Ac2orn Members

Ac2orn Past Members

Nelson Picard

To be added

Jenn Lyster

Jenn was thrown in to the world of childhood cancer in 2011 when her 2 year old daughter, Tegan, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Jenn is a passionate advocate and fundraiser for childhood cancer research.  She has been a part of the Canadian team for the 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave event for 3 years, including a role on the core leadership team.  She has co-organized the Small But Mighty - Gold Walk Saskatoon, an awareness walk and fundraising event, for 2 years now.  Jenn works as a Physical Therapist Assistant in a long term care facility.  She lives in Saskatchewan with her husband Steve and their 2 daughters, Jessie and Tegan.

Neal Rourke

In 2011, Neal was thrust into the world of childhood cancer when he was told that his 17 year old son Brendan had Ewing Sarcoma which had metastasized to both lungs.  Two intense years of research into solid tumours and understanding the global childhood, adolescent and young adult landscape prior to Brendan’s death identified disparities and opportunities suiting the facilitative/collaborative working style Neal now incorporates daily to honor Brendan’s life.   As a rising tide elevates all ships in a harbour, Neal works tirelessly through Ac2orn and as Director of Awareness with the 150 member US based Coalition Against Childhood Cancer to connect global grass roots organizations, create turnkey awareness opportunities for non profit CAYA cancer groups minimizing duplication of efforts through development and sharing of best practices and network development.   Particular areas of interest include: effective and accurate knowledge transfer, improved and earlier access to palliative care and clinical trials, strengthening communication channels between advocates and government potential opportunities and breaking down silos holding barriers to treatment such as age and cancer type.   Neal continues to meet the best people he wishes he had never had to meet through participation in numerous volunteer opportunities including Health Canada Infographics Working Group, Focus Group on Palliative and End of Life Care, hosting annual awareness and fundraising events at the Toronto Stock Exchange, Queens Park, Washington and Owen Sound, tracking of US Congressional supporter of the STAR and other legislative Acts  and coordinating the golden illumination of hundreds of buildings and landmarks around the world each September 1st hoping that someday other parents won’t have to relive his past.

Diana M. Merino

Diana is a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Her research focuses on investigating risk for subsequent cancers in childhood cancer survivors and individuals with inherited cancer predisposition syndromes. Her passion for this work arises from her own experience with recurrent Hodgkin's Lymphoma and a subsequent sarcoma.  Diana is an active advocate for paediatric cancer research and cancer survivorship education. She is involved in several Canadian and international organizations, such as the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), Childhood Cancer Canada, and the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO), to promote awareness of some of the issues cancer survivors face as well as the importance of pediatric cancer and survivorship research.

Christine McIver

As founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Kids Cancer Care, Christine McIver is responsible for the leadership and management of the foundation. Beginning this work in the basement of her home in 1988, Christine has devoted her volunteer and working life to children's cancer programs, garnering national attention for her service to children and families battling childhood cancer. Recognized by the Governments of Canada and Alberta with a Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal and an Alberta Centennial Medal, Christine is also a recipient of a prestigious Canadian Hadassah-WIZO Woman of Achievement Award. She was one of 10 Canadians chosen in 2002 to be on the Maclean’s Honour Roll and she has received a YWCA/Global TV Woman of Vision Award, a Reader's Digest Canadian Hero of the Year Award and a Today’s Parent For Kids Sake Award. And, in 2010, she was awarded the Spirit of COCA Award from the Children’s Oncology Camp Association International.  Christine is the past-president of Candlelighters Canada and served for 12 years as the secretary-general of the International Confederation of Childhood Cancer Parent Organizations. She continues to serve in an advisory capacity on several committees devoted to children's issues. 

Stuart Blake

Stuart Blake is a lawyer and partner of Fillmore Riley LLP who practices in the areas of litigation and insurance law. He is recognized by Benchmark Litigation, Lexpert and Best Lawyers as one of the leading lawyers in insurance and product liability law in Manitoba. Stuart has a long history of community involvement having worked at the Board level for the Winnipeg Humane Society, Canadian Blood Services, and currently as a Board member of the CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. Stuart is acutely aware of childhood cancer issues as his daughter, Alex is a 2 time cancer survivor. Alex is over 5 years cancer-free and studies at the Asper School of Business.

Thomas Geniole

The Miracle Marnie Foundation is headed up by Dad (Thomas Geniole) and an incredible Board who works closely with Oncology professionals at CHEO and Sick Kids to help fulfill the mission of the Foundation.  Through the power of faith and love, Miracle Marnie’s Mission is to work within the community of childhood cancer in order that we may come along side families, charities, hospitals/programs and organizations so that we may enhance the lives of those children who are currently in treatment, support the families of those who have or continue to walk in treatment, bring awareness to the growing public health crisis of childhood cancer and to advocate change by lobbying Government at all levels. Marnie was diagnosed with a rare ETMR Tumour at the age of two in July 2016. After more than a year and half of treatment which saw her through clinical trial chemotherapy, radiation, three brain surgeries and three stem cell transplants at Sick Kids, Marnie is now cancer free. Thomas is excited to be an active member of Ac2orn and while living in the Nations capital, hopes to promote change at all levels of Government. 

Dana Wood

Dana has always been passionate about helping people and the environment. After her daughter Darah passed away from Ewing sarcoma cancer at the age of fourteen, Dana became immediately inspired to advocate for increased awareness of childhood cancer, research genetic and environmental causation factors, and look for less harmful and more effective treatments. Dana is the Director of Western Development for the Ewings Cancer Foundation of Canada and spends many hours advocating for patients and their families suffering from Ewing sarcoma while keeping on top of and sharing information on the latest clinical trials and immunotherapy developments worldwide. Dana holds a diploma in Biochemical Engineering Technology and is a Registered Herbalist and Owner of Spirit of the Boreal Botanicals, a small herbal consulting company.  In 2013, after Darah passed, Dana began researching science-based evidence supporting the use of traditional herbal medicine as a complementary and all-encompassing integrative approach to preventing and healing from disease, including cancer. Dana is now a  guest speaker at various venues including the Children’s Wish Foundation fundraising events and at the University of Winnipeg Radio talk show and Winnipeg Healing Festival, on topics of holistic and herbal medicine.  Dana is the author of the book “Mama, I’m Not Gone”, a story about how she coped with her own grief with the goal of helping others in similar situations. She also works at Manitoba Hydro, a Crown Corporation utility as an Engineering Technologist in the field of renewable energy research and planning. Dana lives with her husband Brad on a small ranch in Manitoba and has four adult children, Haley, Marlee, Samantha and Charlie. Despite her busy lifestyle, she still manages to escape with her husband  to her place of healing and rejuvenation at their off-grid cottage in the pristine boreal forest.

Chris Collins

Liberal MLA Christopher (Chris) Michael Collins was elected on March 5, 2007, in a byelection held to fill a vacancy in the constituency of Moncton East.  On January 12, 2010, he was sworn in as Minister of Local Government.

He was re-elected to the 57th Legislature in the provincial election held September 27, 2010. He is currently opposition critic for matters related to the Departments of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Justice and the Office of the Attorney General. For more than two decades, he was employed in a variety of roles from sales representative to key account representative for several international companies. He is devoted to a number of causes, including: school breakfast programs, funding for families that must leave the province for medically referred heath care and improving pediatric oncology care in the province. He is also concerned with the correlation between children's cancer and the use of pesticides.  In his free time, Mr. Collins enjoys skiing, sailing, curling, and golf. He and his wife, Lisette Richard, live in Moncton. Mr. Collins’s son, Sean, passed away in July 2007 from a cancer-related illness.

Val Figliuzzi

Val is the Executive Director of the Kids with Cancer Society of Northern Alberta.  As a parent of a survivor of childhood cancer, Val has first hand knowledge of the needs of children with cancer and their families. Through her role with the Kids with Cancer Society she meets families at the time of diagnosis ensuring that they have access to programs throughout their treatment, survivorship and beyond. One of Val’s greatest strengths lies within the area of advocacy. Her vast knowledge of childhood cancer issues, and the unique challenges has resulted in support provided both on local, national, and international levels.

Jenny Doull

Jenny is a parent and passionate childhood cancer advocate, the latter role beginning in 2010 when her 9 week old daughter, Phoebe, was diagnosed with infant leukemia. Since this diagnosis, Jenny has worked to raise awareness of childhood cancers and advocate for change. She has co-organized national childhood cancer awareness events on Parliament Hill which have included lighting the Peace Tower gold to highlight the needs of children with cancer. She is co-founder of the Phoebe Rose Rocks Foundation - an organization founded in memory of her daughter Phoebe to raise funds for childhood cancer research. She is a parent representative for C17's Research Network. Jenny enjoys writing and has contributed writing to local and national newspapers, the Cancer Knowledge Network, and in a blog titled, Phoebe Rose Rocks. Jenny is a teacher and lives in Ottawa. She has three beautiful daughters, Mae, Phoebe, and Penny.

Antonia Palmer

Antonia entered the world of cancer in 2009 when her two year old son was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma.  Antonia is the founder of Neuroblastoma Canada, the Education Officer of the Parent Advisory Council for the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT) consortium, a member of the Cancer in Young People Canada (CYP-C) steering committee, the pediatric community member for the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board (OCREB),  and volunteers for many other cancer focused organizations.  Antonia holds a masters degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo. Antonia lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband Aaron and three beautiful boys, Nate, Alex and Jonathan.

Patrick Sullivan

Patrick Sullivan is a securities and corporate-commercial litigator and practices with and is a founding partner of Taylor Veinotte Sullivan. Patrick is the founder and president of the Team Finn Foundation.  Patrick is the proud father of three remarkable children, Baird, Sarah and Finn. Patrick desperately misses Finn’s hand and would do almost anything for the simple pleasure of holding it again.

Ac2orn Executive Committee

Ac2orn is made up of parents who live across Canada, who have children with different types of cancer, and who have an immense desire to help the pediatric oncology research community break down barriers and build bridges when conducting research in hopes of finding a cure for this disease.  Ac2orn was founded in 2014.

About Ac2orn