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Board of Directors

We’re honored to work with dedicated leaders, all of whom have professional experience and a strong commitment to helping people affected by sarcoma.

Photo of Philip Leider
Board President

Philip Leider, JD

Philip is an appellate attorney and the brother of Suzanne Leider, founder of the Sarcoma Alliance.

Philip is an appellate attorney and the brother of Suzanne Leider, founder of the Sarcoma Alliance. After graduating with a B.A. in Literature from Yale University, Philip received his M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of California at Irvine. He went on to receive his J.D. from U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where, among other things, he served as President of the Healthcare Law Society and received the Grace C. Barbee Fellowship in Law & Medical Ethics.
Philip was an inaugural member of the Sarcoma Alliance Board of Directors, and after Suzanne passed away in 2002, Philip took over her duties as the President of the organization. Throughout his career, Philip has maintained an interest in the intersections of Law and Medicine, with a special emphasis on sarcoma and HIV/AIDS. He was also proud to work for many years on the litigation and appeals that ultimately resulted in legal recognition of the rights of same-sex couples to marry.
Joan Darling photo
Board VP & Treasurer

Joan Darling, PhD

Joan’s daughter was diagnosed with a pediatric sarcoma at the age of 13. On the Sarcoma Alliance Board she represents pediatric sarcoma patients.

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.

Since 2001 she has volunteered for a variety of children’s cancer groups, including the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), ACOR Rhabdo-Kids, and Lincoln Candlelighters.

On the Sarcoma Alliance Board she represents pediatric sarcoma patients, who make up roughly 15% of all sarcoma patients, helps manage the Sarcoma Alliance Facebook news feed, and has served as an Officer of the organization.

Suzanne Schwartz photo
Board Secretary

Suzanne Schwartz, JD

Suzanne is the aunt of a childhood sarcoma survivor. A lawyer by training, she retired from the Federal government after 30 years with the Environmental Protection Agency

Suzanne is the aunt of a childhood sarcoma survivor. A lawyer by training, she retired from the Federal government after 30 years with the Environmental Protection Agency, helping to protect our nation’s waters, including wetlands, coastal waters, and oceans.

While working, she volunteered as a literacy tutor and a mentor for junior staff. She also supported a colleague during his battle with carcinoma, attending doctors’ visits with him and researching the disease and its treatments. After retirement, Suzanne has been volunteering with the Sarcoma Alliance, as well as with another nonprofit organization, the Medical Musician Initiative, which is dedicated to providing healing music to critical care patients. She also volunteers at a local school where she assists a kindergarten class with reading, and is a member of a local charitable organization that supports local schools, students, food banks, and other causes.

In her spare time she enjoys going to concerts, spending time with family and friends, and hanging out with her German Shepherd dog, Leica.

Headshot of Brandi Benson
Board of Directors

Brandi Benson, MFA

Brandi is an author, athlete, entrepreneur, award-winning speaker, and Ewing sarcoma survivor. Her mission is to provide people facing sarcoma and other adversities with strategies to take charge of their healing and wellness.

Brandi is the founder and CEO of Resume-Advantage, an employment service for both civilians and transitioning military veterans. Brandi earned a B.A. in Mass Communications and Journalism from Ashford University, an M.F.A. in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Human Resource certification from Cornell University.

She is an award winning, American speaker and storyteller for TLC Lions, the author of ‘The Enemy Inside Me’, the brand ambassador for the Sarcoma Alliance, and an Iraqi War Veteran (OEF).

In 2009, after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Ewing Sarcoma, Brandi fought to overcome her diagnosis, heal after her treatments, and reclaimed her life through therapy, physical activities, and other healthy-living practices.

Through her speaking engagements and signature topic “Overcoming The Enemy Inside You” culled from the title of her acclaimed book, Brandi transforms the lives of her audience by encouraging them to pursue different avenues of physical and mental therapy to take charge of their healing and wellness, and highlights the importance of a strong support system, and resiliency.

Brandi has had the pleasure of speaking for Rolls-Royce, Guy Carpenter, Subsea 7, SNOW Companies, Bristol Myers Squibb, Kevin Hines, HOPE Nation, The Hines Foundation, LSP3, Salesforce and many more. Her mission is to provide an effective blueprint of strategies and resources that survivors, their loved ones and anyone struggling with “an enemy” in whatever form, take charge of their healing and wellness.
Visit: www.BrandiLBenson.com
Instagram: @BrandiL.Benson
Twitter: @BrandiLBenson

Board of Directors

William Tseng, MD

William is a sarcoma surgical oncologist and Associate Professor of Surgery at the City of Hope National Medical Center.

Dr. Tseng received his Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Biology and Medical Doctorate at Northwestern University. He then completed General Surgery residency at the University of California at San Francisco, followed by clinical fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. At MD Anderson, Dr. Tseng did additional sub-specialized clinical and research training in Sarcoma. He was then recruited to the University of Southern California where he spent almost a decade to help develop the Sarcoma Program there. Now at City of Hope, Dr. Tseng maintains an academic practice in soft tissue sarcoma. He sees adult patients and operates on sarcoma throughout the body including the extremities, trunk and retroperitoneum. He believes in personalized care for sarcoma patients, striving not only for cure but maximizing quality of life. He is recognized specifically for his expertise in liposarcoma and retroperitoneal sarcoma.

He is on currently staff at City of Hope (Duarte campus) and Huntington Memorial Hospital (Pasadena).

Board of Directors

Stephanie Leider, JD

Stephanie is a retired attorney and the sister of our founder, Suzanne Leider.

When her sister, Suzanne, established this wonderful organization back in 1999, Stephanie was a founding officer and also served as the editor and principal writer of the Sarcoma Alliance's newsletter. She was proud to rejoin the Board with her brother, Philip, in 2022, and to help administer Hand in Hand: the Suzanne Renée Leider Memorial Assistance Fund.

Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Smith College, where she met her dear friend, Alison Muse, a recent addition to our Board. After graduating, Stephanie served on Smith’s Board of Trustees and earned her law degree at the University of Chicago.

Stephanie recently retired from the University of California's Office of General Counsel, after serving the system as a labor and employment attorney for thirteen years. Her primary areas of practice at the University included advising on disability accommodations, family and medical leaves, and whistleblower matters. Previously, she served as in-house counsel for Loyola University of Chicago after many years as a litigator in private practice in Chicago and the Bay Area.

Board of Directors

Richard Zuromski, Jr., JD

Richard is an attorney who litigates business and real estate disputes. He has been a close friend and colleague of Philip Leider for many years.

Richard is an attorney who litigates business and real estate disputes. He has been a close friend and colleague of Philip Leider for many years. Richard and his wife Michelle live in Pacifica California with their children Luke, Ella and Nathan. In 2018, a family member was mis-diagnosed with a liposarcoma that turned out instead to be a lipoma. The Zuromskis are therefore very familiar with the challenges a sarcoma diagnosis entails and strongly support expert diagnostic care for people who may have a sarcoma.
Board of Directors

Alison Muse, MPH

Alison has worked in the public health field for both non-profit and government organizations, recently retiring after more than 30 years with the New York State Department of Health.

Alison has worked in the public health field for both non-profit and government organizations, recently retiring after more than 30 years with the New York State Department of Health. Her professional career has focused on the application of epidemiology and research to characterize risk factors and trends in infectious disease at the population level with the goal of developing effective interventions to promote community health, especially in under-served and marginalized populations. Alison's experience in the public health field and as a breast cancer patient are strong motivators in her desire to help others who are navigating a serious illness.
Board of Directors

Jeffrey Coyne, JD

Jeff is a corporate attorney and General Counsel of MediaAlpha, a publicly-traded technology company. He is a longtime friend of the Leider family and supporter of the Sarcoma Alliance.

Jeff is a corporate attorney and General Counsel of MediaAlpha, a publicly-traded technology company. He is a longtime friend of the Leider family and supporter of the Sarcoma Alliance. He has over 25 years of experience guiding technology companies and working with boards of directors and executive leadership teams on corporate governance and corporate development matters, risk management and strategic planning and analysis. Jeff received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Duke University and his law degree from the University of Southern California.
David Murphy photo
Board Emeritus

David Murphy

David's wife, Piera, died after a 15 month battle with sarcoma in 1999. He has a strong personal belief in supporting this underserved community with information and resources.

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 and in 2020 was given the title of Honorary Board Emeritus. 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 is a retired Computer Lab Specialist from El Camino Community College in Torrance, California where he was in charge of nearly 400 computers in 9 computer labs on campus. He is conversant in Italian, French, and Spanish.

Board Emerita

Suzie Siegel

Suzie, who was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in 2002, served on the Alliance board 2008-2013. Cancer cut short her 18-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor in Little Rock, New Orleans and Tampa. Now she treats sarcoma as if it were her beat.

Suzie, who was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma in 2002, served on the Alliance board 2008-2013. Cancer cut short her 18-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor in Little Rock, New Orleans and Tampa. Now she treats sarcoma as if it were her beat.

She wrote for the Alliance’s website, newsletters, blog, press releases and survivor profiles. She continues to write on her WordPress site, Twitter and Facebook. Suzie has represented the Alliance at meetings of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, Society of Gynecologic Oncology and Association of Oncology Social Work.

She became a peer volunteer for MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2004 and added Imerman Angels and Friend for Life along the way. She was a founding board member of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Patient and Family Advisory Program.

Suzie has a bachelor of journalism degree from the University of Missouri and a master’s in women’s studies from the University of South Florida. She received National Press Foundation fellowships to study Spanish and multiculturalism. Her poetry has been published online and in Rolling Stone and various literary journals.

Marites Tullius photo
Board Emerita

Marites Tullius, MSN, ACNP, ACHPN

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 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 and her Master’s degree in Nursing from UCLA in 2006. She is Board certified in Acute Care and Palliative Care and has over 25 years of nursing experience with hospitalized patients in various settings. 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.

Kevin Plottner photo
Board Emeritus

Kevin Plottner

Kevin's wife, Wendy, a sarcoma patient, along with Suzanne Leider, conceived the idea of a sarcoma support organization. As a graphic designer, he helps maintain the website and oversees the production of our newsletter and materials for the organization.

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.

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