Elementary Programming Faculty
Welcome to the Elementary program! Get excited to learn through games and activities! The elementary room is a place where kids get to be kids. Where we hope both green and orange wristbands will meet a new Friend For Life!
Sunshine Abel, LPN, is the mother of Sierra and Sailor. She attended her first Friends for Life® 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 toward her RN degree. Sunshine has been working as a nurse and leader in the Friends for Life® youth programming since 2006.
Jen Hanson, BKin, BEd, MEd, CDE, has grown up with type 1 diabetes. Diagnosed in 1987, she has never let diabetes stop her from pursuing her passion. Jen’s early beginnings as a campfire-loving, bug-catching, mud-puddle-jumping, tree-climbing tot sparked in her a love for the natural world that has been fostered and grown into a full-blown passion for everything outdoors. Jen has degrees in kinesiology and education and specializes in outdoor and experiential health education. Jen is the Executive Director of Connected in Motion, a Toronto-based charity providing outdoor adventure and sport opportunities for people living with type 1 diabetes.
Monica Lanning is 24 years old and has had diabetes for 22 years. She is a clinical research coordinator at Stanford University focusing on improving quality of life in people with type 1 diabetes and barriers to diabetes device use. She is also currently finishing a Master’s in Medical Sciences through Boston University. Monica loves to do crafts, bake, hike, and travel. She has been to every Friends for Life Orlando conference (all 19!) as well as many regionals. She calls her CWD friends "family" and is excited for this year’s "family reunion!"
Timothy Hitchcock recently graduated with degrees in Physics and Astrophysics at the University of Cincinnati. His older sister Marissa was diagnosed with type 1 in 1989. He began working with the elementary program in 2013 and loves everything about it.
Dylan Boone is from Lexington, Kentucky and is an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007, and attended the Friends for Life Orlando Conference in 2009 through 2013. Dylan continued to be active after he was diagnosed. He grew up playing sports and recently got his certification for recreational scuba diving. He made some life-long friendships at the FFL conferences he attended and is very excited to be a part of the FFL elementary staff.
Colton Brunsen is 23 and lives in Calhan, Colorado. He has participated in Friends for Life since 2014 with his girlfriend, who has type 1 and also volunteers in the Friends for Life Youth Program. Colton attends Pikes Peak Community College. He is working towards a degree in Mechanical Engineering and currently works as a mechanic. He is excited to be part of the staff this year!
Lilliana Calero has attended Friends for Life for the past seven years, supporting her sister, and she states that she has ‘loved each year even more than the last.’ Lilliana is a sophomore at Florida State University, majoring in Biology with the hope to one day be a veterinarian. She can't wait to make others fall in love with CWD like she did!
Sasha Chunchukov, 18, is from Nashville, Tennessee. She participated in Friends for Life in 2017 and decided right then that she wanted to help out with the youth program in 2018. Sasha will attend Ave Maria University in September to study literature and education. She loves children and has worked with children’s groups in her church community.
Adrianne Cornette is a fourth year student at the University of Cincinnati. She's been attending CWD since 2008 and can't wait to be on staff this year! She aspires to be a pediatric endocrinologist and loves to work with kids. Here's to another year of great memories!
Michelle Dao, BSN, RN, is 23 years old and has recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a BSN in Nursing. She attended her first Friends for Life Orlando in 2015 as staff and can’t wait to work with her Elementary family again!
Christy Fry is from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and Homeland Security though she's currently a Nutrition Care Coordinator for enteral therapy at Infusion Partners, a Bioscrip company. When she's not working, she likes to dirt bike and participate in other outdoor sports with her boyfriend, Trevor, who has had type 1 diabetes since he was 13. This will be Christy's first year helping with the Friends for Life conference and she could not be more excited.
Kara Hunsche has been living with type 1 diabetes since February 23, 2001. She attended her first Friends for Life Orlando conference in 2003 where she found true Friends For Life. Kara is proud to say she was the first child at Cincinnati Children's to go untethered. She is so excited to work with the FFL elementary kids.
Hannah Klippel was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of eight and attended her first Friends for Life Conference four months later. This will be her 10th year participating in Friends for Life Conferences! Hannah is an undergraduate student at the University of Florida majoring in Elementary Education and is excited to be a part of the Elementary Staff at Friends for Life! She is forever grateful for the resources CWD has provided her and her family. They have had a major impact on her daily life with type 1. Hannah considers her friends made through CWD her family, and she truly can't imagine her life without them. She hopes to give back to the Friends for Life family, as much as they have given her!
Katelyn Littlefield was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of nine in 2005, and has been attending the Friends for Life Orlando conference every year since 2006. She is currently attending University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and is studying Psychology and Counseling, while also working towards becoming a dog trainer. CWD has given her so much love and support, and has made such an impact on her. She is very excited to be a part of the elementary staff this year.
Rebekah Macon, RN, is mom to three rather wonderful people (in her admittedly biased view). She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Child Psychology, and recently completed an RN degree. She enjoys providing patient care in a local hospital. She was thrust into the world of T1D when her eldest son was diagnosed at age four, and has been volunteering/attending Friends for Life since 2008. Her family agrees that making invaluable connections at Friends for Life is a definite silver lining for grappling with this disease!
Sarah Martin is 20 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. Sarah is attending Niagara University to study nursing, specifically pediatric nursing. She is looking forward to applying what she learns as a volunteer this year to her future career. Sarah is thankful to FFL for the many friends she has made and for giving her the opportunity to learn and grow. She is excited to work with the elementary kids this year to pass along the knowledge she has gained and her commitment to perseverance.
Ethan Mattingly is 20 and from Louisville, Kentucky. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 10 months old. Ethan and his family attended the first conference in 2000 when he was two years old. He and his family have been to all the Friends for Life Orlando conferences and Ethan has attended many of the regionals. He started in childcare and moved though elementary, tween and teen programs. He will be a junior at the University of Kentucky next Fall. Ethan is very excited to volunteer on the elementary staff and be with his CWD family and friends.
Jeremy Meredith, 24, has had type 1 diabetes for 18 years; he was diagnosed in May of 2000 when he was six years old. Jeremy has been attending Friends for Life Orlando conferences since 2003; this will be his 14th. He received his Associates of Science in Criminal Justice Technology in 2016 and attends St. Petersburg College, working towards his BAS in Public Safety Administration. Jeremy is excited to be elementary staff and to be with his CWD family.
Kayla Pawlowski has three siblings - two with type 1 - and has been attending CWD conferences and Friends for Life Orlando since 2003. Kayla graduated in 2017 from Marquette University with a degree in Elementary Education and Communication Studies. She is currently a Middle School teacher in Milwaukee, WI. She is very excited to be a part of the CWD Youth Program Staff and to have the opportunity to work with the elementary-aged children at Friends for Life.
Hannah Peach is 18 and has been attending Friends for Life Orlando since 2005. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of four. She will be attending Ave Maria University in the fall and will be majoring in Nursing. She loves attending the conference and has made friends for life.
Ashley Pitt, 18, has been attending conferences since she was diagnosed in 2003. CWD has gifted her with a love for learning and volunteering, and it was here that she made her life-long friends. This fall, Ashley will begin the path to her BSN by studying biochemistry. She plans to continue doing what she loves: working with children! She cannot wait to create amazing memories this year!
Lauren Salko lives in Park City, Utah and is graduate of Saint Anselm College. Lauren is professional skier who competes around the world in SkiCross. When she is not skiing, Lauren loves mountain biking and doing triathlons. As a person with diabetes, Lauren is very passionate about working with children with diabetes and could not be more excited to be a part of the elementary staff this year!
Tina Sartori has been rocking the world living with type 1 diabetes for 25 years. 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, where she tries to get on every outdoor field trip as possible, and lives in the city with her husband Kary and nine-year-old son. Together they share a passion for fishing and baseball.
Daniel Spatz, 18, has been a part of the orange bracelet community for three years and has loved attending Friends for Life. He enjoys working with children, and spends much of his time in the water teaching swim lessons to kids. This fall, he intends to study computer science. Daniel is excited to continue to be a part of the CWD family!
Troy Todd is excited to be a part of the Friends for Life Orlando staff once again. Troy graduated from Penn State University in 2016 with a Bachelor's degree in nuclear engineering. He currently works as a test engineer for Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia, and works aboard Aircraft Carriers supporting the U.S. Navy.
Megan Wolosky is a junior at The University of North Florida, where she is majoring in Criminal Justice. She has had type 1 diabetes since she was four years old and has been attending Friends for Life in Orlando since she was nine. In her free time, Megan practices the Israeli Self Defense system called Krav Maga. Megan is very grateful for what FFL has offered her, with the many role models and friends she made throughout the years. She is looking forward to being on the Elementary team this year and hopes to share the knowledge she learned throughout the years to others.
Kiraina Young is 25 years old and has had type 1 diabetes for 13 years. She was diagnosed in April 2005, shortly after moving from the Bahamas. She has attended Friends for Life Orlando for the last five years and is looking forward to another wonderful year with the elementary staff. Kiraina enjoys reading, playing video games, and hanging out with friends and family!
Denotes faculty or staff with diabetes
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