About Ac2orn

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.

Ac2orn Executive Committee

Patrick Sullivan - Past Chair

Patrick Sullivan is a securities and corporate-commercial litigator and practices with Whitelaw Twining in Vancouver. Patrick is the founder and president of the Team Finn Foundation and past Chair of Childhood Cancer Canada. 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.

Antonia Palmer - Secretary

Antonia entered the world of cancer in 2009 when her two year old son was diagnosed with stage IV high-risk neuroblastoma. Antonia is the Executive Director of Kindred Foundation, co-founder of Advocacy for Canadian Childhood Oncology Research Network (Ac2orn), and founder of Neuroblastoma Canada. She is Chair of the CHEER Patient and Family Advisory Committee, Chair of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) Patient and Family Advisory Committee, Community Member (pediatrics) for the Ontario Cancer Research Ethics Board (OCREB), research advocate for the St. Baldrick’s-Stand Up to Cancer Phase 2 Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, BioCanRx board member, and volunteers for other cancer focused organizations and projects in Canada and internationally. Antonia holds a master’s degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo and lives in Ontario, Canada with her husband Aaron and three beautiful boys, Nate, Alex and Jonathan.

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.

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.

Committee Members

Chris Collins - Past Chair

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.

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.

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 is co-founder of Small But Mighty SK, a grassroots organization that strives to connect, celebrate and honour the Saskatchewan Pediatric Oncology Community. Small But Mighty SK’s annual fundraiser, Gold Walk, has raised over $150,000 for childhood cancer research in its first 5 years. Jenn was an integral part in having the

SK provincial government declare every September as Childhood Cancer awareness month in the province. Jenn has been a part of the Canadian team for the 46 Mommas Shave for the Brave event 3 times, including a role on the core leadership team. She lives in Saskatchewan with her husband Steve and their 2 daughters, Jessie and Tegan.

Diana Merino

Diana Merino Vega serves as Director Oncology Translational Medicine Strategy at AstraZeneca. With over 10 years of cancer research and patient advocacy experience, she is passionate about data-driven problem-solving and the development of innovative solutions through collaborative initiatives to overcome barriers that limit access to life-saving therapies. Diana received her PhD in cancer genetics from the University of Toronto and a MSc in human health and nutritional sciences from the University of Guelph in Ontario. She pursued her postdoctoral research work on the genetic determinants of risk to second cancers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Radiation Epidemiology Branch.

Nelson Picard

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.

Past Committee Members

Stuart Blake

Dana Wood