Meet The Team

Sonia Chritton, President

Sonia’s sister has Type I diabetes, and her son was diagnosed when he was 1 1/2 years old. She has two other children participating in prevention trials. One of her sons has reversed his autoantibodies, and you can learn more at  Her son who has been living with Type 1 diabetes for 26 years built his own artificial pancreas system, and you can learn more at  She is encouraged that parents now have tools and knowledge which is openly shared, because #WeAreNotWaiting.  She has been actively donating, fundraising, studying, writing and reviewing Type I research projects for ten years and has several articles in peer reviewed journals. She previously served on the ADA and JDRF boards and helped to review research grants for the JDRF. She has a B.S. in Finance and a M.S. in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.

Heather Speer, Vice President of Research

Heather Speer, MPH., CDE became immersed in diabetes research, advocacy and education when her daughter was diagnosed at a very young age.  She is now a proud grandmother. She continues her work at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) as a Senior Research Coordinator, assisting with multiple research projects and educational outreach. In addition to her contributions with our foundation, she also has been an active volunteer for the PADRE foundation, ADA, JDRF and other diabetes related charities. She also has been active with the Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conferences for many years providing education to families who attend from throughout the world.

Douglas Cairns, Vice President International

Douglas lost a British Royal Air Force jet flying career to Type 1 Diabetes in 1989, and after gaining a USA private pilot licence in 2000, he founded Flying With Diabetes, a series of endurance-related aviation speed records to raise positive awareness of diabetes and raise funds for JDRF. Douglas is a co-ordinating founder of Pilots With Diabetes which advocates for commercial and private flying for pilots with insulin treated diabetes. Douglas lives in London, UK, and works in the asset management industry.

Lauren Lanning, Secretary

Lauren’s daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 2. She works in the non-profit industry. She has been working with coordinating elementary programming. Lauren and her family have volunteered for and supported many diabetes organizations.