Cure Childhood Cancer


Kristin Connor, Executive Director
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 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 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 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.
Web shot Lisa Odendahl, Patient & Family Services Liaison
Lisa Odendahl joined CURE Childhood Cancer’s staff in March 2015 as the Patient and Family Services Liaison after 11 years of volunteer service with CURE. She graduated from Georgia Tech in 1992 with a B.S. in Management. Lisa worked as a Senior Consultant for Deloitte & Touche in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York City. She then shifted her focus to the nonprofit sector and worked for Coxe Curry and Associates as the coordinator of The Woodruff Arts Center’s Annual Corporate Campaign.After Lisa’s firstborn son was diagnosed at 18 months old with a Wilms Tumor, she became very involved with the childhood cancer community. She worked for the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation and shared her son Mitchell’s cancer journey at many fundraising events over the years. Mitchell is now a strong, healthy 14-year cancer survivor. Lisa is passionate about providing comfort and hope to patient families at the Aflac Cancer Center at both the Egleston and Scottish Rite campuses of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 10.55.54 AM Kerry Kavlie, Patient & Family Services Community Engagement Assistant, Savannah
Kerry Kavile joined the CURE team in July of 2016. She received her Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Northwestern-St. Paul. After teaching for three years, she took an almost 10-year hiatus from the workforce to raise her two children. Kerry was first introduced to CURE in the late summer of 2012, when her daughter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at her 24-month-old well check. Shortly thereafter, the family became strong advocates for the world of pediatric oncology and sought to spread awareness around their community. Kerry dedicated much of her free time volunteering for various organizations and gaining experience that would help her in her role at CURE.

CURE - Laruen Lauren Sims, Director of Development
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 manages 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 known as the News/Talk WSB Care-a-Thon. Lauren enjoys being 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
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.

Screen Shot 2015-01-22 at 3.17.26 PM Kate Myers, Special Events Manager
Kate Myers joined the CURE team in January 2015 as the Special Events Manager. In her role, Kate works on the key fundraising events for CURE, such as the Believe Ball, “A Tribute to Our Quiet Heroes” and Lauren’s Run and the CURE Childhood Cancer Annual Picnic. She also oversees all third party events which benefit CURE. She has more than five years’ experience in planning fundraising events for one of the nation’s largest pediatric hospitals, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Kate created several signature events for Children’s and managed their third party events for many years. Before Children’s, Kate worked at Contemporary Events Group, planning extravagant and luxurious parties for Michael Jordan, Nike, Sony, Microsoft, etc. She comes to CURE with a wealth of event knowledge, and is passionate about helping find a cure for childhood cancer. Kate has a degree in Public Relations with a Business Minor from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and is originally from Chattanooga, TN. 
Shelley Howard, Office Administrator
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
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.
 IMG_1110  Munaa Shariff, Database Administrator
Munaa Shariff joined the staff of CURE Childhood Cancer in May 2016. Prior to Joining CURE, Munaa worked as a Development Support Manager for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Georgia for 11 years. During her time at St. Vincent de Paul Georgia she started as a Car Donation Manager where she implemented and managed the Client Car Donation Program. She then moved on to manage the Donor Database and support for the Development Team for St. Vincent de Paul. As the Database Administrator at CURE, Munaa is primarily responsible for the day to day gift and data entry in the Raiser’s Edge donor database, maintaining integrity and accuracy of the database, and will be the resident database expert. Munaa has a degree in Business Administration and is originally from Tanzania. In her spare time, Munaa enjoys her time with family and friends.


  • Screen+Shot+2014-09-19+at+11.44.31+PM


    Attend the “Home by Dark” outdoor singer-songwriter concert on August 5th or August 6th, with proceeds benefiting CURE. The concert takes place at beautiful Chukkar Farms in Alpharetta, GA. This experience is not to be missed! Click here to learn more and purchase tickets.

  • images-2


    Mark your calendars for the annual Golf Classic for CURE, held September 30, 2016 at the beautiful Oaks Course in Covington, GA. For more information about sponsorships or to register to play, contact Joe Coleman at