Kiddie Kove Staff
Our Kiddie Kove Staff take care of our youngest Fiffles -- kids age five and younger.
Mary Babin, RN, BSN, CDCES, 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 five 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 diabetes management. Mary has devoted her career to the world of medicine. As a graduate of Eastern University and Presbyterian School of Nursing, Mary currently works as a pediatric endocrine specialty nurse and has been a CDE over 25 years! 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!
Parker Grand is excited to be on the Friends for Life staff as CWD has given him so much support and friendship over the years. Parker has attended every Friends for Life conference since his diagnosis at the age of three in 2002. Parker lives in California where he attends college full-time. He is employed by the California State Parks where he coordinates youth programs, leads guided tours and develops new programs to teach children an appreciation for the history and ecology of the parks. Parker loves working with children of all ages. In his free time, you can find him biking, golfing, and volunteering.
Shelley Grand, mom to Parker, diagnosed in 2002, resides in Southern California. Shelley and her family have been attending Friends for Life Orlando conferences since 2003, and they attribute Parker’s success in managing his type 1 to the knowledge, support and friendship that they have received over the years from attending the FFL conferences. Shelley has been a preschool teacher/director for the past 30 years. She states, “We look forward to attending FFL every year and enjoy being able to give back to a community that has given so much to our family.”
Helen Rodenheiser, MEd, is a kindergarten teacher with a masters degree in special education. She loves working with the little ones each year! She has been attending Friends for Life conferences with her husband Kenny Rodenheiser (T1) since 2011. Helen loves coming to FFL each year for the sense of community and belonging. "It's nice to be in a place where other people just get it."
Sailor Abel was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of two. Sailor attended her first Friends for Life conference in 2002 at the age of three. She has worked her way through all of the age groups learning and absorbing all the information she could about type 1 diabetes. She has been volunteering with Kiddie Kove since 2018. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor of science in environmental studies. She is excited for her next adventure! Sailor is so grateful for everything she has experienced growing up through CWD. She has made the very best of friends who have become her family.
Brooke Baker, MSN, RN, CDCES, is mom to Jackson who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a baby. She’s spent a few years in academia teaching nursing in order to raise up nurses who know how to care for her friends with diabetes. As a Diabetes Nurse Specialist for ten years, she’s filled a variety of roles, but her favorite roles include time with her patients. That’s why she’s excited to be on staff this year and take care of the little patients who need constant care while giving parents peace of mind to have a few hours of normalcy. “FFL is a wonderful place where diabetes is the norm instead of the exception. I’m so excited we will be in person again this year!”
Alexa Brenner was diagnosed with diabetes in 1997, and has been attending Friends for Life Orlando conferences since 2006. FFL has empowered her to take charge with her own diabetes and advocate for both herself and others, and has allowed her to meet some of her best friends. Alexa is currently working in healthcare and being politically active through both work and personal life. She's excited to be on staff and give back to CWD, which has given her so much.
Rebecca DeLong was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five. She attended her first conference in 2007 in La Jolla, California, and has been attending conferences all over the country since then. Rebecca cannot thank CWD enough for helping her build life-long friendships and an amazing diabetes community. She is excited to continue as a staff member this year and give back to the CWD community!
Chris Freund, BSN, RN, attended her first Friends for Life Conference after her daughter Molly was diagnosed with diabetes in March 2005 at the age of six. She has been a pediatric emergency department nurse for 15+ years and loves working with kids. She is also mom to Andrew, Elizabeth and Benjamin who have grown up with CWD.
Molly Joynes, age 20, was diagnosed with diabetes when she was six. She attended her first Friends for Life conference four months later and has been attending FFL and CWD regional conferences ever since. Molly is the second oldest of four siblings and is a sophomore majoring in music production with a minor in biology at California Lutheran University. Molly is excited to be working with kids at the conference who share the same challenges she’s faced for the past 14 years. She can’t wait to spend time with FFLs, both old and new. Molly recently graduated with a BA in Music Production.
Colleen O'Connell, RN, is wife to Bob, mom to Kaileigh (dx. 1/2007), and Meg, age 14. Colleen and her family have attended FFL conferences since 2008 learning as much as they could, making friends, and giving Kaileigh another family. She works as an RN in the NICU at Beth Israel Lahey Medical Center in Boston, MA. Colleen recalls, "At our first FFL conference, we met Sunshine Abel (also a nurse and mom to a child with type 1) in childcare. We were nervous to leave Kaileigh; she was young and newly diagnosed. But, I remember the confidence we had when we met Sunshine and the staff." Colleen has been volunteering in Kiddie Kove since 2019 and hopes that she is able to make other families comfortable leaving their children so that they can attend seminars and gain knowledge and support in caring for their child and family. Colleen says, "I am so happy to give back to CWD after everything the conferences and people involved in CWD have given to us over the years!"
Hannah Peach is 19 and from Nashville TN. She has been attending Friends for Life Orlando since 2005. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of four. Hannah attends Ave Maria University in southern Florida and is majoring in Nursing. Hannah feels attending the conference has given her the confidence and knowledge to do anything despite diabetes. She loves attending the conference and has made friends for life.
Tammy Point, LPN, CDP, currently serves as a Specialty Programs Liaison with Abode Healthcare. She is a former private duty and elementary school nurse who specialized in medically fragile children. Tammy is excited to volunteer at Friends for Life because her son-in-law (and CWD Volunteer), Brian, has been living with T1D since the age of 15. Tammy enjoys spending time with family and her dogs, Chloe and Sonny.
Indicates Kiddie Kove staff member with diabetes