the ER and Coronary Care Unit. Betsy is the Red Cross certified CPR/AED/First Aid trainer for the school district training faculty and support staff. She is an advocate for students with diabetes, and facilitates children through the school years as normal children who "happen to have diabetes." Her interest in healthy lifestyle and nutrition has always been important to her. Betsy is married to an athlete with type 1, Bill King; they have two children, Megan and Billy. They enjoy an active lifestyle of going to the gym and running together. Betsy attends many diabetes programs, camps, and conferences, focusing on diabetes technology, research, advanced pumping, and intensive management. You may remember Betsy from previous years attending Friends for Life Conferences, and she is thrilled to be back.

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Bill King grew up in a family of distance runners and became an elite marathon runner in his early twenties. He was diagnosed with type 1 in 1984 while training for his 4th marathon, working two jobs, attending college and dating. Bill continued competitive running, however concentrated on shorter distances. In 1988, he was entered the largest diabetes study ever conducted on type 1 diabetes, the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), and the results helped changed the protocol of diabetes intensive care for all people. Bill, like over 90% of the participants, is still being followed in the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC). Bill began wearing an insulin pump in 1996 and as a result of better glucose management was able to train for and complete his 1st marathon with diabetes just a few months later. He ran fast enough to qualify for the Boston marathon, which he ran wearing a blood glucose meter on his wrist. He has gone on to complete 18 marathons since he began wearing an insulin pump and has been a coach and advocate for exercise with diabetes ever since. "Everyone has an athlete inside; don't let diabetes stand in your way!" Bill currently consults with several diabetes technology companies and is working as Director, Patient and Community Relations for Achieving Better Control, Inc., a diabetes self-management education company. This is Bill's 15th year at the Friends for Life Orlando conference.

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Shawn O’Dell is a Buffalo, NY native. His girlfriend, Kristen Seiz, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of nine. His support and patience has been irreplaceable in her journey with diabetes. He is working as a mechanic with Erie County and owns Buffalo Bubble Soccer. He’s very active and loves football, kayaking, hunting and riding his motorcycle. Shawn will be volunteering in Sports Central. You’ll see him running, jumping and having tons of fun with the kids.

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Brianna Peach is 21 years old and is the big sister of Hannah Peach, 17, who has had type 1 diabetes since 2004. She has attended Friends for Life Orlando since 2005 and has never missed a conference. Brianna is a junior at Tennessee Tech University studying to become a physical therapist. She loves all of her friends here at FFL and has really made friends for life.

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Chris Ruden is probably the only 7-fingered, type 1, record-holding powerlifter, speaker, and fitness consultant. Born with a disability, he struggled with limitations -- body image issues, bullying, and just being "different" than everyone else. When he faced extremely rough times, Chris learned that "limitations are self imposed," which empowered him to beat his disability, manage his diabetes, and inspire kids and adults around the world while teaching them how everyone is in control of their life. Chris has a degree is in Exercise Science & Health Promotion and in addition to speaking, he runs an online fitness and nutrition consulting business, focusing on helping those with type 1 diabetes.

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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. He is currently Director of Group Exercise at Sport & Health club in Washington, DC.

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Ben Tzeel is a certified strength and conditioning specialist who is currently pursuing a graduate degree at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. His research entirely focuses on type 1 diabetes. He has been living with diabetes since 1999, and this will be his tenth Friends for Life Orlando conference. Committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Ben can't wait to share his experiences managing athletics and diabetes with others!

  Friends for Life Orlando 2017 Conference  
  Introduction - Registration - Exhibitors - Convention Center Map  
  Faculty: Parent & Adult - Youth - Spanish Track - Grandparents - Sports Central - Retinal Screening - CWD Staff  
  Schedule: Parents and Adults - Youth - Childcare Form  
  Reports from 2016 - 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  



                 
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Last Updated: Tuesday February 07, 2017 22:34:54
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