Kiddie Kove Team

Our Kiddie Kove Team takes 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 clinical specialist for an insulin pump company. She has been a Diabetes Care and Education Specialist for over 25 years. This busy mom and devoted professional has been involved with Children with Diabetes since 2001. You can spot her at the conferences -- she's the one with the trail of kids behind her!

Parker Grand, MNR, is excited to be volunteering at Friends for Life as Children with Diabetes 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 Southern California and received his Master’s Degree in Natural Resources from Oregon State University. For work, Parker coordinates educational programs for the California State Parks.

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.

Lisa Anderson has two adult children, Morgan, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011, and Ian, non T1D who has high functioning autism. She has been attending Friends For Life since 2018. Lisa is a retired recreation and childcare director for the city of Huntington Woods, Michigan where she also ran the city’s annual 4th of July parade for 30 years. She loves seeing all the new friendships made at FFL and how everyone helps each other by sharing supplies or sharing a shoulder to lean on. Lisa looks forward to volunteering this year to help others make lasting friendships at FFL just like she has.

Emily Bergstrom has attended the Friends for Life conference with her type 1 significant other since 2021. She grew up all over the state of California and has been working with children of all ages for most of her career with a variety of non profit organizations as well as California State Parks. She enjoys art, creativity, story telling, music, and different forms of communication such as American Sign Language. She looks forward to working with the very youngest of conference attendees and helping to make their experience memorable.

Shelby Braaten was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January 2018. She is currently in college working toward her nursing degree so that one day she can become a Diabetes Educator. She attended her first Friends for Life Orlando conference six months after being diagnosed and will forever be thankful for the friends and community that FFL has provided her. She is beyond excited to be volunteering this year!

Alexa Brenner was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1997 and has been attending CWD conferences since 2006. Being part of CWD has allowed her to grow up into what she'd like to think is a very cool adult and brought her some of her best friends, and has given her more confidence in managing her diabetes than she could ever quantify. She is so grateful to be able to give back to an organization that has given her so much.

Natalene Clemson (Nat) is a first time volunteer and a student athlete at Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. She plans on earning a degree in Early childhood education with a special Ed certification. She has been attending the FFL Orlando conference for 10 years now and can not wait to make even more memories as a volunteer this year. She hopes to help younger children navigate their way through the conference and create long lasting friendships!

Cheryl Cockerham is proud to be the mom of son Riley, who was diagnosed in June 2015 at the age of six. Cheryl has been attending the Friends for Life conferences since 2019, considering the conference as one of the highlights of the year. She lives in Missouri and in her spare time enjoys traveling, jigsaw puzzles, needlework, and reading.

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 be part of the team this year and give back to the CWD community.

Susan Feldt is from O'Fallon, Missouri. Her daughter was diagnosed with T1D in 2014. After finding out about FFL in early 2018 she and her family attended their first conference and have attended every year since. Susan is an early childhood professional and has worked in the field for over 30 years. She currently serves as the assistant director and lead Pre-K teacher for Kids International in Ellisville, Missouri. Susan has worked with many preschool children over the years, helping them to navigate T1D at school. She is excited to volunteer in Kiddie Kove this year in Orlando and looks forward to giving back to Children with Diabetes for many years to come.

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.

Stella Hogan is from Lake Wales, Florida. This will be her eleventh year attending Friends for Life, her third as a volunteer. She has had type 1 diabetes since June 2014 and attended her first conference just 28 days later. She is currently a junior at the University of South Florida, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has loved working in Kiddie Kove and can’t wait to see and experience the incoming little ones with whom she can try to create great memories.

Adrianna Hopkins is a senior at Florida Gulf Coast University majoring in Child and Youth Studies with a concentration in Education and has high hopes of becoming a Child Life Specialist working with kids with diabetes after graduation. This will be her third FFL Conference, her second conference with the Kiddie Kove Team and she can't wait to see everyone this summer! Adrianna was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes back in 2021, just two months before moving across the country for college. She attended FFL that summer and truly has never looked back. With a strong passion for advocacy, Adrianna founded her university's chapter of "The Diabetes Link" to assist students at her school living with diabetes and currently serves as chapter President.

Deana Jimenez is married with two teenaged children. Her daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12 in February 2018. Their family attended their first Friends for Life that July and say that they have met people who will truly be their “Friends for Life.” Deana has taught in the field of early education for over 30 years, has worked with multiple ages, and really enjoys teaching pre-Kindergarten the most.

Elizabeth Joynes is 18 years old and is the younger sister of Molly who was diagnosed with type 1 in 2005. She has been coming to FFL ever since then and has been to many regional conferences as well. Elizabeth is currently enrolled in an early childhood education program and can't wait to start her senior year in August. After growing up attending FFL, she is super excited to be able to work in Kiddie Kove this year!

Kathryn Keipert has been learning and growing with diabetes since 2001 when she was diagnosed at age 11. She is a wife and a mother and proud of all she has accomplished and learned while learning to thrive in life with diabetes. One of her proudest achievements with diabetes was successfully navigating international healthcare for five years while teaching and living internationally in both Asia and Central America. She has worked professionally in the field of education since 2008. She is passionate about education, advocacy, inclusion, empowering others, diversity, and global connections. She attended her first CWD conference as a teen, and has been attending as an adult since 2021.

Katelyn Littlefield

Katelyn Littlefield has been lived with type 1 diabetes since 2005 and has attended Friends for Life Orlando since 2006. The FFL community is like a second family to her, and she loves being able to be a part of the volunteer team at the conferences. At home, she works as a store manager, accompanied by her diabetes alert dog (service dog), Onyx. She also loves to spend time outdoors, crochet, and read!

Teresa Littlefield, MSN, RN, RNC-MNN, CLC, PMH-C, is wife to Troy, mom to Jessica and Katelyn, diagnosed at age nine. She recently retired, having worked with first-time at-risk moms, including those with T1D. Teresa spends her time now in volunteer roles, including her local Humane Society, JDRF as part of their online support team, therapy dog work with her dog, and of course, CWD. Other volunteer roles are being considered as well. Teresa has been coming to FFL since 2006 and couldn’t imagine not being a part of this family. This is where she “refills her cup” every year with those that truly understand.

Jennifer McCormick, RN, BSN, CDCES, CPT, is a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult, and has found passion and purpose in helping others with diabetes navigate the diagnosis and achieve their goals but related to and unrelated to diabetes.

Colleen O'Connell

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!"

Kaileigh O’Connell was diagnosed with diabetes at age three and has been coming to Friends for Life Orlando since 2008. This is her second year volunteering and she is so excited! She is 20 years old working as a certified Infant, Toddler, and Preschool teacher. Kaileigh is attending college at Southern New Hampshire University with a major of Early Childhood Education. She has a sister Meg, and her mom and dad volunteer with Kiddie Kove as a nurse and as a Room Captain, respectively. She is excited for another year and can’t wait for this year and years to come!

Piper Ogden is from Columbus, Ohio, and is a rising senior at Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana, with a major in Elementary Education. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in March 2019. She attended Friends for Life for the first time in 2023, which was the highlight of her year! She loves working with kids and cannot wait to serve as a mentor and guide to others with T1D as well as their families. She is so excited to again experience the joy and support of the T1D community and make new friends. She hopes to continue volunteering for many future years!

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.

Emily Swenarton attended her first Friends for Life conference in 2014 only months after her brother Sean, was diagnosed with type 1. Since then, Emily has been involved in supporting families with type 1. Emily encourages friends and families to attend Friends for Life because of the valuable knowledge and life-long friends she has made over the years. Emily graduated in 2021 from The University of Scranton with a degree in exercise science, then continued her education at Xavier University to receive her bachelors of science in nursing. Emily currently works at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in Pediatric Emergency Medicine and is working towards becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator!

Mia von Bernuth is the older sister of Kyra von Bernuth, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age eight. Mia currently attends the University of Tennessee and is a Neuroscience major. She has attended one conference and absolutely loved gaining knowledge on T1D. She has worked with all age groups, but currently works with children 0-5 who have developmental disabilities. She loves to be outside and enjoys spending time with her friends and family. She is excited to volunteer with FFL and can’t wait to meet new people!

Kate Zimmerman

Kate Zimmerman, RN, MHS, CHE, was already practicing as a nurse when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1998 at the age of 27. Kate has been using an insulin pump for the last 22 years and CGM for the last four years. Kate has held various progressive leadership positions in health care and is now the Vice President Integrated Care and Chief Nursing Executive at a community hospital just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Kate also has a son who was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 13 and is excited to be attending Friends for Life Orlando supporting the Kiddie Kove program.


Indicates Kiddie Kove Team member with diabetes