Warren and his wife, Kathy, built Warren & Son’s Carpet Cleaning & Supplies into a million-dollar business in Anchorage. After he was diagnosed with stage 4 leiomyosarcoma in 2002, they turned the business over to son Robert and wife Becky. Since 2005, Warren has played racquetball and softball to raise money and awareness for cancer patients, especially those with sarcoma. He has raised at least $7,000 for the Sarcoma Alliance alone. He has too many medals to list, but in 2012 alone, his team won the Western National Championship in softball, he was inducted into the Alaska Racquetball Hall of Fame, and he won gold and silver at the International Racquetball Championships in singles and mixed doubles. He has written about his sarcoma experiences in our Stories section.
Jeff grew up with the Leider family and has been a long-time friend of the Sarcoma Alliance. In 2001, he raised money for the Alliance by running in the Marathon des Sables, a 150-mile race across the Sahara in Morocco. In 2005, he was the moving force behind the successful Spirit of Survival walk/run in California. He is currently a product manager in the semiconductor industry.
Gina D’Amato, M.D.
Gina D’Amato is a board certified medical oncologist and former sarcoma specialist at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Emory University. She received a BS in biology and MD from the University of Miami and did her residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami. She completed her fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center. The role in her current job as the global medical director for TRM Oncology, a medical communications company allows her to attend the majority of international oncology conferences and keep her up to date on the latest research findings on sarcomas and other cancers. Gina lives in Atlanta, Georgia and her hobbies include running, biking, swimming, volunteering and playing poker.
Christine Darling joined the Sarcoma Alliance as a volunteer in 2012. As a member of the Board, she continues to passionately support those affected by sarcoma with a focus on community development, social media, and marketing. Christine lives in northern California with her husband and three dogs. She has been the President of Brush Dance (a publisher of high-quality paper items) since 2004. In her spare time, Christine enjoys traveling, collecting fountain pens, and baking bread. Christine is the daughter-in-law and sister-in-law of fellow board members Joan Darling and Alison Olig.
Joan Darling, Ph.D. Joan’s daughter was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a pediatric sarcoma, in 1996 at the age of 13. She successfully underwent a year of treatment that included twelve rounds of chemotherapy, 28 doses of radiation, and five operations at Omaha Children’s Hospital and at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Joan is a biologist and works as an environmental consultant in Nebraska. Since 2001 she has volunteered as a Patient Advocate with the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), the cooperative group that
designs and implements clinical trials for childhood cancers. She also volunteers in a variety of other patient advocacy roles, including: co-managing the ACOR Rhabdo-Kids mailing list; serving on the board of Lincoln Candlelighters and facilitating the adult support group; and contributing articles to ESUN (Electronic Sarcoma Update Newsletter). On the Sarcoma Alliance Board she represents pediatric sarcoma patients, who make up roughly 15% sarcoma patients diagnosed each year in this country.
Kellie found her way to the ACOR (Association of Cancer Online Resources) list while battling Leiomyosarcoma (LMS) in 2000. It was there she met Dave Murphy. In 2001, Kellie served on the Board of Directors for the LMS Foundation. In 2002, Dave introduced Kellie to Sharon Leider, the mother of the Sarcoma Alliance Founder, Suzanne Leider. Although Kellie never had the privilege of meeting Suzanne, she is honored to serve on the board and hopes to continue supporting and building on Suzanne’s legacy of offering support to the sarcoma community. Kellie received a B.A. in Psychology from DePaul University and has her own practice, specializing in long-term care planning.
Deb Gates is the “three-fer” on the Sarcoma Alliance Board. Counting both her late husband’s family and her own family, three different family members are fighting, or have succumbed to, the following sarcomas: leiomyosarcoma, angiosarcoma and a Desmoid Tumor. Deborah is pictured with her late husband, Stephen A Gates, MD. Deb received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary, her J.D. from the University of Virginia, and an LLM from the University of Washington. She has served on the Board of Directors of a variety of non-profit organizations, including serving as President of the Board of Directors of a hospice that was the second in the state to receive JCAHO accreditation. Deb enjoys running marathons and triathlons in her spare time. During these events, she wears sarcoma colors to remember and honor all who have had to fight this terrible disease.
Active in organizations such as the Lymphoma Foundation for years, Jim was excited and honored to join the Sarcoma Alliance Board of Directors in 2010. He serves on the Marketing and Fundraising Committees and hopes to build on the lasting legacy of the Alliance founder. After earning a B.A. in Film and Television from UCLA, Jim returned to receive his J.D./MBA from the UCLA School of Law and UCLA Anderson School of Management before relocating to New York. Jim is an entertainment and marketing attorney and partner in the New York law firm Davis & Gilbert LLP. He currently lives in suburban New York with his beautiful wife and three energetic children. When not trying to keep pace with his kids, he enjoys hiking and scuba diving.
Ade Lawal is the Chief Operating Officer of Atlantic Medical Imaging, an operator of medical imaging centers. In addition to the Sarcoma Alliance, Ade is on the development board of St. Raphael Elementary School in Los Angeles. He has previously served on the boards of other nonprofits such as DEAF-Reach and St-Aemilian Lakeside that help families and children cope better with life’s challenges. Ade has a BSc. from the University of Virginia and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He enjoys running, cooking and performing arts. Although he once performed in a Broadway style show, he generally sticks to his day job.
Dave Murphy is an active figure in the online sarcoma community, devoting his energy among various lists but especially to the sarcoma list for the Association of Cancer Online Resources (ACOR.org). His wife, Piera, died after a 15 month battle with Leiomyosarcoma, later diagnosed as malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma in 1999. Because of his strong personal belief in supporting this underserved community, he is well-known and loved by the many people who go to these lists seeking information and resources. Dave joined the Sarcoma Alliance Board of Directors in October of 2002. He has represented the Sarcoma Alliance at conferences like American Association of Cancer Research, Oncology Nursing Society, Society of Gynecologic Oncology and the Connective Tissue Oncology Society. Dave currently works as a Computer Lab Specialist at El Camino Community College in Torrance, California and is in charge of nearly 400 computers in 9 computer labs on campus. He is conversant in Italian, French, and Spanish.
Alison Olig is a survivor of alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a pediatric sarcoma. Diagnosed at the age of 13, she successfully underwent a year of treatment at Omaha Children’s Hospital and at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She has been cancer-free to date, and cherishes each day as a gift not to be taken for granted. Alison advocates on behalf of childhood sarcoma patients and raises awareness of the long-term side effects that often plague survivors. She earned a degree in Finance from Iowa State University and a J.D. from the University of Minnesota School of Law. She recently moved to the Bay Area from the Midwest, and loves exploring all of the amazing outdoor activities at her doorstep. She equally enjoys spending time at home with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. Her personal experience with sarcoma can be found in our Stories section.
Kevin Plottner is a graphic designer in the San Francisco Bay area. He graduated from Tulane University with an Architecture degree in 1984. In 1998 he created the original Sarcoma Alliance web site when his wife, Wendy, a sarcoma patient, and Suzanne Leider, first conceived the idea of a sarcoma support organization. He is the creator of our original logo seen on the “Our Founders” page and the artwork for Sage Cuisine. Today he helps maintain the Alliance web site and oversees the production of our newsletter and various printed materials for the organization.
Marites met Suzanne Leider, founder of the Sarcoma Alliance, early in their respective nursing careers at the University of California, San Francisco where they formed a lifetime friendship and commitment to helping the community of people affected by sarcoma. Marites earned her BS in Nursing from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1992. A dedicated Bruin, she obtained her Master’s degree in Nursing from UCLA in 2006. She is currently a Nurse Practitioner at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, a county facility which provides health care to the uninsured, indigent and medically underserved population of Los Angeles. As a founding board member, Marites remains dedicated to advancing the mission of the Alliance in honor of Suzanne and all those affected by sarcoma.