The National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation is comprised of volunteer Board members committed to the Foundation’s vision.
The Board members serving the Foundation are here for YOU – for patients, families, and caregivers. They are passionate about answering your questions and being available to respond to requested assistance. They represent and work for you.
Each Board member has been touched by LMS in some way, whether as a survivor/thriver, or as a family member of someone who has been diagnosed with LMS.
President, Medical Research Liaison
My husband, Mitch, and I joined the NLMSF together after his 2011 diagnosis and treatment at MD Anderson. I rapidly became committed to the research of LMS, as well as networking with as many sarcoma resource / support organizations as I could. I reached out to the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation, the Leiomyosarcoma Direct Research Foundation, the Sarcoma Alliance, and the Sarcoma Foundation of America. I am currently affiliated as a board member with Sarcoma Alliance, a state representative for Sarcoma Foundation of America, a state ambassador for the National Organization of Rare Diseases (NORD), and an advisory board member of the International Cancer Advocacy Network (ICAN), along with Mitch.
I am a graduate of Colorado Women’s College with a B. A. in psychology and human resource management, followed by an M. A. in Human Resource Management. I was the Personnel Officer for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for 12 years, with oversight of a six-state area involving civil engineering personnel on Federal highway projects. My work included taskforce leadership of FHWA human resource projects at the headquarters level in Washington, D. C. Additionally, I held extensive leadership positions in nonprofit organizations for several years after my 20-year Federal career ended with the birth of our adopted daughter.
I am committed to the work of all of my sarcoma/cancer/rare disease nonprofit organization affiliations and feel that a coalition of such nonprofit organizations can only serve to amplify the voice of the LMS patients / strengthen patient support within the medical community, and increase the LMS landscape for medical researchers to advance treatment options to increase length of survival and ultimately find a cure. I am committed to the NLMSF and hope to continue to contribute to its mission focus for the sake of LMS patients throughout the United States and beyond. I am honored to be a board member of the NLMSF.
Previously Vice President since 2013 , Currently Board Member Emeritus
As the NLMSF continues to grow and expand, I believe that my background and life experiences could be of value to the advocacy and support objectives of the organization. I grew up in Corning, New York, attended Swarthmore College, but after two years decided to join the Army. Upon receiving an honorable discharge, I attended Clarkson University in upstate New York, and graduated with a degree in Industrial Distribution and Engineering Management. An MBA (Industrial Marketing) from the University of Detroit completed my final education.
I worked for the Detroit Diesel Engineering Division of General Motors for 10 years as a Sales Engineer and Zone Sales Manager; then 30 years with the Clarke Detroit Diesel as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, helping grow the company from less than 100 employees to over 600 today.
One of our daughters is a survivor of peritoneal Leiomyosarcoma (LMS), contracted in 2010. Since that time, my wife, Madge, and I are dedicated to the NLMSF and its mission, vision, and goals for helping to create awareness of the disease and to raise money for its research to promote more effective treatment and ultimately a cure. I feel that my background, financial analysis, and the fiduciary responsibilities offers experience from which the organization can draw from.
Treasurer, Fundraising Campaign Support
I, too, am a Leiomyosarcoma survivor, since June, 2014. Like most of the board members, I had never heard of the disease before. After being ill and not receiving a definitive diagnosis for several months, a lucky break led my doctors to the cancer growing in my lung. In August 2013, I had 40% of my left lung removed. I became ill again, and was diagnosed with uterine cancer. After a complete hysterectomy, a study resulted in the discovery/diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma (LMS). Chemotherapy followed and in early 2015, it was determined that the thyroid cancer surgery I had had years earlier did not destroy my thyroid completely. Radiation treatment followed. Four cancers in two years. So, I am taking a break.
I was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, graduated from Indiana University (at IPFW) and, although I twice left briefly, I always came back. I have a lovely life with my wonderful wife Nita, and we, with the help of my daughter Jennifer and her husband Steve, have two outstanding grandsons. They are the joys of our lives. They are two and four. I have been ill most of their lives – two of the best and worst years of my life.
I have been very involved in my community in activist and political work, and have worked on many boards, including President of the Board of Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau and some state boards. I have also held many jobs, paid and volunteer positions, such as treasurer, bookkeeper, and business owner. I am currently the Director of Operations for Willowgreen, Inc., which is a perfect fit for me. The company publishes books and other materials for caregivers, those who are grieving, and those in transition. I also receive great support from my coworkers. I am able to do accounting from home when I am not feeling well, and my hours are extremely flexible to allow for doctor’s appointments, and messages on occasion.
Subsequent to my LMS diagnosis, I went online to learn more about the disease. I soon found the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation (NLMSF) website and started following the Foundation’s patient advocacy and support work regularly. I found it very helpful to relate to others with LMS, and also have a best friend with the diagnosis of LMS.
I learned that the NLMSF Board was searching for a new treasurer, and it seemed a perfect fit for me. I needed to give up most of my volunteer work for a couple of years, but I am ready to return to work and what better cause could I find than working toward a cure for LMS through the NLMSF’s mission, vision, and goals. As Treasurer, I plan to bring helpful ideas, enthusiasm, and much experience to this challenge of finding some serious results for this rare form of sarcoma. I look forward to working with the NLMSF Board members, good people who are equally committed the mission of patient support/advocacy, and supporting the medical research oncologists toward finding the cure for LMS.
Secretary, Community Outreach
I am a Psychotherapist in private practice with a degree in Social Work. I was diagnosed with Uterine Leiomyosarcoma (ULMS) in 2010. Since then, I have had several recurrences and have been through chemotherapy, radiation, and a major surgery as well as several more minor procedures.
I first came across the NLMSF in 2012, and attended HugFest in Ann Arbor, Michigan in April of 2013. It was such a wonderful experience to meet other survivors and caregivers, and to hear about the exciting new developments in sarcoma research and treatment. It can be such an isolating experience to have a rare disease like Leiomyosarcoma and I realize how important it is to connect with others who have had similar experiences. It is also very rewarding to be involved in fundraising and advocacy work, and I feel honored to be joining the Board of the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation as Secretary.
Dr. Mitch Achee
Medical Advisory Chair, Fundraising Campaign
I am a Leiomyosarcoma survivor, diagnosed in 2011. I am a Board Certified Diagnostic Radiologist currently with Kaiser Permanente, and for 25 years with Diversified Radiology, P.C., a subspecialty radiology group of 60 radiologists in Denver, Colorado.
I received my B. A. from Johns Hopkins University and my M. D. from the University of Virginia. I completed my internship in Internal Medicine and residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Colorado. I served in both active duty and the Army Reserves. I served in many leadership roles through my career, including Vice-President and Chief of Hospital Operations within Diversified Radiology of Colorado for many years. I was also the Chairman of two different hospital imaging departments, Chief of the Medical Staff at one of the hospitals the practice covered. I have been a member of Denver Medical Society, and past Board of Directors, as well as a past member of the Medical Advisory Board of United Healthcare in Colorado.
Since my diagnosis and treatment for LMS, I have developed a strong interest in sarcoma/cancer patient support and advocacy, as well as sarcoma research. My wife Annie and I have created a website devoted to LMS patient education and advocacy: www.lmslifeline.com; I am also a member of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society (CTOS), and as a result, hope to contribute to the mission, vision, and goals of the NLMSF. As a Board Member of Sarcoma Alliance, I hope to contribute to fostering partnerships with other nonprofit sarcoma patient advocacy organizations to amplify LMS research support efforts.
Community Outreach, Special Projects
Having lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, for 44 years, I consider myself a Cincinnatian even though I was raised and educated near Detroit, Michigan. My background was in primary and intermediate education. After 30 years of teaching primary and intermediate grades, I moved on to a supervisory student teacher position for the Miami of Ohio University.
Not unlike others, when my daughter, Annemarie, at age 46 was diagnosed with peritoneal Leiomyosarcoma (LMS), my world changed its course. As a result, my passion was totally focused on being an active member of the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation (NLMSF). My tenacity to investigate, rise to the challenge to fight this disease, through research and awareness, led my husband John and I to actively join the Foundation in 2011. In 2012, I became recording secretary for two years and now the membership chairperson.
My husband, John, vice-president since 2013 of the NLMSF, joined me, as did close friends, to organize/coordinate the 2-5K runs in Cincinnati. I held numerous fundraisers from home parties to “wine and dine” events, to Shop for Cause with Macy’s department store.
Fortunately, our daughter is in remission. It warms my heart to meet other survivors who may still be battling the disease and leave me saddened when I hear of the LMS angels we lose. Rather than concentrate on me, I would like to concentrate on you and them.
My dream is to see the NLMSF increase its following/membership, as well as fundraising efforts through regions with others who agree with our very necessary cause. Thank you to those who have joined us, and to you who have not, please consider it. “Together we can… Reach for the Cure.”
Community Outreach; Special Projects
I was born in Augusta, Georgia, and now reside in North Augusta, SC, just across the Savannah River. My husband, Robert, and I have been married for more than 49 years. We have two sons, one daughter, and five grandchildren. I am a retired floral shop owner and interior designer. I also enjoy collecting and selling fine and vintage antiques. I am very interested in preserving family history and studying genealogy.
In 2002, after returning from a vacation, I became quite ill, entered the hospital, and required surgery to remove an eight millimeter malignant tumor. This tumor was so rare, my physician had to study and research its characteristics in order to be able to bring forth a diagnosis of Leiomyosarcoma, and explain it to me and my family. After my recovery, I searched websites to find out as much as possible about this disease. There was very little information available, and what I could find was difficult to understand.
In November 2010 I found the NLMSF website and learned about the HugFest events sponsored by the Foundation, which supported LMS patients and caregivers. It happened that my first experience with attending such an event would be only 75 miles away from my home at that time. I gained strength from participating in this event, meeting other survivors, caregivers, and especially people in the medical field that knew about LMS and were researching to advance treatment options for this disease. I immediately became a member of the NLMSF in 2013, and joined the board of directors as well. My hope is to continue to contribute as much as possible to the mission, vision, and goals of the NLMSF, to work together in bringing awareness of this disease, promote fundraising efforts for medical research advancement, and help others to cope with LMS.
Website/ Social Media Technical Advisory
I was introduced to the NLMSF during the 2013 HugFest in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I attended HugFest with my wife, Karen Galler. I was very happy to meet so many LMS survivors and to learn about the LMS-specific research that was being supported through the foundation. Following Karen’s appointment as Recording Secretary, I was asked to provide IT technical advice to the foundation.
I have a Bachelor of Science from McGill University. I have worked as a software developer and support engineer for almost 30 years in the areas of retail pharmacy and online purchasing. I most recently worked at Microsoft. I am currently an independent contractor.
I hope to help build an advanced and effective online presence for the foundation. This will enable more Leiomyosarcoma patients, caregivers and friends and family to receive the information and support they need.