Back to Friends for Life Anaheim 2018 FFL Anaheim 2018 Youth Staff

Teen Staff


Mike Avery has lived an exciting a Hollywood life since his diagnosis with diabetes in 1993. At the age of three, dressed as a trouble-making troll, Mike became the youngest stunt performer in the industry. By age 12, he was a precision driver able to intentionally spin and crash his car. Since then, Mike has made a career of crashing cars, falling off of buildings, and getting set on fire. He has jumped from bridges, helicopters, and airplanes pretending to be some of Hollywood’s biggest names. He has over 100 film, television, and commercial credits and is known for his work on Titanic (1997), The Prestige (2006), Ocean’s 13 (2007), The O.C., Hannah Montana, Grimm, and Horrible Bosses (2011) among others. A lifelong athlete, Mike more recently became interested in sprint distance triathlons. In 2015, he completed his first full Ironman as part of Riding on Insulin’s Endurance Team, which included 40 other athletes with diabetes. His advocacy efforts leading up to the Ironman helped Mike realize his true passion – educating and encouraging fellow people with diabetes. Mike finds that staying active, using an insulin pump, and a strong support system have helped him lead a healthy and exciting life. His athletic commitments in 2016 include three full Ironman races, several half-marathons, and sprint races around his hometown of Los Angeles.


Kevin Covais is an actor, singer, and diabetes advocate. He is most recognized as a Top 12 Finalist on the fifth season of "American Idol", which aired in 2006. On the show, Kevin was mentored by several award-winning recording artists including Stevie Wonder and Barry Manilow, and he placed 11th overall. Since his "Idol" days, Kevin has transitioned into acting. His credits include a lead role in the 2008 MGM comedy, "College", a supporting role in the family film, "Touchback", starring Kurt Russell, as well as a role in 2014's summer blockbuster, "Transformers: Age of Extinction". Kevin has also made several television appearances including a guest star credit on the FOX show, "Raising Hope". Disney Channel fans know Kevin best as Victor Deleseur on the hit show, "Good Luck Charlie". Kevin was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 11 and has worked with the Diabetes Research Institute for many years. He is thrilled to be a part of Children with Diabetes again after making his first CWD appearance in 2006.


Sarah Loebner, age 25, was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 9 1/2 in 2002. She attended her first CWD Friends For Life® conference exactly a month later, and has returned every year since. With a B.A. in Human Biology from Scripps College, she is currently working at Stanford on pediatric diabetes research. Eventually, she would like to become a physician's assistant and a CDE. She spends her free time singing, gazing lovingly at her dogs Sheba and Mina, and giving free, unlimited hugs. Sarah is so glad to be a member of the CWD staff that gave her so much support, love, and confidence as a younger CWD participant, and she is so excited to make more Friends For Life® at this year's conference!


Marissa Town, BSN, RN, CDE, graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and later earned her Certified Diabetes Educator credential. She has had type 1 diabetes since the age of two and has grown up with a passion for helping families living with diabetes. Marissa is currently working as a research nurse at Stanford University. She has always enjoyed working with families with diabetes at Children with Diabetes conferences, camps, and support groups. She and her husband Adam have two young children, Connor and Everly.

Tween Staff


Grace Grande-Cassell is very excited to be staffing her seventh 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. Grace currently lives in New York City where she works in the fashion industry. She is so happy to be helping at another conference.


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 and currently works with different age groups with diabetes. Martyn would like to become a Diabetes Specialist Nurse (DSN). Martyn met his wife Chelsea at the Friends for Life® conference in Orlando. Martyn has participated in the Friends for Life conferences and the UK Friends for Life® conferences for many years. Martyn has worked with the Elementary, Tween and Teen age groups, and he loves helping out and being with his friends at CWD conferences.


Melissa Geren was diagnosed with diabetes when she was four. She went to her first Friends for Life® Orlando Conference in 2003 and has been attending Friends for Life® conferences ever since. Melissa has three siblings, Sarah, Kayla, and Matthew. Matthew also has type 1 diabetes. Currently, she works on the Marketing Team for Fannie May Confections in Chicago. Melissa looks forward to working with Tweens at Friends for Life Conferences each year.


Rachale Park is a part-time student at University of Central Florida and full time employee for Hilton Hotels. 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.


Jim Stone attended his first Friends for Life® Conference in 2004. His son, Andrew, was diagnosed with type 1 in 1998 at 20 months of age. Jim, his wife Julia, and Andrew have been active in diabetes advocacy since his diagnosis, with a focus on diabetes accommodations at school. Jim, a retired Army officer, lives in Modesto, California and works as a Public Works manager. He has been a Boy Scout leader for many years, and enjoys working with the Tweens.

Elementary Staff


Justin Abel attended his first Friends For Life conference in 2002, six months after his daughter Sailor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was two years old. Once Justin, his wife and two daughters started attending more FFL conferences, he knew he wanted to get more involved by volunteering and giving back. Justin has been volunteering at FFL conferences every year since 2005, in many different age groups.


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.


Kacie Doyle-Delgado, MSN, APRN, NP-C, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11 and attended her first Friends for Life® conference in 2002. Since then, she has attended several FFL and regional conferences. She earned her BSN and her MSN as a Family Nurse Practitioner at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, UT. She works for Intermountain Healthcare in a diabetes and endocrine specialty clinic. Kacie lives in Salt Lake with her husband, Justin Delgado, and their dogs Kallie and Lulu. She is excited to volunteer for the first time at the Anaheim conference.


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!"


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.

Siblings Staff


Sarah Lanning is a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering student at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She attended her first Friends for Life conference at the age of four and has been to almost every FFL since. Sarah loves traveling, playing guitar, cake decorating, crafting and biking. Sarah is ecstatic to give back to the CWD community and continue growing our family.

Child Care Staff


Chris Delaney, BSN, RN, attended her first Friends for Life Conference after her daughter Molly was diagnosed with diabetes in March 2005 at the age of six. She has been a pediatric emergency department nurse for 14+ years and loves working with kids. She is also mom to Andrew, Elizabeth and Benjamin who have grown up with CWD. Chris is excited to begin working with the retinal screening team this year!


Parker Grand is excited to be on the Friends for Life staff this year as CWD has given him so much support and friendship over the years. Parker has attended every Friends for Life conference since his diagnosis at the age of three in 2002. Parker lives in California where he attends college full-time. He is employed by the California State Parks where he coordinates youth programs, leads guided tours and develops new programs to teach children an appreciation for the history and ecology of the parks. Parker loves working with children of all ages. In his free time, you can find him biking, golfing, and volunteering.


Shelley Grand, mom to Parker, diagnosed in 2002, resides in Southern California. Shelley and her family have been attending Friends for Life Orlando conferences since 2003, and they attribute Parker’s success in managing his type 1 to the knowledge, support and friendship that they have received over the years from attending the FFL conferences. Shelley has been a preschool teacher/director for the past 30 years. She states, “We look forward to attending FFL every year and enjoy being able to give back to a community that has given so much to our family.”


Sarah Johnston has three siblings, two with type 1, and has been coming to CWD and Friends for Life Conferences since 2003. Sarah graduated in 2015 from Marquette University with a degree in Elementary Education and Psychology and is currently a Middle School teacher in Milwaukee, WI. Sarah is so excited to work with the Friends for Life tween kids and be a part of the Youth Program Staff this year.


Molly Joynes, 19, was diagnosed with diabetes when she was six. She attended her first Friends for Life conference four months later and has been attending FFL and CWD regional conferences ever since. Molly is the second oldest of four siblings and is a sophomore majoring in music production with a minor in biology at California Lutheran University. Molly is excited to be working with kids at the conference who share the same challenges she's faced for the past 13 years. She can't wait to spend time with FFLs both old and new.


Pam Loebner is a California public elementary school teacher who has worked in both special education and regular education classrooms for 35 years. Since becoming a CWD mom, Pam has assisted the district nurse with education for families and teachers when newly diagnosed or newly enrolled students arrive. While always working as an advocate for student needs, Pam focuses on ensuring equal access to all school activities for children with diabetes. Pam discovered the CWD website 30 minutes after her daughter's diagnosis in June 2002 when Sarah was 9 1/2. Pam and her family haven't missed a CWD conference since.


Adam Town, BSN, RN, is a Registered Nurse who graduated with a Bachelors of Science in nursing from the University of Cincinnati. Adam is a husband to Marissa, who has had type 1 diabetes since she was two, and father to Connor and Everly. He has always enjoyed being a mentor and role model for children and loves to help families, caregivers and significant others of people with diabetes at Friends for Life® conferences.

  Denotes faculty or staff with diabetes

  Friends for Life® Anaheim 2018 Conference  
  Introduction - Registration - Sponsors - Exhibitor Application  
  Faculty & Staff - Youth Faculty - Program - Youth Program - Schedule as PDF  
  FFL Anaheim Reports from 2017 - 2016  

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Last Updated: Monday December 10, 2018 23:24:39
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