Kyle Cochran is 25 years old and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 5. He has been successfully managing his diabetes with an insulin pump since his junior year of high school. Kyle is passionate about encouraging and inspiring other diabetics to believe that anything is possible and to live life to the fullest. In 2012, Kyle competed on the show "American Ninja Warrior" produced by NBC and the G4 Channel (see short video with interviews here). The event has been held for 27 seasons (most of the seasons in Japan) and is known as "The World's Most Difficult Obstacle Course." Kyle was the first person with diabetes to compete in the event and he finished 5th place in the Northwest Region allowing him to advance to compete in the National Finals. Kyle graduated from San Diego State University in 2013 earning a B.S. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in physical therapy. His hobbies include weight lifting, paragliding, snow skiing, motocross, rock climbing, gymnastic tumbling, parkour and hip-hop dance.
Ryan DeGroff is 24 years old and has been living with type 1 diabetes for 16 years. During this time, Ryan has never allowed it to slow him down; growing up, he played every sport possible! Once Ryan entered high school, he began to focus on football and baseball, continuing to play through college years at Plymouth State University. He discovered that diabetes made him who he was every time he stepped on the field. Finding a way to balance diabetes with his strenuous lifestyle was not easy. After graduation Ryan has focused on a career involving diabetes and working with young athletes. This is Ryan's sixth Friends for Life conference as Sports Central staff.
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. He is a Hope on 2 Wheels & Adventures for the Cure team member, as well as being active with Insulindependence and JDRF. Professionally, Jimmy is a certified wildlife biologist and registered forester, and works as the Piedmont region biologist for NC State Parks & Recreation.
Liz Dodson loves running, sweating, and especially playing with everyone in Sports Central. Since becoming a part of the type 1 family five years ago through her husband Jimmy, she has been involved with her local chapter of JDRF, and has built an amazing diabetes family. She is excited about actively working with all of the families at this year’s Friends for Life!
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.
Betsy King, RN, BSN, MEd, has over 30 years nursing experience since graduating from Villanova University. For the past 17 years of her career, she has worked as a certified school nurse for the Penn-Delco School District. She has additionally specialized in the areas of critical care nursing, working in the ER and Coronary Care Unit. Betsy is the Red Cross certified CPR/AED/First Aid trainer for the school district training faculty and support staff. She is an advocate for students with diabetes, and facilitates children through the school years as normal children who "happen to have diabetes." Her interest in healthy lifestyle and nutrition has always been important to her. Betsy is married to an athlete with type 1, Bill King; they have 2 children Megan and Billy. They enjoy an active lifestyle of going to the gym and running together. Betsy attends many diabetes programs, camps, and conferences, focusing on diabetes technology, research, advanced pumping, and intensive management. You may remember Betsy from previous years attending Children with Diabetes Conferences, and she is thrilled to be back.
Bill King grew up in a family of distance runners and became an elite marathon runner in his early twenties. He was diagnosed with type 1 in 1984 while training for his 4th marathon, working two jobs, attending college and dating. Bill continued competitive running, however concentrated on shorter distances. In 1988, he was entered the largest diabetes study ever conducted on type 1 diabetes, the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), and the results helped changed the protocol of diabetes intensive care for all people. Bill, like over 90% of the participants, is still being followed in the Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (EDIC). Bill began wearing an insulin pump in 1996 and as a result of better glucose management was able to train for and complete his 1st marathon with diabetes just a few months later. He ran fast enough to qualify for the Boston marathon, which he ran wearing a blood glucose meter on his wrist. He has gone on to complete 18 marathons since he began wearing an insulin pump and has been a coach and advocate for exercise with diabetes ever since. "Everyone has an athlete inside; donâ€™t let diabetes stand in your way!" Bill currently consults with several diabetes technology companies and is working as Director, Patient and Community Relations for Achieving Better Control, Inc., a diabetes self-management education company. This is Bill's 13th year at the FFL conference.
Philadelphia native Jaime Molyneux is celebrating 7 years of living healthy with type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed at the age of 28, just two months after running the Boston Marathon. Post-diagnosis she has completed 5 more marathons and continues to live an active lifestyle. Jaime manages her diabetes using an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. She works at the University of Pennsylvania as the Director of International Risk Management. She is also a certified Zumba® instructor and has been teaching group fitness since 2009.
Ro Molyneux recently retired after a 33 year career working with the YMCA. She is passionate about healthy living, community outreach and volunteerism. Ro has stayed active her whole life as a marathon runner, triathlete and aerobics instructor. She enjoys lifting and cycling. Ro's commitment to fitness has greatly impacted her daughter's ability to manage type 1 diabetes with exercise. She looks forward to volunteering in Sports Central and can't wait to see all of the smiling faces again this year at the Friends for Life conference.
Harold Sanco, CPT, is a former National Aerobic Champion and two time bronze medalist at the National Step Challenge Competition. He has been voted Washington, DC’s “Best Instructor” by Washingtonian Magazine and the Washington Post. With more than 20 years of experience in youth physical education and coaching, he is an internationally acclaimed instructor and trainer who teaches across the United States, Canada and 15 countries for some of the top fitness conferences in the world. His popular “Urban Funk” class has been featured in People, Allure and W magazines. He is AFAA certified and a Master Trainer for Lebert Training Systems. Currently he serves as the Director of Group Fitness for the award-winning Results Gym in Washington, DC and the Director of Fitness for two National Youth groups “Children with Diabetes” and “Workout4Kids.”
Ben Tzeel, 22, is a senior at the University of Tampa studying chemistry. Having been diagnosed with diabetes in 1999, Ben states that athletics play a central role in his life, as he plays baseball, volleyball, and trains five days a week. Sports and diabetes are a challenging combination, and Ben loves to pass on his successful experiences managing both while learning more at CWD. This will be his third year as Sports Central staff and he is very excited to be back!
Friends for Life 2014 Conference and Expo Introduction - Registration - Exhibitors - Sponsors - Convention Center Map (PDF) Faculty - Youth Faculty - Grandparents Faculty - CWD Staff - Sports Central Staff - Retinal Screening Staff Schedule: Parents and Adults - Youth - Trials and Screenings Childcare Form (PDF) - FAQs Reports from 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001
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