Natalie Bellini, BSN, RN, CDE, has had type 1 diabetes since she was a young child. Within a year of finishing nursing school, she started to care for people with diabetes, focusing first on diabetes in pregnancy then pediatrics and insulin requiring adults. She has worked on the medical side of camps for children and teens in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. She has spoken nationally and internationally as an expert in both working with teens and their parents with diabetes as well as infusion set choice, usage and maintenance. Her fundamental goal when developing the teenage curriculum for Children with Diabetes conferences is that each and every teen that attends finds a passion in life and pursues it. She is currently attending Drexel University part time in order to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. Natalie is a senior territory manager with Animas Corporation and mom to Erin.
Sam Billetdeaux, diagnosed at age 8, is determined that diabetes will never get in the way of his life dreams. Sam is an active member of the CWD Young Adult program and has traveled to Denmark, Italy, the UK, and all across the United States to exchange ideas with other CWD teens, young adults, and their families. Sam is an avid athlete and enjoys running and working out with friends. He recently graduated from the University of Michigan and currently resides in Brooklyn.
Dr. Robert Bulgarelli is the Director of Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine for Main Line Health and a Board Certified cardiologist at Riddle Hospital in Media. He serves on the Main Line Health Healthy Workforce Council and chairs Riddle's Medical Nutrition committee, amongst others. Dr. Bob, as his patients call him is Co-Founder of Whole Life Health, a Behavioral Health company whose mission is the transformation of Health Care Delivery in the world. Dr. Bulgarelli's main area of interest and expertise is in the growing field of Mind / Body Spirit medicine and the emphasis on healthy behaviors and choices as the key to vitality and longevity. His company is on the leader in the training of Health Coaches and he utilizes their expertise in his practice of Integrative Cardiovascular Medicine. He is a skilled practitioner and teacher of meditation and is a Board Certified Medical Acupuncturist. In 2002, Dr. Bulgarelli was the 1st Cardiologist in the world to complete the two-year long Associate Fellowship in Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil at the University of Arizona. Dr. Bob remains a faculty member with the Associate Fellowship, consulting on and moderating the cardiology and cardiovascular nutrition curriculum. He has been featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer, 6ABC and CN8. He has been published and quoted in many local and national magazines, including Main Line Today, Men's Health and Shape. A graduate of Philadelphia College of Medicine in 1990, Dr. Bulgarelli completed his medical internship at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Darby, PA and his medical residency and cardiology fellowship at Lankenau Medical Center. Dr Bulgarelli has been a part of Main Line Health his entire clinical career that now spans over 20 years.
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2002, Sebastien Sasseville became the first Canadian with diabetes to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 25th 2008. He then turned to a new challenge and went on to complete four Ironman races. In November 2012, Sasseville competed in another of the world’s most grueling events: the Sahara Race, a 250 km self-supported ultra-marathon across the infamous desert in Egypt. In 2005, Sasseville took with him a group of nine teens with diabetes to the summit of the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro. The ambitious project turned into a world premiere and inspired hundreds of thousands of people. In the summer of 2007, he then lead a group of young adults also living with type 1 diabetes on a 2 weeks long trek to Mount Everest Base Camp. Only 34 years old, he has already impacted the life of hundreds of thousands of people via his conferences, expeditions and TV appearances. While captivating listeners with thrilling stories, he uncovers hidden dimensions of diabetes and offers a journey that will take you back to the very first step of its treatment, and arguably the only cure, the acceptance.
Jim Vail was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 19 while he was a sophomore at the State University of New York at Fredonia. Jim graduated with a degree in Media Communications and was a producer for CNBC Business news in Washington, D.C., for nine years all the while wrestling with the unpredictability of NPH and Regular insulin. After finally going on a pump in October of 2001 and 'getting his life back,' Jim pursued Animas Corporation, the maker of his insulin pump, for a job and a chance to reach others with diabetes. Jim made the jump from CNBC and was with Animas Corporation until January of 2013 when he joined Dexcom to continue to help others understand, treat and manage diabetes.
Justin Abel attended his first CWD conference in 2002 after his daughter Sailor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in December 2001 at age 2. Once he started attending more CWD conferences, his wife Sunshine did not have to twist his arm for him to realize he wanted to get more involved. Justin has been volunteering at CWD conferences since 2006. He is also dad to Sierra, who is a young adult volunteer with CWD.
Maryam Elarbi was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 10 in 2003 and began attending CWD conferences in 2004. Now age 19 and a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College, Maryam enjoys reading (especially Jane Austen and Kurt Vonnegut), writing, blogging, and advocating for human rights in Central & East Africa. Her favorite CWD memories include watching Joe Solowiejczyk being honored for living with type 1 diabetes for 50 years, and meeting Louis and his family from Australia for the first time.
Kaitlyn Karlya is a CWD kid and recently graduated from Stony Brook University with her Bachelor's in Health Science. She recently began her post-graduate studies on a pathway to become a Physician Assistant with an emphasis in diabetes. She is an Emergency Medical Technician at the Medford Ambulance Company in her hometown on Long Island where she was recently elected an officer. She has had diabetes since she was diagnosed at age two in 1992 and has been an advocate for many years.
Kelsey Martin was diagnosed with diabetes when she was 12, and attended her first CWD conference two months later. She's since become an active volunteer and plans any vacation/free time around coming to CWD events. Kelsey remains active with her local JDRF chapter, and was the sole Kansas delegate to the 2007 Children's Congress. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism and business, and works in the public relations industry.
Sarah Melendez, BSN, RN, graduated from West Chester University's nursing program in August 2010. After her son Brady was diagnosed in 2004, she decided to pursue a career in nursing, with a future focus in pediatric endocrinology. In 2005, Sarah and Brady attended their first CWD conference and it has become an integral part of their lives every year. Currently, Sarah lives outside of Philadelphia and works as an Orthopaedic RN at Northeast Orthopaedic's Muscle, Bone and Joint Center in Philadelphia.
Kenny Rodenheiser, RN, BSN, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2003. He currently lives in New Jersey and is striving to become a CDE. He has been an active part of the diabetes community through CWD, ADA and JDRF for a decade. Kenny looks forward to helping others enjoy CWD conferences as much as he does.
Sunshine Abel, LVN, is the mother of Sierra and Sailor. She attended her first CWD conference with her family in 2002, after Sailor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 2. Sunshine immediately knew she had found a new family and a new home where kids were experiencing the same thing as Sailor. She then made it her mission to involve her whole family. Sunshine is continuing her education working towards her RN degree. She and husband Justin have volunteered for several years at Friends for Life and CWD conferences.
Chris Birri is a junior at the University of Cincinnati studying mechanical engineering. He balances his time between classes and engineering design internships. He enjoys working with children and volunteering with many organizations.
Grace Grande-Cassell is very excited to be staffing her third year of CWD conferences! She has grown up with a connection to type 1 diabetes because of her grandfather, who was diagnosed at age 14. After graduating from the University of Michigan in May 2012, she moved to New York City where she currently works in the fashion industry. She is overjoyed to be logging another conference with the CWD Youth Program!
Kathryn Hitchcock is a senior at the University of Cincinnati studying fashion design. She has grown up with diabetes being Marissa's sister. Kathryn has helped at many diabetes events and has considerable experience working with young kids.
Lauren Lanning, mom of Monica, 19, dx 8/96, pumping 5/99, CGM 9/05, and Sarah, 17 ... her CWD "sig line." Lauren became involved with CWD shortly after her daughter was diagnosed in 1996. She has been involved in the CWD diabetes conferences since the very first gathering in Orlando in 2000, where she volunteered to make name badges. Lauren now coordinates the Elementary Programming for every CWD conference. Back home in Denver, she has served on the boards of the JDRF and CWD Foundation. She and her husband Steve have chaired and coached her local JDRF Ride team for many years. Lauren has worked as an elementary school computer teacher and now works at The Children's Diabetes Foundation at Denver as the IT Manager.
Monica Lanning is 19 years old and has had type 1 diabetes since the age of two. She has been to every single CWD Friends for Life Orlando conference – all 13 of them – and many of the regional conferences. Monica was a Diabetes Mentor – and participates in many research studies. Monica refers to her CWD friends as "family" and can't wait for the next "family reunion." She studies biology at the University of Chicago. She is excited to give back to the CWD elementary kids what was given to her.
Michelle Rago is an attorney and mom of two children with diabetes. Her son Trent was diagnosed at age 4 in 2000. Her family adopted daughter Maya -- diagnosed at one month -- from foster care in 2006. Her daughter Michela is proud to be a caregiver. Michelle is active with the American Diabetes Association Legal Advocacy group. She was awarded the Ben Teel Memorial Prize for Public Service at Harvard (where she founded a homeless shelter); the Charles Evan Hughes Fellowship for Public Service at Columbia Law School (where she represented children in foster care and worked on desegregation); and the Jeff Hitchcock Distinguished Service Award (for her work with CWD families).
Carolyn Billetdeaux has been attending FFL conferences since the age of 13. After growing up through the Teen and College Age programs, she now works as a leader with the Tween and Sibling programs. She presents diabetes as a family disease and focuses on sharing the sibling side of the experience. Carolyn majored in management and organizational behavior at New York University, and currently works as a Sustainability Consultant in the metro-DC area.
Mary Babin Bulgarelli, RN, BSN, CDE, 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 six 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 blood glucose management. Mary has devoted her career to the world of medicine. As a graduate of Eastern University and Presbyterian School of Nursing, Mary has been in intensive care nursing for over 25 years and a Certified Diabetes Educator for 18. 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!
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.
Audrey Greenfield has been involved with CWD conferences since 2001. A strong advocate of empowerment through knowledge and support, Audrey has stressed the importance of Friends for Life conferences to CWD families and to her colleagues within the Diabetes Franchise of Johnson and Johnson. Early in her career, Audrey was a schoolteacher in Brooklyn, New York; she has always enjoyed working with children. Recently retired from her position as Worldwide Vice President of Advocacy and Professional Relations for the Diabetes Franchise of Johnson & Johnson, Audrey now focuses on her most important job -- Becky's mom! She is thrilled to be working with the childcare program at Friends for Life.
Devin Jackson is 22 years old and a nursing major at George Mason University. Devin was diagnosed with diabetes at 17 months old and has been actively raising awareness and fighting for a cure ever since. She has been attending CWD conferences since she was 10 and has enjoyed meeting and helping other kids with diabetes. Devin enjoys roller coasters, the beach, and hanging out with friends and family.
Washington, DC 2013: Focus on Technology Introduction - Registration - Program - Youth Program Faculty - Youth Faculty - CWD Staff
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