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  Back to Friends for Life 2007 Conference Friends for Life 2007 Youth Programming Faculty

Teen Programming Staff

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Natalie Bellini, R.N., C.D.E., has had diabetes since she was a young child and within a year of finishing nursing school started to care for people with diabetes, first focusing on high risk pregnancy and then pediatrics and insulin-requiring adults. She has lectured extensively to clinicians, patients and their families about diabetes, the psychological effect of the disease and how to keep going on the hardest of days. Natalie has worked with children and adults of all ages and has assisted in initiating and expanding pump programs at numerous hospitals and private practices. She is currently a Territory Manager with Animas Corporation. Natalie believes in truth in education and that knowledge is power. She enjoys working with children and teens, and has a second full-time job as mom of her own teen, Erin. Natalie will be leading the Teen Program at this Friends for Life conference.


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Neal Billetdeaux, from Michigan, is learning to be a diabetes advocate from kids Carolyn and Sam. His most frequent complaint to wife, Laura, is that he doesn't have enough vacation time to make it to all the CWD conferences! When not downloading meter data, changing infusion sets, or cooking dinner, Neal is a principal in a landscape architecture firm in Ann Arbor. His CWD 'claim to fame' is that - in a sleep-deprived stupor one night - he awoke to his alarm at 2 a.m. and tried to test the dog. He's a great dad with a great sense of humor!


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Katie Daugherty, MPH, has had type 1 diabetes for 19 years, having been diagnosed at the age of 10. She believes that having diabetes has enriched her life in many ways and has made her a better person. Katie has lots of family members with type 1 diabetes: her sister-in-law, cousin, and uncle were all diagnosed within 5 years of each other, and they all relied on Katie to teach them everything about type 1! When she is not attending CWD events, Katie is a Program Manager in Research & Development at Abbott Diabetes Care Inc., where she is known as "the test strip guru." Originally from the Boston area, she is a dedicated Red Sox and Patriots (and Tom Brady) fan, and she now resides in the San Francisco Bay area. Interests include health policy, writing, laughing, and long-distance running. She plans to complete at least one marathon in 2007! How does Katie view CWD? Quite simply: I'm home.


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Nabil Elarbi, father of four wonderful children, resides in King of Prussia, PA. He became involved with diabetes in December 2003, when his daughter Maryam was diagnosed with diabetes at age 10. He spent his first night at the hospital searching the internet for information on his laptop and stumbled onto the CWD website. It was then that he decided that his family was going to attend the 2004 Friends for Life conference in California. The entire family has been hooked ever since and looks forward to it as the highlight of their year. Nabil has always had a special touch working with youth and young adults. He enjoys reading, traveling, and promoting health education in under-served communities. Nabil owns a small Healthcare IT consulting firm.


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Chris Tull is first and foremost Trevor's dad and Bernadette's husband. Since Trevor’s diagnosis in late 2002, Chris served as a Legislative Chair and Diabetes Advocate, lobbying in his local districts and on Capitol Hill for diabetes funding and awareness. After attending his first CWD conference in 2003, Chris became very involved with CWD conferences, serving as staff for the teen program and overseeing all security matters for each and every conference. His diabetes claim to fame? In his eagerness to remove the air bubbles from Trevor's syringe the first time he gave a shot, he flicked it so hard that he bent the needle, causing his son to proclaim, "Oh, Dad's going to be good at this!" Chris is a police officer in Virginia Beach, and a former Marine.


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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 has been with Animas Corporation as a Territory Manager since April 2002.


Tween Programming Staff

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Kim Kelly, Pharm. D., is the Director of Diabetes Programs at LifeScan, Inc., in Milpitas, California. Dr. Kelly has a lengthy and distinguished career involving both patient care and administrative roles, including President of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. His research and experience have included a number of publications, participation on editorial boards and review panels of several journals, involvement in medical curriculum development, and various committees of professional organizations. Currently, his activities center around developing diabetes health management and educational programs for various health care providers and provider organizations. Delighted to work with children and teens alike, Dr. Kelly participated as a volunteer in the Orlando and Universal City Friends for Life conferences, where he became 'hooked' in working with the wonderful CWD kids and families. He joined CWD as 'regular faculty' in 2004, focusing on the Tweener and Elementary age programming.


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Melissa Ringley, R.N., C.D.E., became a registered nurse in 1991. Shortly afterward, Elizabeth, her 3 year old daughter, was diagnosed with diabetes. It became abundantly clear to Melissa that she should learn all she could to help her daughter maintain a healthy and happy life with diabetes. Melissa has dedicated her entire career to diabetes since that moment. She brings her own personal experience to CWD families and understands the many stages of development and how diabetes impacts both the patient and family. Melissa's previous career as a certified diabetes educator has included a variety of settings including diabetes education centers, multi-physician practices, and hospitals. Melissa's expertise is in insulin pump therapy in children. She has been working with Animas Corporation since 2001. At Animas, she has worked both nationally and internationally as a clinical manager and she is now a Territory Manager in Tennessee. Her daughter is now a sophomore at East Tennessee State University, pursuing a career in nursing.


Elementary Programming Staff

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Brian Foster, MSE, is committed to working with children and their parents on the social and psychological issues that develop from having diabetes. Brian holds both his bachelor's and master's degrees in education, with concentrations in psychology and exercise science. He holds a certification in health fitness through the American College of Sports Medicine and is currently pursuing a clinical certification in exercise physiology. Brian was diagnosed with diabetes at age seven and has been an avid athlete since. He competed in both high school and collegiate athletics and now regularly competes in events ranging from ultra-marathons to triathlons (including the last four Boston Marathons.) He is involved in a number of athletic associations including the Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association, Insulin Factor, and Team Type 1. He currently is a Pump Support Representative for Animas Corporation. He is married to Tricia Stewart, another faculty member of Children with Diabetes.


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Marissa Hitchcock, now 19, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 24 months old. She is studying to become a pediatric diabetes nurse specialist and loves working with kids who have diabetes. Marissa brings her experiences as a diabetes camp counselor and young adult with diabetes as she works with the elementary age kids at CWD's conferences.


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Lauren Lanning is a self-proclaimed Jersey Girl transplanted to Colorado. 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. Little did she know. Lauren now coordinates the Elementary Programming for every CWD conference. She has two adorable daughters, Monica (who is now a teen!) and Sarah, who are the inspiration in her life. A computer geek at heart, Lauren has her own web design business. For fun, she completes century rides in Death Valley to raise money for diabetes research.


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Pam Loebner is a California public elementary school teacher who has worked in both special education and regular education classrooms for 25 years. Since becoming a CWD mom, Pam has assisted the district nurse with education for families and teachers when newly diagnosed or newly enrolled students arrive. While always working as an advocate for student needs, Pam focuses on ensuring equal access to all school activities for children with diabetes. Pam discovered the CWD website 30 minutes after her daughter's diagnosis in June 2002 when Sarah was 9 1/2. Pam and her family haven't missed a CWD conference since. Pam's son, Keith, started volunteering at the first conference when he became friends with Sam Billetdeaux. The family quickly became volunteers and has been a buddy family for the past several years with new attendees to the Friends for Life conferences.


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Stacey Nagel was born, raised and still lives by the beach in Belle Harbor, New York. Married to Scott, they have three children: Allison, Daniel and Jesse. She is a retired special education teacher of developmentally delayed preschoolers. Jesse was diagnosed in December 2001 when he was 9 years old. While sitting in the hospital, in the wee hours of the night, Stacey discovered the CWD website. After a year of emailing her "imaginary friends," she decided in 2003 that it was time to attend a "Friends for Life" conference. Not one to just sit back and do nothing, she started volunteering at her very first conference, and put Scott to work with the teens last year. Jesse has also gotten caught up in the CWD fever by joining the "Youth Faculty."


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Michelle Rago is an attorney and CWD mom. She graduated from Harvard University in 1986, magna cum laude, with a B.S. in Sociology. There she received the First Annual Ben Teel Memorial Prize for Public Service. She graduated from Columbia University School of Law in 1990, receiving a Charles Evans Hughes Fellowship. Michelle has practiced complex commercial litigation since graduation, specializing in securities and other class actions on behalf of investors. In 2000, Michelle's son Trent was diagnosed with diabetes at age 4. Due to the diagnosis, Trent's daycare would not accept him back. Since then, Michelle has worked hard to keep abreast of the changing laws with relation to diabetes and school, insurance coverage, and discrimination on account of diabetes. She is a member of the parents list on the CWD website and often assists parents with legal issues that arise in connection with diabetes. For her selfless work with CWD families, Michelle was awarded the Hitchcock Distinguished Service Award at Friends for Life in 2006.


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Gayle Schurig began volunteering at CWD conferences shortly after her husband, Mike, became CWD's dietitian. The Schurig's have a daughter, Ally, in the teen group, and the family enjoys seeing friends and meeting new people at each and every CWD event. Gayle works as a behavior analyst for a nonprofit agency serving children in Orlando. She uses these skills in her work at conferences, assisting parents and staff with children who are having behavior difficulties during sessions. Gayle works with families and CWD staff so that parents can relax and focus on sessions, and children can participate in the fabulous conference activities.


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Tricia Stewart, MS, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, is a registered dietitian, diabetes educator and board certified in diabetes management. Currently, she works as a Senior Clinical Manager at Animas Corporation, interacting with a diverse group of individuals with diabetes. Her role includes providing comprehensive diabetes education and empowering individuals to succeed with insulin pump therapy. Her past experience includes working as a pediatric and adult educator at the Joslin Diabetes Clinic in Boston, Massachusetts. Tricia is bilingual in Spanish. At Joslin, she assisted with starting a diabetes education program for the Latino community. She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, Brian, who has type 1 diabetes and their two Labrador retrievers.


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Elizabeth Vanover has participated in CWD conferences since she was a young teen. She is currently a university student where she enjoys volunteering with Alpha Phi Omega, working with children, playing football, and taking dance lessons. Elizabeth has had diabetes since she was three years old, and she's been a pumper for about eight years.


Childcare

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Mary Babin, RN, BSN, CDE is one of the first clinical employees at Animas Corporation and the first coordinator of childcare for the little ones at the CWD conferences. Mary leads a team of certified diabetes educators providing childcare in a safe environment for kids under 5 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. As Executive Director of Clinical and Patient Services at Animas, she is responsible for overseeing pump educators and the pump support team throughout the US. 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 10. 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!


See also the Faculty.

  Friends for Life 2007 Conference and Expo  
  Conference Intro - Faculty - Youth Faculty - Special Guests  
  Program Overview - Parents & Adults Program - Youth Program  
  Social Events - Focus Groups - Sports Central - Fun Run Pledge Sheet  
  Registration - FAQs - Sponsors - Exhibitors - Map of Attendees - Convention Center  
  Childcare Registration: Word - PDF  
  FFL Reports from 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  



                 
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Last Updated: Friday February 15, 2008 16:59:10
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