Teen Programming Staff
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.
Born in Cleveland, Ohio during the time of the burning of the great Cuyahoga River, Neil Benchell, JD, loves to make children laugh. After having spent years on the sideline as the "spouse" of one of the faculty members, Neil decided it was time to get involved. As one of the Teen Staff members, Neil is always in the thick of it trying to make the conferences a memorable experience for all. In his spare time, Neil tries his hand at patent litigation.
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.
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.
Martyn Carr, age 24, lives in Scotland. Martyn is studying his Bachelors of Science Adult Nursing degree at the University West of Scotland. Martyn would eventually like to become a Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN). He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was five years old. Martyn and his family have participated in the last eight Friends for Life conferences and helped out at the UK Friends for Life conferences. He has worked with the Elementary, Tween and Teen age groups, and he loves helping out and being with his friends at CWD conferences.
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.
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
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.
Paul Cheverton had such a great time at last year's CWD Conference and is delighted to have the opportunity to come back and help out again this year. Paul has a longstanding history of type 1 diabetes in his family and has spent the last three years working for Animas UK & Ireland supporting other families with insulin pumps. He enjoys sports and games of all kinds and can't wait to meet up with everyone at the conference.
Melissa Pawlowski is a public relations major at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age four. Melissa has three siblings, Sarah, Kayla and Matthew. Matthew also has type 1 diabetes. Melissa enjoys attending Friends For Life Conferences and has been attending since 2003 with her family. Melissa loves working with CWD kids and is glad to be part of the CWD staff.
Kenny Rodenheiser, RN, BSN, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003. He currently lives in New Jersey and is striving to become a CDE. He has been an active part of the diabetes community through CWD, ADA and JDRF for a decade. Kenny looks forward to helping others enjoy CWD conferences as much as he does.
Deb Ruppert's connection to diabetes began in the 1990's when her dad was diagnosed with type 2 and her uncle with type 1. Deb has participated as Sports Central staff at Friends for Life for several years, and more recently as Tween and Teen program staff. She states, "I feel so lucky to have found CWD and FFL, and I love being able to share what I learn from families who have diabetes as a part of their lives with my own family."
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
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.
Laura Bailey has volunteered at Friends for Life UK since the first conference in the summer of 2009! Laura, who has a family history of type 1 diabetes, has been involved in research and in fund-raising for the past decade. She performed diabetes research as part of her Master's Degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2003, and continued that work in her professional career. She also volunteers with Diabetes UK and raises funds for diabetes research. Her interests include playing the trombone, singing, and sculpting polymer clay. She is looking forward to working with the children at the 2013 UK conference!
Aileen Durkan attended her first CWD conference in 2009 and had such a wonderful time volunteering with the elementary group that she's coming back again this year. She has a younger brother with type 1 diabetes, and she has worked with LifeScan and Animas in Ireland for the past 10 years. She believes it is important to be at the forefront of what's happening in diabetes care, and she enjoys keeping her brother well-informed and motivated. Prior to working in the diabetes world, Aileen was a midwife for 13 years. In her spare time she volunteers for charity work involving children, believing that every child deserves the best possible chance in life. She also enjoys salsa dancing, attending sports games - especially rugby, travelling and meeting new people.
Deborah Glassborow is in her third decade of living with diabetes and has been using and working with insulin pumps since 2002. She has been part of the Friends for Life UK team since its inception in 2009 and has previously supported the Teen group. In her spare time, Deborah is a keen traveller and has always been determined that diabetes wasn't going to get in the way of her living. She likes to take to the hills to walk whenever possible, loves music and literature, and is a keen archer in her spare time.
Kim Kaar has been involved with CWD as both parent and volunteer since her son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 18 months old in February 2000. When not advocating, educating, or raising research funds for pediatric disease, Kim enjoys any opportunity to work with special needs children in her local school system. It is there that she also enjoys her involvement with bringing Cultural Arts into the school via the PTA. Convinced that "knowledge Is Power" and "Support Is Crucial" for families of CWD, Kim is both grateful, and committed, to the organization that she calls "family."
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.
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).
Joanne Stroud, MHA, FACHE, is first and foremost a CWD Mom. Her son Ben was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of ten and CWD quickly became their lifeline. She attended her first conference in 2003 and instantly became hooked, telling Laura she'd do anything (within reason of course!) she could to assist CWD. Ben and his brother James (22) are both volunteers in Sports Central at FFL Orlando. After 25 years, Joanne recently left healthcare to pursue a new career in wine education and tastings, which also gives her a new flexibility to spend more time with her CWD family! Joanne is married to Jim, a CRNA and they have one other son, Kyle (26).
Mike Welsh, NBPTS, MS, keeps busy as a Certified Personal Trainer, Youth Fitness Director, and a Middle School Teacher, in addition to working with Children with Diabetes. He was born in Pennsylvania and currently lives in Washington, DC. Mike enjoys working with both adults and children teaching them that exercise is and should be a way of life - not a chore. Working with CWD, he helped to establish the first CWDecathlon at Friends for Life Orlando 2012.
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!
Audrey Greenfield has been involved with CWD conferences since 2001. A strong advocate of empowerment through knowledge and support, Audrey has stressed the importance of Friends for Life conferences to CWD families and to her colleagues within the Diabetes Franchise of Johnson and Johnson. Early in her career, Audrey was a schoolteacher in Brooklyn, New York; she has always enjoyed working with children. Recently retired from her position as Worldwide Vice President of Advocacy and Professional Relations for the Diabetes Franchise of Johnson & Johnson, Audrey now focuses on her most important job -- Becky's mom! She is thrilled to be working with the childcare program at Friends for Life.
Chelsea Meredith, age 22, has grown up around diabetes; her brother Jeremy was diagnosed in 2000. She attended her first Friends for Life conference with her family in 2003 and has been to many CWD regional and annual conferences since that time. She loves working with kids and is a dance and acrobatics teacher for young children. Chelsea will graduate from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg in May 2013 with an honors degree in history. She has plans to continue her education with a masters degree in public history in the coming year. Chelsea is also an aerialist and spends all of her free time hanging from the rafters on a trapeze.
Shayne Weldon has been involved in JDRF UK since 2003. She has attended Friends for Life Orlando with husband Ashley and daughter Phoebe, who was diagnosed with type 1 in 2001. This year, as she has done at previous Friends for Life UK conferences, Shayne will assists in coordinating and providing childcare for the 'under 6' group. Shayne has been a Community Nursery Nurse in the UK since 2004 and a healthcare professional since 1981. In her spare time, she enjoys horse riding, reading, movies, and listening to music.
Friends for Life UK 2013 Conference and Expo Introduction - Faculty - Youth Faculty - Schedule - Youth Schedule FFL UK Reports from 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009
Last Updated: Monday February 24, 2014 14:36:28
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