Our Board of Directors

Kelly Brussell


Co-founder of Emma's Journey as well as mom to Emma, Type 1 Diabetic and the inspiration for this amazing journey.

While continuing a career in the healthcare field, Kelly is the mother to Emma and Lily, two very active and determined young ladies.  Being a T1 mom is not without its daily struggles.  Emma was diagnosed at the very young age of 3, and over the years has experienced more than any child should.  Daily finger pricks, insulin injection which have been replaced by her insulin pump, site changes for both her pump and glucose monitor, the list goes on.  Trying to control blood sugar and ultimately achieve a good A1C is very difficult with a child, they are growing and their bodies are changing almost on a daily basis.  The addition of any tool or support system that can help manage Emma's Type 1 diabetes and help keep her safe is something any T1 parent would welcome.


When Emma expressed a desire to continue her Journey and help other Type 1's to get a Diabetic Alert Dog, Kelly knew what the future had in store.  Kelly now oversees all events and activities related to Emma's Journey.

Aaron M. Smith, D.O.

Dr. Smith was born and raised in Farmingdale, NY. After graduating from Farmingdale High School, he completed his Bachelor’s Degree at Boston University, and earned a doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine at the New York Institute of Technology. After residency in neurosurgery at Grant Medical Center, Columbus, OH – the largest level 1 trauma center in the state of Ohio – he started a private practice in central Florida. Currently, Dr. Smith lives with his family in Jupiter, FL, and provides specialty services in brain and spinal trauma at both Lawnwood Medical Center, Fort Pierce, FL, and Spine and Orthopedic Specialists of Central Florida.


In addition to Dr. Smith’s professional accomplishments, he has an active lifestyle, keeping up with his 9-year-old son, and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  He has been able to live such a full life as a type 1 diabetic, diagnosed in 2000; despite the need for constant treatment and monitoring of blood glucose, he is living his dreams. Involvement in Emma’s Journey reflects his commitment to help young children with type 1 diabetes – most of whom have struggles more difficult than his – to give them a better quality of life and the opportunity to pursue their dreams, wherever their desires lead.

Lori Sofia

Lori owns and operates a full service salon, Impressions, located in Farmingdale and servicing the community since 1989.

Over the years Lori has come to know Kelly and her girls.  She was there to support Emma in her efforts to get her own Diabetic Alert Dog.  When Lori learned that Emma wanted to continue this Journey and help others she was very interested in being a part of the Journey. 


Lori finds Emma to be a talented inspiration to other children and adults alike.