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  Back to Friends for Life Canada 2013 Toronto 2013 Youth Staff

Teen Programming Staff

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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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Sam Billetdeaux, diagnosed at age 8, is determined that diabetes will never get in the way of his life dreams. Sam is an active member of the CWD Young Adult program and has traveled to Denmark, Italy, the UK, and all across the United States to exchange ideas with other CWD teens, young adults, and their families. Sam is an avid athlete and enjoys running and working out with friends. He recently graduated from the University of Michigan and currently resides in Brooklyn.

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Dr. Robert Bulgarelli is the Director of Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine for Main Line Health and a Board Certified cardiologist at Riddle Hospital in Media. He serves on the Main Line Health Healthy Workforce Council and chairs Riddle's Medical Nutrition committee, amongst others. Dr. Bob, as his patients call him is Co-Founder of Whole Life Health, a Behavioral Health company whose mission is the transformation of Health Care Delivery in the world. Dr. Bulgarelli's main area of interest and expertise is in the growing field of Mind / Body Spirit medicine and the emphasis on healthy behaviors and choices as the key to vitality and longevity. His company is on the leader in the training of Health Coaches and he utilizes their expertise in his practice of Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine. He is a skilled practitioner and teacher of meditation and is a Board Certified Medical Acupuncturist. In 2002, Dr. Bulgarelli was the 1st Cardiologist in the world to complete the two-year long Associate Fellowship in Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona. Dr. Bob remains a faculty member with the Associate Fellowship, consulting on and moderating the cardiology and cardiovascular nutrition curriculum. He has been featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer, 6ABC and CN8. He has been published and quoted in many local and national magazines, including Main Line Today, Men's Health and Shape. A graduate of Philadelphia College of Medicine in 1990, Dr. Bulgarelli completed his medical internship at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Darby, PA and his medical residency and cardiology fellowship at Lankenau Medical Center. Dr Bulgarelli has been a part of Main Line Health his entire clinical career that now spans over 20 years.

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Sameer Datwani, B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc, graduated with an Honors in Medical Science & Biology from the University of Western Ontario, and has a Master’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of Dublin. He is currently working at Markham Stouffville Hospital in the Pediatric Diabetes program as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the CGM-Time Trial. His passion for research and health care comes from his first hand experience with diabetes, having lived with it for 13 years. In 2011, Sameer attended his first CWD conference in Toronto, and knew he wanted to be a part of the experience that has inspired and touched so many.


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Alanna Landry RN, CDE, has been a pediatric nurse for 20 years and has worked with children with type 1 diabetes for 13. She is part of a great team of professionals at Markham Stouffville Hospitals Pediatric Diabetes program. She feels honored and privileged that each day she is able to work with the great kids and families that attend their clinic. After attending the Friends for Life conference in Orlando last summer, Alanna knew that she needed to give back to CWD because the experience inspired and moved her deeply. When not at work, she is parenting three teenagers Kelsi 18, Taylor 16, and Carter 13.


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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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Jim Vail was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19 while he was a sophomore at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Jim graduated with a degree in Media Communications and was a producer for CNBC Business news in Washington, D.C., for nine years all the while wrestling with the unpredictability of NPH and Regular insulin. After finally going on a pump in October of 2001 and 'getting his life back,' Jim pursued Animas Corporation, the maker of his insulin pump, for a job and a chance to reach others with diabetes. Jim made the jump from CNBC and was with Animas Corporation until January of 2013 when he joined Dexcom to continue to help others understand, treat and manage diabetes.

Tween Programming Staff

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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.


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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 a leader with the Tween and Sibling programs. 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.

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Kaitlyn Karlya is a CWD kid and recently graduated from Stony Brook University with her Bachelor's in Health Science. She recently began her post-graduate studies on a pathway to become a Physician Assistant with an emphasis in diabetes. She is an Emergency Medical Technician at the Medford Ambulance Company in her hometown on Long Island where she was recently elected an officer. She has had diabetes since she was diagnosed at age two in 1992 and has been an advocate for many years.

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Sarah Ketcheson, BEd, BSc, has been living with type 1 for 14 years and counting! The majority of her diabetes 'life' was spent at Camp Huronda, a summer camp for kids with diabetes in Ontario, Canada, where she was both a camper and staff member for 10 years. Sarah is currently teaching at the elementary level in Calgary, Alberta. When not in school, she is lucky enough to hike in the Rocky Mountains as much as possible and go adventuring with the wonderful people of Connected in Motion, also serving as an Ambassador, helping to coordinate programs and events in Western Canada. Sarah has traveled to Africa, throughout Europe, as well as Central and North America. She recently backpacked the West Coast Trail and will be exploring Ecuador and Peru this summer.

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Kelsey Martin was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 12, and attended her first CWD conference two months later. She's since become an active volunteer and plans any vacation/free time around coming to CWD events. Kelsey remains active with her local JDRF chapter, and was the sole Kansas delegate to the 2007 Children's Congress. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism and business, and works in the public relations industry.


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Adam Town, BSN, RN, graduated from the University of Cincinnati's nursing program in 2009. Adam enjoys working with all children and is interested in pediatric nursing. He lives and works in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Adam enjoys sports of all kinds with a particular interest in baseball. Adam's wife Marissa has had type 1 diabetes for over 23 years.

Elementary Programming Staff

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Sunshine Abel, LVN, 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. She and husband Justin have volunteered for several years at Friends for Life and CWD conferences.


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Marilyn Fry, RD, CDE is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. Marilyn has been working with children with type 1 diabetes for almost 20 years. Initially, Marilyn worked at the pediatric diabetes clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She currently works with families with type 1 diabetes at Markham Stouffville Hospital in Markham, Ontario. Her interests include insulin pump education and toddler feeding challenges.

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Jen Hanson, BKin, BEd, MEd, has been living with diabetes for 26 years. She spent many a summer at Camp Huronda, an Ontario based camp for children with diabetes, were her love for adventure was fostered. Jen has a background in kinesiology, is a certified elementary school teacher, and has completed her master of education degree, researching community development through experiential diabetes education. Jen is the Director of Operations at Connected in Motion, has been involved with Children with Diabetes FFL in the UK, Canada, and the US, since 2009, and is a faculty member with the International Diabetes Federation's Young Leader's program. Jen has traveled throughout North America, Central America, to Europe, the United Arab Emirates and is excited to continue her adventures in Peru and Australia in 2013.

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Chad Kyllo is 19 years old and has had diabetes since he was 2. He was diagnosed with celiac when he was seven. Chad has attended CWD FFL conferences in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2010, along with conferences in Seattle, Toronto and Vancouver. Chad is passionate about the electronics world and enjoys off-roading with his 4x4 truck. He attended camp for children with diabetes since the age of six including leadership training. He has served as a "Midnight Rambler" at Camp Elphinstone in Gibsons, BC working with the medical staff going around doing the midnight and 3 a.m. blood tests of the campers.


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Lauren Lanning, mom of Monica, 19, dx 8/96, pumping 5/99, CGM 9/05, and Sarah, 17 ... her CWD "sig line." Lauren became involved with CWD shortly after her daughter was diagnosed in 1996. She has been involved in the CWD diabetes conferences since the very first gathering in Orlando in 2000, where she volunteered to make name badges. Lauren now coordinates the Elementary Programming for every CWD conference. Back home in Denver, she has served on the boards of the JDRF and CWD Foundation. She and her husband Steve have chaired and coached her local JDRF Ride team for many years. Lauren has worked as an elementary school computer teacher and now works at The Children's Diabetes Foundation at Denver as the IT Manager.

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Jesse Nagel, 21, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 9 1/2 years old. He is studying nursing the State University of NY at Buffalo. Jesse is a member of the crew team and is a senator for the Resident Hall Association. He has traveled to Washington, DC as an advocate with the JDRF Children's Congress and the ADA Call to Congress, and will continue meeting with his representatives until a cure is found. He has attended every FFL Orlando since 2003 as part of the elementary, tween, and teen groups. Jesse is very excited to become an official member of the FFL staff.


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Michelle Rago is an attorney and mom of two children with diabetes. Her son Trent was diagnosed at age 4 in 2000. Her family adopted daughter Maya -- diagnosed at one month -- from foster care in 2006. Her daughter Michela is proud to be a caregiver. Michelle is active with the American Diabetes Association Legal Advocacy group. She was awarded the Ben Teel Memorial Prize for Public Service at Harvard (where she founded a homeless shelter); the Charles Evan Hughes Fellowship for Public Service at Columbia Law School (where she represented children in foster care and worked on desegregation); and the Jeff Hitchcock Distinguished Service Award (for her work with CWD families).

Childcare

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Mary Babin 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 six 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 blood glucose management. Mary has devoted her career to the world of medicine. As a graduate of Eastern University and Presbyterian School of Nursing, Mary has been in intensive care nursing for over 25 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for 18. 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!

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Virtue Bajurny has been living with type 1 diabetes since the age of 15. She has spent over 10 years working in the childcare field and recently completed her Master of Social Work degree, focusing her research on diabetes and online illness communities. Virtue currently works as the Online Community Manager for Connected in Motion, a group of young adults with diabetes committed to living life to the fullest through outdoor adventure and experiential education.

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Grace Grande-Cassell is very excited to be staffing her third 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. After graduating from the University of Michigan in May 2012, she moved to New York City where she currently works in the fashion industry. She is overjoyed to be logging another conference with the CWD Youth Program!

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Alyssa Kyllo runs on insulin! She is 22 and in university, pursuing a career in Animal Health. At the age of seven, Alyssa was diagnosed with type 1, two years after her brother. Alyssa's FFL experience began in Pasadena in 2002, followed by Los Angeles (2004), Orlando (2006, 2010, 2012), Seattle (2008, 2009 and 2011), Toronto (2009) and Vancouver (2010). Diabetes doesn’t stop Alyssa’s passion for the sport of curling. At the age of eight, she started attending Camp Kakhamela, and continued through their leadership program to become a counselor. At the moment she is living in Kamloops, B.C., and is the senior counselor for the Kamloops BCSPCA. Alyssa loves working with the CWD kids!


  Friends for Life Canada 2013 Conference  
  Introduction - Registration - Faculty - Youth Staff  
  Program - Youth Program  
  Reports from FFL Canada 2012 - FFL Canada 2011 - FFL Canada 2010  



                 
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Last Updated: Monday March 24, 2014 16:50:45
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