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NF Summit 2023 Keynote Speakers

By June 7, 2023December 4th, 2023NF Summit

We are thrilled to announce the Keynote Speakers for the upcoming 2023 NF Summit will be Derrick Helton and Conrad Cordova, two adults living with NF. A diagnosis of NF is not all they have in common; Derrick and Conrad are also Arizona residents, great friends, and steadfast in their determination not to allow NF to derail their lives. In fact, each has used his NF diagnosis as a catalyst to accomplish great things. Derrick, the athlete, and Conrad, the healthcare provider, met when Derrick was new to Tucson. Derrick had reached out about a local fundraiser that Conrad was hosting, and the rest is history. Their inspiring friendship spans an entire decade.

Derrick Austin Helton is a former USA Wheelchair Rugby player and Paralympic medalist. Diagnosed with NF2-related schwannomatosis, or NF2, at age 18, Derrick suddenly experienced a series of medical complications that left him paralyzed. In the face of these life-changing circumstances, Derrick poured his passion and determination into sports. His hard work resulted in a 10-year international athletic career in which he earned numerous awards, including gold (2008) and bronze (2012) Paralympic medals. In 2022, he was inducted into the USA Wheelchair Rugby Hall of Fame. Having retired from sports due to total hearing loss and chronic pain caused by his NF, Derrick enjoys being a stay-at-home dad to his three children and a loving husband to his wife, Krista. He is undeterred by his NF’s progression, and excited to figure out his next move.

Conrad Cordova is a board certified family nurse practitioner and a Tucson, Arizona native. Although he was born with neurofibromatosis type 1 or NF1, he wasn’t officially diagnosed until after his firstborn daughter was suspected of having the genetic condition. Conrad has dedicated his 30-year career to healthcare, beginning with nursing school and going on to complete a Master’s Degree in Nursing. He also served for 23 years in the Air National Guard which included a tour in Iraq. After marrying the love of his life, Margarita, the couple has had three children, two of which have mild cases of NF1. He enjoys photography and cooking.

Conrad's passion for supporting others led him to become a long-time volunteer at the Children’s Tumor Foundation shortly after his diagnosis. He has had the privilege of educating more than 500 clinicians about NF through a talk titled, “Neurofibromatosis: What it is. What it is NOT. What to do about it,” at nurse practitioner conferences. He is currently serving as a volunteer Co-Chair in addition to being a Keynote speaker at this year’s NF Summit. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Derrick and Conrad speak at the NF Summit in Scottsdale, AZ, June 21-24, 2023. These two inspiring heroes will share the highs and lows of their respective NF journeys, talk about the importance of their friendship, and encourage others to persevere through the challenges that NF throws their way and rise above them.

Click here to register for the NF Summit.