Dana L. Dornsife: Founder and CEO
Dana Dornsife founded Lazarex Cancer Foundation, a nationwide non-profit organization, in 2006 in response to a family experience with cancer. The unique mission of Lazarex is to improve the outcome of cancer care, giving hope, dignity and life to advanced stage cancer patients and the medically underserved by providing assistance with costs for FDA clinical trial participation, identification of clinical trial options, community outreach and engagement.
In 2016, Dana expanded the mission at Lazarex to bring sustainable and transformational change to the bench to bedside process of clinical trial enrollment, retention, minority participation and equitable access with IMPACT (IMproving Patient Access to Cancer Clinical Trials). Most recently, Lazarex created collaboration around a public health initiative in Philadelphia, PA – Community IMPACT. This bold initiative is aimed at creating a replicable model to improve cancer health outcomes and associated co-morbidities for the residents of medically underserved and socioeconomically challenged minority neighborhoods throughout major metropolitan cities and beyond.
Dana is a graduate of Drexel University in Philadelphia. She is a board member of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute at University of Southern California, serves on the UCSF Cancer Leadership Council, and the MGH Presidents Council. She is on the governing board of the Yosemite Conservancy, in addition to being a council member. Dana and her husband, Dave Dornsife, a USC Trustee, support a WASH initiative – Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, in 24 African countries through World Vision, an international humanitarian agency.
Vera Packard, MD: Chief Operations Officer
Dr. Vera Packard is originally from Brazil, where she earned her Medical Degree, and specialized in breast disease, particularly in breast cancer at Guys Hospital in London. In her home country, she worked in private practice in addition to the University Hospital for 20 years. Vera has a deep commitment to women’s health issues which inspired her to found a non-profit organization devoted to breast cancer awareness in 1997 in Brazil.
Dr. Packard has over 20 years’ experience in nonprofit leadership. She is the former Executive Director for the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation where she led a talented, dedicated staff on a mission to improve the lives of breast cancer survivors in the Bay Area. She joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation in October of 2017 and is committed to its mission and success.
Vera believes in communities coming together helping each other. She has served as president of her former Rotary club in Brazil and was a leader in the medical community in Natal, Brazil. She is currently a board member of Wardrobe for Opportunity and The Latino Cancer Institute. Vera has been awarded one of the 100 Women of Influence by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Outstanding Business Woman by American Business Women’s Association, Bay Area Council and the Ruby Award by the Soroptimist 24-680 Club from Walnut Creek.
Vera is married to Mark, and has a beautiful family. Their daughter Mac, and son Tiago, with his new wife Georgea are all proud to call Northern California home.
Karen Ambrogi: Communications Manager
Karen Ambrogi joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation in February 2009. Karen manages Lazarex’s internet presence and online community development through websites, blogs, newsletters and social media. She has a strong base in relationship building and service – from working with the mentally handicapped to a very long career incorporating technical sales, account management, technical writing and leadership skills training.
A pre midlife career change led her to establish a company that offered education and travel programs designed to encourage more conscious, authentic and creative living by exploring the mind/body/spirit connection. After losing two brothers in law to pancreatic cancer, Karen is grateful to have the opportunity to give her focus and her heart in the service of building a bridge to hope for cancer patients and their families.
Pam Clemmons: Donor Relations Manager
Pam is a fundraising specialist who brings a track record of results, an extensive network and more than 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, planning, execution of large scale, multifaceted events and fundraising auctions on behalf of corporations, political campaigns, nonprofits, associations and schools. She has corporate experience in 5-star hotels focused on solicitation and confirmation of conventions from national associations & corporations, coordinating Presidential visits with the White House Travel Department and Secret Service advance staff. She has worked with the Austin Convention Visitors Bureau and is credited with securing the first-ever city-wide convention. Prior engagements include the opening of Ronald Reagan Library & designing corporate events for the LA Olympics.
Since 2005, she has worked within the Tri-Valley organizing and leading a broad range of fundraising, partnership and sponsorship activities. In addition to working on several statewide political campaigns in fundraising capacity, she volunteered for several years as auction chair for a local school, planning & implementing multiple fundraisers, and served as a member Education Fund Board, Corporate Matching Donations & Choir Fundraising Chair.
In 2015, Pam was the Bay Area Chapter Director for Yoga Reaches Out where she planned and led a large yoga benefit with proceeds going to Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Since then, she has consulted with LCF on several occasions and, as an “almost” empty nester, she is excited to have joined the development team, bringing with her a passion to serve and connect others.
Christopher Douglas: Development Assistant
Christopher Douglas is a husband, father, attorney, entrepreneur and endurance athlete. Having spent a good portion of his adult life working in international health and human rights and as a civil rights attorney, Chris launched Presidio Sports Management, a boutique sports law firm, in 2016. Of his many passions, helping others is the most important to him.
In 2013, he co-founded Team Cancer Sucks with friends AJ Jabonero, Mark San Buenaventura, Louis Sarmiento and Darren Wollrich. With the mission to raise funds to help cancer patients access and pay for treatments, they used their endurance sports platform to help others. The team made an instant splash at events due to the very “loud” race kits that they wore, which drew instant attention with its hot pink and lightning bolts design. From that point on, the Team Cancer Sucks following grew.
To date, Team Cancer Sucks has raised over $200,000 for cancer awareness and treatment.
Kathleen Ingram: Patient Services Coordinator
Kathleen Ingram joins Lazarex Cancer Foundation as the Patient Services Coordinator. As a former teacher and community service volunteer, Kathleen brings her organizational skills to Lazarex, assisting patients with financial assistance for clinical trial related out of pocket expenses. Cancer first entered Kathleen’s life two years ago when her best friend of thirty years lost her long fight with breast cancer. Guiding cancer patients through a time of need is her way of fighting back.
Kathleen is the proud mother of two college age daughters and lives in Danville, CA with her husband, 2 dogs and a cat. She is caring and community oriented. Staying fit and hiking with her husband and friends are activities that she enjoys.
Tami Keeler: Events and Volunteer Manager
A San Ramon, CA resident, Tami Keeler joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation in 2007 as Office and Patient Services Manager. In 2019 she transitioned to Events and Volunteer Manager. With over 15 years of customer service experience and 12 years with Lazarex under her belt, Tami is well prepared for organizing and facilitating Lazarex events, fundraisers and community outreach.
Titles and work functions aside, Tami is a woman of persistence, humor and compassion. She is also an artist, photographer and mom. Her best work of art is her son. Tami is thankful to be able use her talents to help Lazarex fulfill its mission of providing hope and assistance to people with cancer who have been told they have run out of options.
Erin Miller: Development Manager
Erin Miller is a graduate of Florida State University School of Business with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing and a minor is sales. After graduating, she worked as a Marketing Representative for IBM selling mid-range computer hardware and software. In 1993, she married Michael Miller. The following year they had the first of three children.
In May 2003, Mike was diagnosed with stage IV, non-resectable pancreatic cancer. It was the difficult and painful journey to save Mike’s life that led them to a search for a clinical trial while undergoing traditional cancer therapy. Mike’s participation in the clinical trial resulted in 19 months of life instead of the prognosis of five months.
Since then Erin served as the Director of Marketing for a car dealership, and was Owner/Operator of a small retail business until 2016 when she and her family relocated to California. Her involvement with Lazarex Cancer Foundation as a board member, advisor and volunteer has been a blessing to her and her family as a way to help people whose lives have been ravaged by cancer.
In 2017 Erin officially joined the Lazarex team. As the Development Manager and IMPACT Program Liaison she will use her experiences and passion to improve patient access to cancer clinical trials and is honored to be part of a movement that will sustainably transform the clinical trial recruitment process.
Macy Miller: Database Coordinator
Macy Marshburn joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation’s team in March of 2018. She brings a bright attitude and willingness to lend a hand wherever needed. With an extensive background in Customer Service and Retail Management, Macy loves finding ways to problem solve while keeping a smile on her face.
Macy’s mission is to search for the most comprehensive solution to any obstacle while ensuring that both patients and colleagues alike have an experience that Lazarex cares deeply for all involved in our mission of improving the outcome of cancer care.
Ryan Noonan: Patient Intake Assistant
Ryan Noonan is the first line of contact for inquiries about Lazarex program services. He is responsible for new patient intake, data entry and expense submissions for reimbursements. Ryan graduated from Auburn University in Auburn, AL in 2007 with a degree in Communications and also obtained a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. He has a passion for mentoring youth and he is determined to bring that very same passion to Lazarex to help those who are in need.
Ryan feels a special connection to Lazarex that dates back to before its founding. Ryan lost his uncle to pancreatic cancer back in 2003, which now is one of the many reasons he wants to help others and do what he can to contribute to the Lazarex cause.
Alicia Pearson: Clinical Trial Navigator
Alicia Pearson is a mom, Marine wife, medical copywriter, and clinical researcher. After interning aboard Camp Lejeune with the Intrepid Spirit Concussion Recovery Center she graduated cum laude from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Alicia’s next move was to head the Clinical Research Department for a group of cancer centers in Kentucky where she initiated a patient engagement program that brought an influx of new trials and funding to the rural community. She then went on to be one of the youngest Regional Office Managers for Texas Oncology and the Community Engagement Manager for a national biotech startup.
Alicia is ecstatic to bring her dynamic background, passion for patient education and empowerment, and clinical research expertise to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation family as a Clinical Trial Navigator.
Marya L. Shegog, PhD, MPH, CHES: Health Equity and Diversity Coordinator
Dr. Marya Shegog is dedicated to addressing health disparities in order to achieve health equity for everyone. She is a community activist that believes that through collective action, partnership and education across all sectors health disparities will be eliminated.
Marya earned a Master’s and Doctorate in Public Health focusing on Health Promotion, Education and, Behavior from the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina, as well as, a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies. She attained her bachelor’s degree in biology with a molecular emphasis from Hampton University and completed a post – doctoral fellowship with the Center of Health Disparities Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
The narrative of cancer has often been told through the lens of a single population. Lazarex Cancer Foundation is dedicated to diversifying the story of cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. After serving on the Lazarex Board of directors for over 6 years, Dr. Shegog is excited to bring her skills and knowledge to LCF, as the Health Equity and Diversity Coordinator to continue to aggressively integrate and diversify the story of Cancer. Ultimately achieving health equity. “No one wants to have cancer but everyone that does deserves every chance of successful treatment and the longest and best quality of life possible.”
Ronna Spaan: Bookkeeping Patient Assistant
Ronna was first introduced to Lazarex Cancer Foundation when she attended the foundation’s 2012 gala onboard the USS Hornet in Alameda. She and her husband were guests of a friend who is a longtime supporter of Lazarex. In 2014 she attended the “Give Cancer the Boot” fundraiser and knew then that she wanted to be a part of this organization. She loves the mission and offered to volunteer, helping out in the office wherever a hand was needed.
A year later Ronna was hired to do bookkeeping and patient assistance. It is a challenging and fulfilling role that Ronna claims is “the best job ever!”
Babette Stewart: Financial Manager
Babette is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Behavior and Leadership. As an Organizational Development professional with a vast professional history which includes work as an operations manager, business owner and educator; Babette is driven by a desire to optimize organizational objectives and build strong relationships as a building block for growth. She considers herself a perpetual student and loves to learn new ways to contribute both personally and professionally. Babette is a 25 – year Danville resident and has been an active community member and volunteer which includes her service as the Secretary for the board of the National Coalition Against RX Abuse. Babette’s most treasured role is as the mother of her one and only daughter and of her furry baby a mini Australian Shepherd.
Lazarex Cancer Foundation came into Babette’s life when she attended a Gala in 2012 during her father-in-law’s battle with oral cancer. In 2018, Babette was diagnosed with breast cancer and was reintroduced (which she believes was no coincidence), to Lazarex through a mutual friend of the organization. Babette joined Lazarex Cancer Foundation as the Financial Manager in 2019 and considers this opportunity a blessing that has a role in helping others with a struggle that she understands from a personal perspective.
Kim Wright: Patient Services Aide
Kim Wright joined the Lazarex team as an active volunteer in 2011, and was the Volunteer Coordinator from 2017- January 2020. Her current volunteer role has her assisting the Lazarex CARE team to help facilitate new patient agreements. Kim moved to Danville, CA from Southern CA and has been a resident here for over 30 years. She is the proud mom of two grown children.
Kim knows from her experiences how valuable volunteers are as a resource to the foundation. She is thankful to be on the Lazarex team, helping to fulfill the mission to improve the outcome of cancer care for all cancer patients by improving their access to cancer clinical trials.