Teen Team

Our Teen Team oversees programming for our Fiffles aged 13 to 17

Tina Brown has been rocking the world of living with T1D for over 25 years, most recently while competing in triathlons! Her connection to the T1 community started at Camp Huronda, where she worked for 17 summers, the final few as the Assistant Director. She is the Executive Director at Montessori Academy of London, Ontario, holding a BASc in Child Studies and an AMI Montessori Diploma. Tina feels the FFL experience is the most valuable opportunity a T1 family could have. She believes finding a community creates the most impact on T1 care with the connections that are made, allowing support to continue far beyond the days of the conference.

Brian Grant, BSN, RN, CDCES, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2003. He loves working with people who have diabetes, and is looking forward to serving as Teen Leader at the Friends for Life Orlando conference. He currently resides in Mechanicsburg, PA and works for Dexcom.

Alanna Landry, RN, CDE, serves as a teen leader in the youth program. Alanna has spent 28 years enjoying her role as an RN,CDE at Markham Stouffville Hospital paediatric diabetes program. She has spent recent years focusing on research studies investigating the transition of youth to adult care, leading quality improvement projects, and is presently co-chair of the provincial diabetes network steering committee to improve care of children and families in Ontario. Alanna has attended FFL conferences in the teen program for 15 years. The Friends for Life conference is the most magical week of the year and reinvigorates her passion to continue to support and educate the families with diabetes she is honored to care for.

Hannah Opdenaker was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in February of 1999 and has been attending the Friends for Life Conferences since 2001. She is the Associate Director for a non-profit theater in Philadelphia, where she acts as a grant writer, program director, and occasional performer. Hannah is excited to serve as a Teen Leader at the Friends for Life conferences.

Ashley Child, PharmD, BCACP, is a dedicated pharmacy healthcare leader, life long learner, wife, mom of four, and proud sister of a T1D Warrior. She is passionate about patient advocacy and educating future health care providers about the importance of patient centered care. She lives on the Seacoast of New Hampshire and works for Mass General Brigham at Wentworth Douglass Hospital. Ashley is excited to be a part of the CWD family and finds joy in making new connections and friends for life.

Hannah Cope, BSN, RN, has been attending Friends for Life Orlando since 2005 and always looks forward to being surrounded by so many affected by diabetes. She graduated from Quinnipiac with her BSN and went to work as an RN on a surgical unit for several years. During those years, she fell in love and married Garrett Cope, who had also been attending this conference for years with his family. In 2021, Hannah gave birth to her daughter, Clara, and embraced becoming a full-time stay-at-home mom. Fast forward to 2023, the Copes welcomed their son, Beckett, into the world. Parenting with diabetes has its challenges, but she is grateful to have support from family and friends. She is super excited to be back on the Teen staff this year!

Aaron Cordell is a social studies teacher living in Philadelphia, PA with his girlfriend, Hannah, and their dog, Ruby. He teaches at an alternative high school that services disadvantaged and at-risk youth from North Philadelphia. In his spare time, Aaron enjoys hiking, biking, traveling, and being outdoors. Aaron was introduced to Friends for Life through his girlfriend, Hannah, who was diagnosed with type 1 at age three, and has been attending/volunteering at the conference most of her life. He is very excited to be working with the Teen Team again this year!

Rhiannon Gonzales grew up in the Friends for Life community, having attended her first conference in 2003 for her brother, who has type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed herself in 2009. She and her husband Bradley are expecting their first baby in October of 2024.

Sandra Hartranft

Sandy Hartranft, RN, BSN, CDCES, has been a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist for over 30 years and has been employed at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since 2014. She enjoys teaching children and their families how to use insulin pumps and CGM’s as well as how to care for the complexities of type 1 diabetes. She and her husband Glenn have raised three energetic boys and, in their spare time, love to travel, having been to 43 of the 50 states. Sandy is excited to be back again to work with the teens at FFL.

Manuel Iris

Manuel Iris is a teacher, poet, and public speaker. Manuel has successfully taught literature, culture, and language classes in Mexico and the United States at the high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels. He is a Poet Laureate Emeritus of the City of Cincinnati, and was recently named Writer-in-residence of the Cincinnati and Hamilton County Public Library, and of Thomas More University. He has given readings, lectures, and workshops about poetry, translation, diversity and Hispanic Culture in Mexico, the US, and Europe. He was the coach of a two-time champion poetry slam team in Cincinnati (2017 and 2018).

Paul Keyser

Paul Keyser, from Tecumseh, Michigan, attended his first FFL conference seven months after his daughter Isabella was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 2016. The experience was a “total game changer” for his daughter and their entire family. Bella went from hiding her T1D to embracing it and the challenges head on. This conference, and amazing group of people, has come to mean so much to their family. When he’s not being the proud dad of five, he’s working as a middle school special education teacher. Paul is very excited to volunteer and to work with such an amazing group.

Carter Landry graduated from Wheeling University with a degree in Criminal Justice. He played five years of division 1 rugby. He now runs youth rugby skills development programs. Carter is currently working in sales as an account executive. This will be Carter’s fifth year volunteering in the teen program at Friends for Life.

Tayler Michaelson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 2004 and has been attending Friends for Life conferences in Orlando and Canada since 2009. Tayler works within the communications, advertising, and marketing industry. Recently he completed a research study on film representations of type 1 diabetes. In his spare time, he plays volleyball competitively and can be found on the court or in the sand.

Rachale Park has recently graduated from Valencia College with a B.S. in Business and Organizational Leadership. She currently works for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL. Rachale grew up with a mother who has had diabetes since the age of 11 and a 15 year old brother, who has had type 1 diabetes for 12 years. By volunteering at Friends for Life conferences, Rachale hopes to help lots of children, both siblings and kids with type 1, learn about diabetes and the diabetes community.

Ernie Prado serves as the Super Guppy Project Engineer in the Aircraft Operations Division at NASA's Johnson Space Center. In this role, he is responsible for maintaining airworthiness of the Guppy, integrating payloads, upgrading systems, assisting Maintenance, supporting sustaining engineering and ensuring mission success. In 2019, the Super Guppy airlifted the Artemis spacecraft between NASA facilities supporting America’s mission to Mars. Previously he worked at the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF) where astronauts train prior to spaceflight. At the SVMF, he led projects to create, maintain, and upgrade full-size International Space Station trainers and mockups that astronauts use to prepare for their missions. In addition to his work at NASA, he is involved in manufacturing large-scale 3D Printers. Ernie holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Mechanical Engineering & Aeronautical Sciences and Engineering from UC Davis. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 15 and has been on an insulin pump since 2011. While wearing an insulin pump and CGM, Ernie has achieved 8Gs in a centrifuge during an Aeromedicine study. In his free time, Ernie enjoys snowboarding, SCUBA diving, crossFit, building Legos, and tinkering.

Sam Sevor is a high school social studies teacher from New York. He has attended the Orlando conference beginning in 2022 and has always looked forward to being a part of it! Some of Sam's hobbies include directing the musical for the high school he teaches for, as well as being an avid hiker. Sam would like to thank everyone at Friends for Life putting together an awesome conference, and his mother for providing tons of support.

Jessica Wisniewski

Jessica Wisniewski, MSc, lives in Philadelphia and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. She currently works as a project manager in the healthcare industry. Jessica loves traveling, playing competitive volleyball, and spending time outdoors. Jessica was diagnosed with diabetes 18 years ago and has attended many Friends for Life conferences. She is excited to be volunteering with the Teen Team and participating after missing a few years.


Indicates Teen Team member with diabetes