Camp Coaches

Are you a T1D’er with collegiate or professional experience in your sport?  Contact us about becoming a coach at our camp!

Kristina Rosa

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Born in Tampa, Kristina started cheerleading and dancing at the age of three. Seven years later, she joined a competitive All Star cheerleading team. She competed nationally with both the Tampa Bay All Stars and the Brandon All Stars. In high school, she managed to juggle cheerleading at Brandon High School along with her competitive All Star team. She attended USF and cheered for four years on the All Girl team while earning her degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences with focuses in Criminology and Sociology. It wasn’t until 2009 that Kristina got diagnosed with T1D at the age of 24. Since the very beginning, she vowed to not only take her diagnosis seriously, but to spread awareness as well. She has advocated for people living with T1D in Washington, DC and also in local Congressional offices. Kristina married a fellow USF grad in 2010 and had a healthy baby boy in August, 2011.

Genevieve King

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Born in Tampa Florida, Genevieve developed T1D in 1979 at the age of 16. She played junior State and National tennis tournaments from 1973-81 and played for the University of Texas as an academic and athletic all-american from 1981 – 1985. Professionally she competed in the the U.S. Open from 1978 – 1981 and again in 1985. She played on the Jr. Wightman Cup Team and won the Buick Mixed Doubles Championships in 1989. She ranked top 150 in the world on WTA women’s tour ranking list. She has been teaching as a USPTA Professional 1 for more than 25 years. Her family is a founding family of the USF Diabetes Center and she works closely with the JDRF.

Madison Smith

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Madison Smith is a former University of Florida Dazzler, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 16. Since her diagnosis, she has worked hard to continue dancing and cheering while tightly managing her T1D. During her time as a Dazzler, she danced for the University of Florida at various athletic events including basketball, football, volleyball and soccer games. Madison graduated with Honors from the University of Florida’s Nursing program and is now a Registered Nurse. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Nursing Science at UF. She is motivated by the importance of research in order to improve the quality of life in those living with diabetes and ultimately discover a cure.

Stacey Simmons

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Stacey Simmons is one of Pinellas County’s most respected coaches. Born and raised in Clearwater, Florida, Stacey began his legacy as one of the state’s premier student-athletes. Stacey completed his high school career at Dunedin High School as an All-County baseball player and All-American in football and track and field. Because of his talent and relentless work ethic, Stacey earned a full football and track scholarship to The University of Florida.

As a Gator, Stacey was a 7 time All S.E.C. performer and 3 time NCAA All-American breaking 3 UF Track and Field records. Because of his success at the collegiate level, Stacey had the opportunity to compete internationally and was a member of the USA track team.

In 1990, Simmons graduated with a B.S. in exercise and sports sciences and was selected the 83rd player in the NFL draft by the Indianapolis Colts. After two seasons with the Colts, Simmons spent 8 more seasons in professional football, winning 2 world championships with the Tampa Bay Storm.

Simmons continues to utilize his experiences as an athlete, motivator and coach to sharpen athlete’s abilities. He has helped many athletes reach the pinnacle of their sport. Former trainees include football, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball and track and field. Simmons has also helped numerous athletes improve mechanics, technique and agility to improve performance that has led to college scholarships and professional contracts for many athletes.

Sean Wilkins

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A native of Tampa, Sean developed TID in November of 1988 when he was he was 7 years old. As a goalkeeper at Riverside Senior High School and later at Brandon High, he posted a .86 goals against average over his three year starting career. He was also named to the Hillsborough’s All County team. In college he was the starting goalie for the University of Florida Club Soccer team that went to the National Collegiate Club Championships in 2004 and he was a 5-time participant in the prestigious Kelme Super Clubs tournament. Since 2002 Sean has been an activity leader with the Florida Diabetes Camp and will be celebrating 14 years as a camp staff member.

Lew Finnegan

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Lew was born and raised in Lexington, Massachusetts. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 1996 and always was a very active child and even after his T1D diagnoses. He was back playing sports within a few days of his diagnosis! He graduated from Bentley University as a collegiate basketball player and played professional basketball in Germany.

Chad Bobik

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Diagnosed with T1D at age 9, Chad immediately participated in cutting edge treatment study at the Diabetes Research Institute in Miami. A former collegiate basketball player at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. He currently works with Asante, maker of the Asante Insulin Pump. His wife also has T1D and they have a son and daughter that keep them busy!

David Ochotorena

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David grew up in Tampa, Florida and attended Jesuit High School where he played football and baseball. As a sophomore he helped the Tigers to their most recent baseball state championship in 2000 and as a senior led the Tiger football team to it’s first ever 12 win season. David went on to Princeton University where he played football and earned his degree in Economics in 2006. As a senior he helped lead the Tigers to the program’s best record in 10 seasons. David was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes suddenly in 2009 at the age of 26. Since then, he has successfully managed his diabetes, allowing him to compete in a number of races and competitions, including the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC and the Tough Mudder in Tampa.

Jenny Welch

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Jenny Welch is a former catcher with Florida International University in Miami. She was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 6 years old at Duke University Medical Center. Diabetes has definitely added its ups and downs to her athletic career, but it has never stopped her from doing what she loves. Jenny says, “It is a challenge to live and play a sport with diabetes, but it is something that if you monitor it correctly and take all the necessary steps you can perform at the same levels as other athletes that do not have diabetes. People in life are always faced with obstacles, and I made sure to not make Diabetes one of mine.”

Renato Proia

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Renato was a redshirted, walk-on kicker for USF’s football team and was also a goalkeeper on the USF men’s soccer team. He averaged 46 yards per punt as a senior at Mariner High, including one 73-yard punt and also posted 28 touchbacks as a kickoff man. As a soccer goalie, he tallied 16 shutouts in goal at Mariner High and was a Bright Futures scholar.

Shelby Payne

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I was diagnosed with T1D when I was 11 years old on Christmas Day with a blood glucose of 1300! I was back on the soccer field a week later and continued to pursue my dream of playing soccer at the highest level. I competed for the U.S. on Youth National Teams and earned a scholarship to play at Stanford University where I helped my team to win a NCAA Division I National Championship and three Pac-12 Championships. I decided at a young age to never let diabetes stop me from achieving my goals. I am currently in medical school at Vanderbilt University where I am working towards my goal of becoming a doctor.

Andrea Barman

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Born in Middleton, Wisconsin, Andrea was diagnosed with TID at the age of four, just days before starting kindergarten. She instantly scrambled to meet with people at the school and teach them everything she could about diabetes. She grew up playing a variety of sports: volleyball, basketball, softball and track and field, but decided to turn her focus to volleyball once she started high school. She switched to an insulin pump at the age of 10 which helped her be able to better manage her diabetes while playing all of her sports. She began to play club volleyball in Wisconsin for Capital Volleyball Academy which assisted her in earning a full volleyball scholarship to attend Presbyterian College in South Carolina, a small Division 1 liberal arts college. She was a four year starter at PC, playing middle blocker. She earned post-season accolades of Big South All-Conference Freshman Team, 3-time Big South All-Conference Academic Team, and Big South All-Conference Second Team her senior year. She holds a handful of career records at PC for blocking, kills per set, and attack percentage. She is supported by her parents and four siblings and will graduate in May 2014 when she plans to continue on in her volleyball endeavors by playing volleyball overseas in Europe and eventually attend grad school for a Masters in Accounting.

Brendan Cunningham

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Brendan Cunningham was a four year offensive lineman on the Hamilton College football team. He was diagnosed with T1D in 2009 at age 16. “When I got diagnosed, I made it a goal of mine to continue to play the sport I love to show younger kids with diabetes that anything is possible if you take care of yourself, so it’s awesome to have the opportunity to further that goal by helping out at Sam’s camp.” Brendan currently lives on Long Island and serves as Chief of Staff for a member of the New York State Assembly.

Maria Hjorth

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5’9”…Credits her parents, Liselotte Neumann and Seve Ballesteros as the individuals most influencing her career…Has two sisters…Hobbies include curling (playing in the highest division in Sweden), cooking, aerobics and reading books…Married Shaun McBride on Dec. 31, 2007…Gave birth to daughter, Emily, in 2009…Qualified for the Tour on her first attempt.

Brandon Denson

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Brandon A. Denson was a star linebacker for Michigan State University. He walked on to the team as a freshman, and during his sophomore year earned a full scholarship for his remaining collegiate years. After graduating, Brandon played for four years in the NFL, CFL, and AFL. In the spring of 2016, he competed on NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. 

Brandon was diagnosed with T1D in 2004 during his senior year of high school. Living with T1D as a professional athlete has motivated him to show others how to overcome the challenges associated with the disease. He continues to raise awareness and inspire the T1D community as he speaks all over North America about T1D, his experiences as a collegiate and professional athlete and how to tackle T1D in his everyday life. 

Brandon has volunteered for JDRF for the last 12 years prior to taking a full time position as the Outreach Manager of the JDRF New England Chapter in January of 2018. Brandon’s dedication and involvement with JDRF have been very beneficial to helping kids, teens, and adults living and dealing with T1D.

Willi Martin

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Willi Martin is a current professional baseball player for the Southern Illinois Miners, an independent league team based in Marion, Illinois. Willi was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 15. He is a native of Tampa, Florida and a graduate of Jesuit High School. Following high school, Willi accepted a baseball scholarship to Liberty University as a pitcher. He transferred his senior year to Southeastern University to focus on hitting. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and was an NAIA All-American. Following his senior season, Willi signed his first professional baseball contract with the Schaumburg Boomers where he led the Boomers batting .322 for the 2015 season. Willi started the 2016 season with the River City Rascals where he hit led the team batting .295 before being traded to the Southern Illinois Miners at the trade deadline. With the Miners, Willi helped lead the team to a league-best regular season record of 63-33 and a Frontier League Western Division Championship. Willi looks to continue his success on the baseball field in the 2017 season while spreading awareness for Type 1 Diabetes and being an example for Type 1 Diabetic athletes.

Joe Jiannetti

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JJ is a legend on the street of NE St. Petersburg where he grew up dominating all the kids in his neighborhood in wiffle ball. Some stories say that some of the balls that JJ hit still haven’t landed while others have landed as far away New York where JJ played for the Mets. JJ has been a TD1 since he was 15 years old but that never held him back from anything. After being drafted by the Mets out of high school he played 11 seasons of professional baseball. After retiring from baseball JJ hit the books and attended Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine to become a Doctor of Pharmacy, which he will complete in June 2019.