We cannot do the work we do
without your support.
Board of Directors & Staff
Jamie Cresswell (2016)
Jamie grew up in a small community outside of Sudbury. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Laurentian University, and later attended Algonquin College in Ottawa for his electrical apprenticeship. He worked for many years in the electrical trade, performing work in residential, commercial, industrial and mining workplaces. It was during his time while working with a local mining company that he got involved in health and safety, which lead to his role as Superintendent Safety and Training at Redpath Canada.
Jamie’s son was diagnosed with a stage 3 brain tumour, 3yrs ago, he underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumour, and that was followed up with radiation and chemotherapy treatments. His son required a second surgery to remove cancerous tissue; however, after this surgery no radiation or chemotherapy was required. His son continues to be monitored at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.
We are extremely grateful to NOFCC for providing assistance; we were able to focus on our son’s health, and know that there was an organization that would support us if required.
Sarah Kennedy (2017)
Sarah was born and raised in the Greater Sudbury area. She has taken the Culinary Arts Program at Cambrian College. Beyond making a fabulous meal, the program provided her with an excellent suite of culinary and kitchen management skills. However, she soon realized that while she loved cooking, she was better suited for a career in her family’s business. She joined her father, who owns a successful construction and fastener retail company in Sudbury, as a Salesperson. Sarah always loved the versatility that working in the construction and mining industry brought. She thoroughly enjoys being a Salesperson in this industry. From her extensive experience in her family business, she moved on to become a successful Sales Coordinator for ATCO Structures and Logistics.
On February 11, 2017 Sarah and her husband, Codi, heard the worst words a parent could possibly hear “your son has cancer.” Almost immediately, her son Malleck and his father were flown to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. Sarah, a new mother to 6 week old Brooklyn, travelled back and fourth to ensure she was doing her best to be with her son and husband as well as their newest addition.
Shortly after her son started treatment they were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House together as a family. While going through this whirlwind of hospital stays, visits and learning about her sons diagnosis, she was introduced to NOFCC.
NOFCC reassured Sarah that the organization would always be there for her and her family, with many means of support, including financial assistance and emotional support during the long road ahead. She is extremely thankful to have the organization to lean on when needed. Sarah wants to do everything she can to help other families during these times to the best of her ability.
Her decision to become a board member for the NOFCC was not a difficult one. She quickly recognized the value and compassionate support needed for Northern families who experience a childhood cancer diagnosis.
Malleck, while presently in a management state, is not nearly done with his treatment. Thankfully, he is doing well and she and her family are continuing to learn about the journey ahead.
Mike Squarzolo (2017)
Mike was born and raised in the Sudbury area. He attended Laurentian University and Cambrian College and is currently employed by the City of Greater Sudbury as a Captain with the Fire Services.
Mike’s middle child Jacob was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at the age of 10 months in 2003. Treatments required extensive travel to the United States as well as to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa and Sick Kids in Toronto. His therapies involved specialized treatments, costly experimental drugs and procedures which spanned 7 years. Today his son is a healthy teenager. NOFCC was a huge support to Mike’s family throughout Jacob’s illness. Therefore, Mike feels privileged to be giving back to the organization by serving as a volunteer Board Member to help support Northern Ontario Families.
Bernie Beland (2019) Treasurer
Bernie was born and raised in the Sudbury area. He retired after a nearly forty year career as a Bank Manager and Certified Financial Planner. His career moves have allowed him to enjoy living in fourteen cities and towns in north eastern Ontario.
While living in these many communities, Bernie was a member of various charitable focused local fraternities, local business organizations and children’s sports organizations.
Given the loss to cancer of two older brothers, his wife’s parents, and two brothers-in-law, he volunteered for a few years with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Camp Quality which exists for children with cancer. More recently, Bernie’s granddaughter was diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing treatments. He has proudly accepted the opportunity to volunteer as NOFCC’s Treasurer.
Jane Rodrigues (2019) Secretary
Jane was born and raised in the Sudbury area and attended Laurentian University, graduating with a BA degree in 1968. After attending teachers’ college she taught at Marymount College until 1980.Jane has two children, Matthew who works as a medical physicist for a pharmaceutical company in Seattle Washington and Sara who lives in Toronto and is a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Jane has held a variety of jobs in her lifetime, but since 2001 has been the Teacher Librarian at St. Charles College.In the past Jane has volunteered at the Cancer Centre, the Hospice, and the Ronald MacDonald Family Room. She is presently a volunteer with the Angels in Pink and Seniors Helping Seniors in Coniston. When she was asked to join the board of the NOFCC she was pleased to accept as this is such a wonderful organization that is focused on health issues for northern families.
Karen Mallet (2020)
Karen was born and raised in Sudbury, taking her RN training at Sault College and devoting the majority of her 39 year nursing career to Oncology (cancer) nursing at the Regional Cancer Centre in Sudbury. She has worked in many roles over her career including radiation, chemotherapy, stem cell transplant and clinical education in the adult setting. Karen has maintained her certification in the oncology and vascular access specialty areas. Karen’s personal life has been touched by cancer having had a brother diagnosed with a brain tumour at age 16, and several other family members with varying diagnoses over the years. She is familiar with what the diagnosis of cancer means both personally and professionally as well as the impact on family-financially, physically and emotionally.
Over her adult life, Karen has worked in several volunteer positions. She has been
- a founding member of the Look Good, Feel Better program in Sudbury in early 1990s (cancer support group for women undergoing treatment)
- a founding member and past executive member (secretary and treasurer) of the local chapter of Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology (NEOCON)
- founding member and ongoing (10 year) executive member of the Northeastern Ontario Chapter of the Canadian Vascular Access Association (NEOCVAA)
- Team Captain x 3 years and participant in Relay for Life (Canadian Cancer Society)
- Volunteer Executive Member, convener and coach in the Valley East Soccer Association x 15+ years
- Patient and Family Advisor at HSN for a one year period
- Held President and Treasurer Roles of adult bowling league x 4 years
Karen is a wife, mother and grandmother. She takes pride in her family and in her community. Karen donates to charities such as the local food bank, infant food bank as well as the local hospice regularly, understanding that we are all a part of a bigger family. As she is currently semi-retired, Karen wants to give back to her community and believes strongly in the mission and mandate of NOFCC. It is a privilege to serve on the Board of Directors for this organization. Together we can help those in need.
Veronyk Zinn (2021)
Véronyk was born and raised in a small community in Northern Ontario. She graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Commerce at Laurentian University where she worked as a Marketing Intern and then joined Tutor Doctor as an Education Consultant.
In high school, she was president of the student council and developed a love and passion for fundraising. She is now married and is the blessed mom of two beautiful little girls and takes great pride in changing the trajectory of students’ lives and giving back to her community.
In her spare time, Véronyk enjoys spending time outdoors on the lake or by the pool with her husband, daughters and their dog Hemi.
Véronyk was introduced to NOFCC through another board member and is honoured to now be a part of the Board of Directors with the hope of bringing more awareness to childhood cancer while also helping the charity to grow.
Lissa Lynn Gagnon (2022)
Lissa Lynn Gagnon is a Professor with the School of Nursing, Laurentian University. After accomplishing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1996, she pursued graduate studies focusing on work environments in oncology nursing. She subsequently obtained her Master of Science in Nursing in 2008.
Since graduating, Lissa has assumed various roles and responsibilities for positions such as staff nurse, nurse manager, and nurse educator. She is pleased to be an active Board member of Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer.
Dayna Caruso (2012) – Executive Director
Dayna is a Honours graduate of the Psychology Program at Laurentian University and has special qualifications in neuroscience, family life studies, sexuality and women’s studies. Dayna worked as a Brain Injury Rehabilitation Worker for the Northern Lights Program and Ontario March of Dimes for 7 years, being hired in her 2nd year of her Honours BA.
Dayna was hired by the Board of Directors in 2012 to help recruit volunteers and manage the fundraising for the organization. She was quickly promoted to Executive Director in 2014 as the needs of the charity began to grow and the responsibilities of her position required more attention. Dayna has played an important role in growing the name of the charity and developing it into the organization it is today.
Dayna was honoured to be nominated and win a 40 Under Forty Award for the Greater City of Sudbury in 2019.
In 2022, Dayna and her partner Patrick Veilleux will be welcoming a baby girl and Dayna will be away on maternity leave from April 2022 – October 2023, but she looks forward to returning to the organization and continuing the good work that she is so proud to be a part of!
Andrea Fortin – Program & Office Coordinator (2022)
Andrea was born and raised in the Sudbury area. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Biology and a minor in Ethics from Laurentian University. She later pursued a Master of Health Sciences degree specializing in Epidemiology at Lakehead University.
While completing her studies, Andrea has undertaken numerous leadership positions. As a student ambassador, she worked as part of a team to plan and deliver student engagement events that have reached thousands of students. Through the EXCEL leadership program, Andrea has developed and facilitated leadership workshops and has completed over 100 service hours. In her role as the Vice-President of Lakehead University’s Shelter House volunteer group, she recruited and trained volunteers to prepare and serve meals for people living with homelessness. Working alongside community members, this group was able to feed over 200 individuals in need at each sitting.
Andrea was first introduced to NOFCC in high school. At that time, she put together fundraisers including a bottle drive and BBQ to support the efforts put forward by the organization. After becoming a parent and moving back to her hometown, Andrea wanted to become more deeply involved as part of NOFCC’s Board of Directors and Fundraising Committee.
It has been an honour to serve on the Board of Directors and the Fundraising Committee this past year. I look forward to supporting Northern families who have a child diagnosed with cancer moving forward as the NOFCC Program & Office Coordinator.