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Sports Central Team

The Sports Central Team oversees our exercise, sports, and fitness programming

Zach Geren is husband to Melissa Geren, diagnosed at age four, and he is also Big Papa to Maddax. Zach started attending conferences in 2015 and has enjoyed every FFL since. Each conference, Zach looks forward to welcoming all to Sports Central for a little bit of sweat and a lot of fun. It's hard to miss Zach, as he is frequently in colorful socks and a headband. As an avid sports fan, Zach loves to watch and play almost every sport, especially basketball, tennis, football, and frisbee.

Margarita Aguilar RN, BSN, is the proud mom to Rohan, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of two in 2018. They have attended Friends for Life Orlando since 2019. Margarita is pursuing a Master’s Degree as Family Nurse Practitioner from The University of Texas at Arlington. She enjoys spending time with her son, teaching him about his diabetes management as he grows older to advocate for himself and others with T1D, all while maintaining a positive outlook.

Tanner Barton, MCHES, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age eight in 2003. An avid swimmer, Tanner swam competitively at the NCAA Division I level for four years. He was a 4-year Mid-American Conference (MAC) finalist in the 200 Butterfly, and he was recognized as the 2017 conference male student-athlete of the year. Following graduation, Tanner began coaching at the collegiate level. He is the Head Swimming & Diving Coach at John Carroll University, though he also enjoys coaching elementary aged children during the summer months. Besides swimming, Tanner enjoys various forms of physical activity; he traded in swim goggles for running shoes and completed the 2019 NYC Marathon. In addition to T1D, Tanner lives with celiac disease. He is looking forward to befriending and empowering all who are attending FFL!

Rebekah Berg is the wife of Eric Berg and mom to five children including their warrior son Isaac, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six in 2022. Their family attended their first Friends for Life Orlando in 2023 where they finally felt understood. She is the Athletic Director, Physical Education teacher for kindergarten through eighth grade, and the Foreign Language teacher at a small school in West Virginia. In addition, she founded and coached the school's middle school Track, Cross Country, and the elementary running program from 2016 to 2023. Rebekah enjoys all things Disney, reading, spending time with her family, loving on the family's five cats and one dog, and teaching others about type 1 by debunking common myths.

Russell Brown is a pophomore at Bentley University. He is a Dean's List student, in the Investment Club, and trying to make the DII Golf Team. He also plays Basketball and Soccer in his free time. Diabetes has never really stopped Russell from doing anything that he wanted to--academically or athletically. He am looking forward to returning to Sports Central and helping children with diabetes, in any way possible.

Martyn Carr, BSc, RN, lives in Scotland and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was five years old. Martyn earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University West of Scotland. Martyn met his wife Chelsea at the Friends for Life Conference in Orlando and he is now Dad to son Owynn (born May 2021). He has participated in the Friends for Life conferences in the United States, Scotland, and England for many years, working within the Elementary, Tween, Teen age groups and Sport central team. Martyn loves attending FFL conferences where he gets to help others with diabetes and see his friends.

Abby Deltano is 19 years old and has lived with type 1 diabetes for almost eight years. She first attended Friends for Life in 2018 and found really great people from day one. Ever since she was 11 years old, managing type 1 diabetes has been hard but hasn’t held her back from playing volleyball, figure skating, skiing, and doing absolutely whatever she wanted. It’s taught her a lot about how to overcome difficult situations, and Abby credits her my mom for so much of that. Abby also has a passion for writing, drawing, and anything she's able to create with her hands. She works as a full time veterinary assistant and loves coming home at the end of the day knowing she has helped somebody’s pet. Abby can’t wait to meet and see everybody again at FFL!

Someone once asked Mike Singletary, former NFL Chicago Bears linebacker, what his favorite part of the game was. He answered, "The opportunity to play." Since his diagnosis in 1995, Jimmy Dodson has expanded his classic athletic background into various areas of endurance and adventures sports for both the physical and mental challenges, as well as to demonstrate that diabetes is merely a factor that can be managed. Whether it is ice climbing, racing mountain bikes, running the Goofy Challenge, or playing a pick-up game, there aren't many things he has not tried. Over the years, he has been actively involved with CWD, Adventures for the Cure, Mountains for Active Diabetics, IDEA 2000, Insulindependence, Hope on 2 Wheels, JDRF Ride to Cure, and has experiences as a guide, coach, and fitness instructor. Professionally, Jimmy is the statewide Ecological Restoration Specialist for NC State Parks with duties as a wildlife biologist, registered forester, fire ecologist, and wildland firefighter.

Kathryn Gentile-Alvarez, MS, ACSM-CEP, CPT, CDCES, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12. She received her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from Ave Maria University in Florida and a Master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology from West Chester University in Pennsylvania. Along the way, she has studied the effects of various forms of exercise on glucose levels and enjoys developing basic and advanced exercise prescriptions for patients. She provides one-on-one guidance for patients looking for individualized exercise plans, runs group exercise classes and provides diabetes education specializing in very young people with diabetes and those using do it yourself systems.

Jade Gorman was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on February 1, 2018, at age 13. She has just finished her first year of college at Montclair State University where she plays on the women's DIII lacrosse team. Growing up she competed in gymnastics almost all her life as well. Jade is willing to talk about any and all things sports since she is studying sports communication while at school in New Jersey and can't wait to spend the week with you!

Bailey Grainda has had Type 1 for 19 years, was diagnosed at 13 months old, and has been attending Friends for Life for 15 years. Bailey lives in New Orleans, LA, and is a sophomore at Tulane University and is pursuing a degree in Design. For work, Bailey works at a bagel shop and does photography at live music venues. During her time at school, she loves to sing with her acapella group, be around friends, take pictures, eat good food, play some of her instruments, and go see local live bands! Bailey is so excited to be able to work on staff with the people that provided her inspiration throughout the years and hopes that she can do the same for those that attend! Bailey can’t wait to spend time meeting new people and friends!

Rhianna Rinderknecht Rhianna Rinderknecht was diagnosed with T1D in 2017 and has been attending FFL conferences since 2020. She is currently working towards her BSN at the University of Alabama and hopes to one day become a Diabetes Nurse Educator. She enjoys meeting new people every year and looks forward to seeing her group of lifelong friends that get it!

Adam Sawyers is a long-time attendee/volunteer at Friends For Life and is excited to be volunteering this year in sports central! He started at FFL in 2015 and has lived with type 1 since 2011. He is from Maryland and is a collegiate indoor and beach volleyball player at Stevenson University. He enjoys keeping up with different sports, spending time with family and friends!

Sarah Smith, BSN, RN, is 25 and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11 in July 2009. Her first Friends for Life Orlando Conference was exactly one year later in 2010 and she has been attending ever since. This will be her fifth year as a staff member, and she is looking forward to another year of encouraging kids to never let type 1 stop them from anything they want to do, especially anything athletic. She grew up playing ice hockey and softball and never let type 1 hinder her love for the game. Sarah is thankful to FFL for the many friends she has made and for giving her the opportunity to continue to learn and grow. She has worked with the Elementary Group and Tweens in the past and is excited to be working with the Sports Central team this year.

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Indicates Sports Central Team member with diabetes

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