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  Back to 2013 Conference CWD Staff at Friends for Life 2013

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Jeff Hitchcock is the creator, editor, webmaster and president 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.

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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 CWD conference, always keeping in mind the true purpose of CWD - 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 husband Neal, who graciously and energetically assists with the conference teen programs. They are parents of Sam and Carolyn who both serve as youth faculty at CWD conferences as time allows.

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Mike Schurig, MS, RD, LD, CDE, serves as Conferences and Content Manager for Children With Diabetes. As a diabetes educator, registered dietitian and person with type 1 diabetes since the age of 12, Mike has had extensive experience in diabetes education with kids and parents. Mike is active with local ADA activities, regional diabetes educator groups, and the CWD website. His interests are insulin pump education and technical advances in diabetes. Mike enjoys visiting the nearby theme parks and enjoying Central Florida.

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Mike Bassett has been a CWD volunteer and friend of the Billetdeaux family for the past 11 years. He enjoys volunteering at Friends for Life conferences, meeting CWD families and helping in any way possible! Mike lives in Michigan and is dad to nine-year-old Emma and seven-year-old Gavin.

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Intissar Ben Halim, MSS, is mom to Maryam, Zakariyya, Abdalla, and Yaseen, and wife to Nabil. She and her family been involved with CWD conferences since 2004. She enjoys meeting other CWD parents and families and sharing stories and challenges, especially now that she has four teens. Intissar loves her work as a clinical social worker at a nonprofit agency in West Chester, Pennsylvania, as well as her work as an associate at Cultivating Wholeness, a private practice in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. She and her family reside in King-of-Prussia.

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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 look 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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Ashley Head is a CWD dad on both sides of the Atlantic – at Friends for Life Orlando and Friends for Life UK! Ash has been a Trade Show Professional for the last 30 years, specializing in international event logistics; he has coordinated shows all over the world. Ash also serves on the Challenge Events Committee for the JDRF UK. He is married to Shayne, and dad to 18-year-old Phoebe, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2001. He is also dad to Jake, age 24.

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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 CWD web site, helps to manage the CWD Forums, and helps out in countless ways at CWD's conferences.

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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."


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Tom Karlya, Vice President of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, is commonly known throughout the diabetes community as Diabetes Dad, used virtually everywhere, including his monthly column which appears at www.dLife.com/diabetesdad. He's been active since his daughter, Kaitlyn, was diagnosed in 1992 at the age of two. In 2009, his son Rob was also diagnosed, at age 13. Tom has been introduced to the NY State Capitol, testified in Washington, D.C., appeared at diabetes-related events at the United Nations and has lectured across the US about being a Diabetes Dad. He received numerous commendations for his work in the Katrina efforts where he was instrumental in organizing aid to over 10,000 people with diabetes. Tom was awarded The Jeff Hitchcock Distinguished Service Award from CWD in 2008 among many other awards from groups and organizations. For 12 years as an actor, he starred in the New York Production of Tony 'N Tina's Wedding, with the original Company and also at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington, D.C., in Summer of the 17th Doll. His film, lbs., was at the Sundance Film Festival, and appeared in Unsolved Mysteries, Spin City, The Cosby Show, NYPD Blue, Law and Order, America's Most Wanted, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and more as well as numerous commercials. He won 13 Telly Awards, a FREDDIE Award, and was nominated for an Emmy Award while Executive Producer of dLife on CNBC. Tom will tell you that above everything else, he's just a CWD Dad.

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Scott Kyllo lives in British Columbia, Canada. He has two children, Alyssa (22) and Chad (19). Their path along the diabetes road started in 1996 when his son, Chad, then age 2 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 CWD 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 CWD'ers 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. Scott is a strong advocate of CWD 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.

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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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Julia Mattingly is mom to 16 year old Hannah and 14 year old Ethan, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10 months and started pumping when he was 3. Julia, Ed, and the kids have been to every Friends for Life conference and most of the regionals as well. Julia coordinates registration at each conference, and you can always find her when you need a smile and a "Hi Y'All!" Julia loves coordinating registration and being able to meet and talk to everyone who walks in the door. Her best CWD memory is from 2000 when she met all of her CWD email moms in Orlando for the first time. She also loves to see the smiles on her children's faces when they re-connect with their CWD friends each summer.

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Betty Parker, a CWD grandma who lives in Manning, South Carolina, has been coming to Friends for Life conferences since 2004. She has four grandchildren, including Joshua who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in October 2003. Betty has also attended three regional conferences in Marco Island and the Quilt for Life display in Washington D.C. Betty enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren, playing tennis, exercising, reading and traveling. She is very happy to volunteer with the registration staff this year.

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Betty Smith is a CWD mom to 16 1/2 year old Shelby and 14 year old Jeremy. Shelby was diagnosed at 6, and has been pumping for over four years. Betty considers it 'a blessing' that she came across the CWD web site shortly after Shelby's diagnosis. After telling her husband Ed about the CWD web site and FFL conference, he said "book it!" This will be their 9th FFL conference and they will not stop attending until there is a cure! Betty and her family live on the Central Coast, CA. Between taking care of her family and managing Shelby's diabetes, she spends her time helping to educate and advocate for other kids diagnosed with diabetes. Her emphasis is on educating parents on 504 plans. Betty also spends her time writing letters to help get funding and legislation passed for diabetes health care.

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Tracey Smith is mom to Kylee and Joshua, and they live in Suwanee, Georgia. Joshua was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in October 2003 at the age of three. With all of the overwhelming information given to her as a newly diagnosed mom, Tracey found comfort in the Children with Diabetes website. In 2004, the entire Smith family including mimi, Betty Parker, attended their first Friends For Life conference in Los Angeles, California. That was all it took to realize that this is where her family needed to be every summer to make life a little easier on everyone. Tracy has since volunteered at every Friends for Life conference. She is a stay at home mom who volunteers in the school and with the local recreational sports that her kids are involved with. The Smith family has also been involved with their local JDRF chapter.

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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).

  Friends for Life 2013 Conference and Expo  
  Introduction - Registration - Exhibitors - Sponsors - Convention Center Map (PDF)  
  Faculty - Youth Faculty - Grandparents Faculty - CWD Staff - Sports Central Staff  
  Schedule: Parents & Adults - Youth - Focus Groups - Social Events  
  Childcare Form (PDF) - FAQs  
  Reports from 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001  



                 
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Last Updated: Monday February 24, 2014 14:36:36
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