Cure Childhood Cancer

Staff

Kristin Connor, Executive Director
(kristin@curechildhoodcancer.org)
Kristin Connor joined CURE Childhood Cancer in March 2006 as Executive Director after a personal experience with childhood cancer changed and redirected her life.  Kristin’s second son was diagnosed in Oct 2001 at a month old with an aggressive form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. The suffering of children and families at the hands of childhood cancer caused her to leave her law practice and take the reins at CURE Childhood Cancer. Kristin graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1991 with a B.A. in International Studies. She attended law school at University of Georgia and graduated with a J.D. in 1994. She practiced law at Arnall Golden Gregory until 2004 when she took a leave of absence to work as Senior Vice President of Community and Business Development at a national childhood cancer nonprofit. She joined CURE as Executive Director in 2006. Under Kristin’s leadership, CURE has experienced 400% growth in revenue, allowing the organization to grow its investment in childhood cancer research and patient and family services, refocused its mission, rebranded the organization, established a strong Scientific Advisory Board and strengthened board leadership. Kristin is a strong advocate for strategic collaborations and seeks out opportunities to work with other mission driven organizations to further the goal of eradicating childhood cancer in our lifetime and supporting the critical and urgent needs of patients and their families.


Lisa Branch, Director, Patient & Family Services (lisa@curechildhoodcancer.org)
Lisa Branch joined CURE Childhood Cancer in July 2009 as Assistant Director, Patient & Family Services and became the Director in in 2010.  Lisa has a degree in Early Childhood Education and has worked as a school teacher for the past 15 years.Lisa relocated with her family to the Atlanta area in 2008 and quickly became a key volunteer in the CURE office.  Her first introduction to CURE came in 2006 as she walked the childhood cancer journey with a close friend.  Through this journey, Lisa was often overwhelmed by the problems children diagnosed with cancer and their families faced and became an integral part of her friend’s support.  In her role at CURE, Lisa will have the opportunity to directly support other families as they face the difficult trials of childhood cancer.


Mandy Garola

Mandy Garola, Patient and Family Services / Community Engagement Manager, Savannah
Mandy joined CURE Childhood Cancer in 2014 as Patient and Family Services / Community Engagement Manager in Savannah. Mandy has a Bachelors in Early Childhood Education. She taught elementary school for 10 years. Mandy and her family first became involved with CURE when her middle daughter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2008 at age two. Over the course of the next few years of her daughter’s treatment, Mandy began to fully understand the need for funding for pediatric cancer research as well as family support programs. She has a heart for the patients and families treated in the Savannah area, and offers them support as a parent who has walked the cancer journey.

Rhetta Website 2 (1) Rhetta Ascari, Patient & Family Services Manager
(rhetta@curechildhoodcancer.org)
Rhetta Ascari joined CURE Childhood Cancer in January 2014. She has a degree in Early Childhood Education with 19 combined years of teaching and administration. She taught several students who were diagnosed with cancer, and had a colleague whose son lost his battle to cancer. After her involvement with these children and their families, she developed a passion to support them and began volunteering for CURE through Open Arms in 2008. Rhetta believes in the CURE mission and feels privileged to serve the patients and their families during their journey.
Karen Website Karen McCarthy, Patient & Family Services Manager
(karen@curechildhoodcancer.org)
Karen McCarthy joined CURE Childhood Cancer in January of 2014. Prior to joining CURE Karen worked as a Certified Child Life Specialist at the Aflac Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta from 2005 – 2013. Karen has a passion for helping provide programs to patients and families dealing with the hardships associated with pediatric cancer, and looks forward to broadening her scope as CURE’s Patient and Family Services Manager.
Sharon Bryan, Patient & Family Services Liaison (sharon@curechildhoodcancer.org)
Sharon Bryan joined CURE Childhood Cancer’s staff on a part time basis in July 2006 after years of volunteer service with CURE. Sharon has a degree in elementary education and has been a preschool teacher for more than 15 years. Sharon brings to CURE a special compassion borne out of her own experience as the mother of a child who was diagnosed with cancer at age 14. As she visits with families at the Aflac Cancer Center at both the Egleston and Scottish Rite campuses of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Sharon warmly offers a face of experience and, more importantly, hope as her son is a long time cancer survivor.

CURE - Laruen Lauren Sims, Director of Development (lauren@curechildhoodcancer.org)
Lauren Sims joined the CURE team in August of 2014 as the Director of Development. In her role, Lauren will work with staff, board members and key stakeholders to raise funds and awareness for the organization. Focused on the organization’s development, Lauren will manage the annual campaign, corporate solicitations, overall stewardship and cultivation. She has over six years of experience in development of the nation’s largest pediatric hospital, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Lauren partnered with Aflac, a top 200 Fortune company to raise funds. She traveled the country to successfully solicit donations for Children’s annual campaign, presenting to Aflac associates nationwide to further foster the $90 million relationship. Lauren also ran the system’s largest fundraiser know as the News/Talk WSB Care-a-Thon. After completing her work at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in the fall of 2013, Lauren joined Corporate Community Outsourcing where she served as a special event planner and expert project manager for a multitude of clients. Lauren feels like she is coming back home and couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the important work taking place at CURE. In her spare time, Lauren can be found cheering on her Georgia Bulldogs in the fall, enjoying time with friends and family or trying the newest restaurant Atlanta has to offer.
Paula T. Collins, Development Manager
(paula@curechildhoodcancer.org)
Joining the CURE team in March 2012, Paula Collins focuses on the overall management of the stewardship of donors and database, from support for the Annual Campaign to external events and anything in between.  Paula is a native of Atlanta and brings a deep understanding of the overall functions of development and the importance of building and enhancing relationships with donors, prospects, and other constituent groups. Prior to joining CURE, Paula worked most recently for several non-profit independent schools in development, marketing communications, admissions, and database administration. She is committed to excellence and integrity and will help CURE maximize fundraising opportunities.  She believes in the mission and vision for CURE and hopes that her work will somehow positively impact the children who are fighting for their lives every day.  In her spare time, Paula is usually cheering on her children at their sporting events. She also enjoys walking, gardening, and baking.

Shelley Howard, Office Administrator (shelley@curechildhoodcancer.org)
Shelley Howard joined the staff of CURE Childhood Cancer in 2002, after working with a children’s wish organization. Prior to that, Shelley worked as office manager for CogniTech, a software company. At CURE, Shelley acts as office manager and is an instrumental part of our team as she wears many hats, from handling bookkeeping to managing the Family Emergency Fund to coordinating special outings for our families when opportunities arise.


Tania Jackson, Development and Operations Assistant
(tania@curechildhoodcancer.org)
Prior to joining CURE Childhood Cancer, Tania started her career as ground staff for Air Rhodesia and South African Airlines.  She then worked with large corporations, first as the Human Resources Officer for two subsidiaries of Delta Corporation (SA Breweries), then as an Executive Assistant for Stockholder Systems, Inc. (now CheckFree Corporation), as well as Client Conference Coordinator for SunGard.  Tania has worked for numerous charitable organizations since 2001 and joined CURE Childhood Cancer originally as a volunteer in 2006.  She now works at CURE full-time helping with Development and Database Management. Tania was drawn to CURE because she believes that every child should have the opportunity to live life to the fullest.  She believes in CURE, its people and the battle to fight each and every day to conquer childhood cancer.Tania is called Nona to 7 grandchildren.

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    JOIN US! CURE'S KIDS CONQUER CANCER

    Would you like to share your child's story as part of our fundraising event, CURE's Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time? Click here to learn more or email Lisa Branch at lisa@curechildhoodcancer.org.

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    10th ANNUAL "A TRIBUTE TO OUR QUIET HEROES"

    Tickets are on sale now for the 10th Annual luncheon celebrating the mothers of children diagnosed with cancer. Join us Saturday, September 27th at the InterContinental Buckhead. Click here to purchase tickets or learn more.