Back to Friends for Life UK 2017 FFL UK 2017 Faculty and Staff

Conference Faculty


Francesca Annan, RD, qualified as a dietitian in 1990 and has worked as the paediatric diabetes dietitian at Alder Hey Children's Hospital for the last 20 years, working with children and families both in hospital setting and on activity holidays and weekends. As a former track athlete she has combined a love of sport and an interest in nutrition to develop the only "exercise and diabetes" clinic in the UK for young people to access sports nutrition and diabetes management advice and is currently completing a Masters in Sport & Exercise Nutrition.


A finicky connoisseur of hotel meeting space, cappuccino, and kid-friendly cheese and fruit platters, Laura Billetdeaux is CWD's VP of Education and Programs. Since 2000, Laura has organized every single Friends for Life® conference, always keeping in mind the true purpose of Children with Diabetes® — education and support of families with type 1, and always keeping in mind why it all works – the efforts of so many dedicated individuals. Laura lives in Manchester, Michigan with her husband Neal. They are parents of Sam and Carolyn who both serve as youth faculty at Children with Diabetes® conferences as time allows.


Dr Fiona Campbell is a consultant paediatrician and diabetologist at St James's University Hospital, Leeds. Her research interests are in paediatric diabetes with a particular interest in the use of insulin pumps. She started the paediatric pump programme in Leeds in October 2002 and 90 children currently attending the paediatric diabetes service use a pump to control their blood glucose levels. Dr Campbell has been involved in many local, national and international diabetes research studies and has recently been awarded a grant from Diabetes UK for a multi-centre, randomised, controlled trial to look at the incidence of hypoglycaemia in children using continuous glucose monitoring on pumps versus multiple daily injections. She is an Insulin Pump Association steering group member and has been on the DoH Insulin Pump Working Group which published its report in 2007. She was also the Diabetes UK nominated clinical expert at the TA 57 NICE guidelines review of pump therapy.


Mountain Climber Will Cross has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1976 when he was diagnosed at the age of nine. Will was told that it was unlikely he would live to be 30 years old because of diabetes. In the 40 years since, he became passionate about high-altitude mountaineering and has ascended the highest peaks on all seven continents and walked to both the North and South Poles. Will seeks to get the message out that if he can control his diabetes in these conditions, no one should feel hindered by diabetes.


Gavin Griffiths was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 8, when he was ironically informed of the risks to his health if performing in sports. Following initial childhood struggles to accept the condition, Gavin is today regarded as 'The DiAthlete' and a global diabetes advocate. He has accomplished over 70 ultra endurance feats across 6 continents of the world - including once running from John O'Groats to Lands End in the UK by covering 30 marathons in 30 days - assisted the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games as a London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer, cycled over the Alps and most recently filmed a documentary focusing on young adults living with type 1 diabetes around the world. The Ambassador of Frio and Founder of DiAthlete, which advocates for type 1 diabetes education to be presented with positive encouragement, Griffiths is a good humoured entertainer who offers plenty for empowerment.


Peter Hindmarsh is Professor of Paediatric Endocrinology at University College London and Consultant in Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at University College London Hospitals and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. He has worked closely with the UK Department of Health to assess Paediatric Diabetes Care and practices diabetes within an inter-disciplinary team based on a flat system model. His research interests are in long term complication in diabetes and the mathematical modelling of data sets.


Jeff Hitchcock is the Founder, President, creator, editor, and webmaster of Children with Diabetes®. After earning a degree in computational mathematics in 1981, Jeff worked in high tech and traveled the world, meeting Brenda, who would become his wife, in Africa. He worked in defense related industries until 1995, when he started a small Internet company and launched Children with Diabetes®. He subsequently worked at LEXIS-NEXIS and Pearson plc on Internet initiatives, and now works full time bringing Children with Diabetes® to you.


Dr Timothy Tree is a Reader in Immunobiology at King’s College London. His research focuses on understanding the processes involved in destroying insulin producing cells which leads to the development of type 1 diabetes. His work tries to understand why some people develop T1D and others do not and use this knowledge to identify and test new therapies aimed at stopping or reversing this destructive process. This research has contributed to several exciting new clinical trials being performed in the UK and beyond. In addition to a 20-year professional interest in diabetes, Tim also has a great personal interest in the condition. His father lived with type 1 diabetes for over 25 years and he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 11. He now has three lovely (but boisterous) boys of his own and aims for a world where type 1 diabetes no longer touches young lives.


Jill Weissberg-Benchell, PhD, CDE, Pediatric Psychologist, Professor of Psychiatry, Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois. She has been a certified diabetes educator for over 20 years and is an author of numerous research articles, and a co-author of a book on transitioning from pediatric to adult care. Dr. Weissberg-Benchell works with children, teenagers and their families to facilitate adaptation and coping with diabetes and other chronic conditions.

CWD UK Staff


Gwen Sutherland is a volunteer on both sides of the Pond having attended her first UK Friends of Life Conference in 2010 after being encouraged to attend when daughter Rebekah (Dx T1D 1998 aged 3) was receiving her pump training. In 2013, Gwen and Bex attended their first Orlando Conference and she has been on the registration team ever since. Gwen is an avid supporter of JDRF, organising several fundraising events along with Bex, and was a member of the Scottish Ball Committee, helping to raise over £1million during this time. Gwen lives in Aberdeen, with husband David; they have four children – Jamie, Gemma, Sarah and Rebekah and are now doting grandparents to Aaden, who was born in May 2016. Gwen is a trustee and Chairperson of T1 Today UK.


Ashley Head is husband to Shayne and dad to Jake (28) and Phoebe (22, Dx T1D 2001). He is Director of an International Event Logistics company, owns Lewes FC and organises an off-road marathon - The Moyleman - in Lewes, East Sussex. He has volunteered at Friends For Life in the USA since 2009 and was part of the team to help CWD set up the first FFL UK at Beaumont House. Ash takes care of the Sponsor/ Exhibit space at the conferences and works on the move-in/ move-out crew. Ash is a trustee of T1 Today UK.


Chris Sutton is a Trustee of T-1 Today UK, the charity that now funds and organises Friends for Life UK. He is husband to Teresa and father of Daniel, Hannah (diagnosed 2010) and Mattie. Chris is a minister in the Church of England serving in two parishes in West Sussex. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries having previously held a number of positions in financial services. Chris has appreciated the education and support offered by CWD FFL conferences over a number of years and is excited to be back at the Beaumont in 2017.


Laura Bull is a Children's Diabetes Dietitian. After graduating as a dietitian, she trained as a paediatric dietitian, specialising in paediatric diabetes. Laura joined the Children's and Young People's Diabetes team at University College Hospital London Hospital in 2013. Laura is one of our staff nutritionists this year and is helping with the carb counting cards on display for our snacks and lunch menus.


Brenda Hitchcock is mom to Marissa (dx’d at 24 months), Kathryn, and Tim. She’s worked side by side with her husband Jeff on Children with Diabetes® since it began in 1995. Brenda brings a mom’s perspective to diabetes care, is editor of the “Ask the Diabetes Team” section of the Children with Diabetes® website, helps to manage the Children with Diabetes® Forums, and helps out in countless ways at Friends for Life® conferences.


Chad Kyllo lives in the great white north of British Columbia, Canada. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of two and celiac at age seven. He has attended Camp Elphinstone in Gibsons, BC, since the age of six including leadership training, and he returned as a "Midnight Rambler" working with the medical staff doing the midnight and 3 a.m. blood glucose checks of the campers. Chad has attended many CWD conferences with his first one in 2002. He has helped at conferences working with children, as part of the Road Crew in the exhibit hall, and helping to keep the presentations running smoothly. To Chad, diabetes is a challenge he faces every day, but no more challenging than putting the right sock on the right foot. "Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can."


Scott Kyllo lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has two adult children, Alyssa and Chad. Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when his son, Chad, then age two, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when they were residing in Bahrain in the Middle East. The World Wide Web had just arrived in Bahrain and it brought to the Kyllo’s the safety of the Children with Diabetes® family. Two years later, when life was becoming somewhat comfortable and routine, Alyssa, then age 7, was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Chad was also diagnosed with celiac disease in 2001. The family attended their first Friends For Life® conference in 2002. Getting to meet the CWDers in person was like Christmas in July! Scott is a Chief Information Officer by day and an Aircraft Engineer by night maintaining a Piper Cherokee and a Mooney. These skills and his “MacGyver” qualities keep him running at the Friends For Life® conferences as its Information Technology and Audio/Visual support person. He is a strong advocate of Friends For Life® conferences and believes anyone with a connection to diabetes should attend at least one... although warns that the conferences are much like potato chips—it’s hard to stop at just one!


David Sutherland is husband to Gwen and dad to Jamie (32), Gemma (30), Sarah (28) and Rebekah (22, Dx T1D in 1998) and now doting Grandpa to Aaden (born in May 2016). David attended his first CWD Conference in 2010 and is on the CWD Staff not only in the UK but also in Orlando, which he finds very rewarding. He is a criminal defence lawyer in Aberdeen, running his own business, and when not in court enjoys working out in the gym, cycling, trying to play golf, and watching sport.

  Denotes faculty or staff with diabetes

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Last Updated: Sunday September 17, 2017 18:12:38
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