Miracle Maker Leadership Council

Annual Report

May 14, 2019 (Boston, MA)

Over 100 Miracle Makers and their guests attended the 8th Annual Miracle Maker Leadership Council Funding Awards Celebration on May 14, 2019 at the offices of Eaton Vance Management, which has generously hosted this reception for our major donors in each of the last five years. 

Check out this video to learn more about our supporting charities

Expect Miracles Foundation’s Founder and Chairman, Frank Strauss, welcomed everyone to the annual event to celebrate the tremendous generosity and impact of the Miracle Maker Leader Council, who collectively make up our major donor circles and lead the Foundation’s life-saving mission.

Strauss congratulated the Miracle Makers for leading by example by taking action and showing courage. Over the past year, 30 people have become Miracle Makers bringing the total number to 163. Thanks to the leadership of the Miracle Makers, in 2018 Expect Miracles Foundation awarded over $1 million dollars to Dana-Farber’s Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science.

David Barbie, MD, Associate Director at the Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science and Paul Kirschmeier, PhD, the Head of Research at the Belfer Center for Applied Cancer Science, thanked the Miracle Makers for their support, leadership and trust.  Dr. Barbie explained that with the support of Expect Miracles Foundation, the Belfer Center has taken the liquid biopsy technology it developed for lung cancer and begun work testing the technology with breast, colon, head and neck, prostate, skin and pancreatic cancers, with the ultimate goal of early detection diagnostic tests.

Expect Miracles Foundation’s Executive Director, Frank Heavey, took to the podium to kick off the 2019 MMLC Funding Awards. Eight awards were announced totaling $75,000. Heavey proudly presented the first MMLC funding award – a $6,000 award to The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden which provides integrative therapies to cancer patients. Margaret Koch, Executive Director at The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden accepted the check that will be used to implement the Expect Miracles Foundation Transportation Program, creating a partnership with Lyft to provide for more than 133 free rides to and from the Healing Garden for high need and financially insecure cancer patients.

Jim Keenan, from Citi, presented a $9,000 check to Lee Miraglia and Gwen Ryan, Co-Founders of Two Grateful Friends, a charity that provides support and unexpected joy to adults living with or being treated for cancer. This $9,000 funding award will provide 75 signature Comfort Baskets to adult patients who are beginning chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Brian Rudenauer, from State Street, presented a $10,000 check to Grace Chen, Activities Director and Grant Writer, and board member Cliff Webster from Camp Casco. The camp’s mission is to create amazing camp experiences that build lifelong connections for children with cancer and their families. The $10,000 award will cover the entire cost of the 2019 Day Camp for 12 campers and their families, including all campsite and med shed costs, meals and snacks, and medical and programming supplies.

Maggie Dombroski, Assistant Director of Expect Miracles Foundation and a Miracle Maker herself, presented Grahamtastic Connection with a check for $10,000 to Kathy Tranchemontagne, Program Coordinator and Leslie Morissette, Founder and Executive Director. Grahamtastic Connection’s mission is to provide free technology to children with cancer for educational purposes so that children undergoing long-term treatment can stay connected with their classmates through robotics. Morissette thanked the MMLC and shared how her charity was started in honor of her son who had passed away from cancer.

Jeff Kenney, from Eagle Investment Systems, presented Erin and Dennis O’Donnell a check for $10,000 for Ella’s Army, the foundation they created in honor of their daughter who lost her battle with a brain tumor. Ella’s Army will use this award for four $2,500 grants to help local families with the financial burden of a pediatric cancer diagnosis.

Karan McClimans, from T. Rowe Price, presented a check for $10,000 to Zaching Against Cancer Foundation, from Maryland, to provide funding to the Direct Patient Outreach Program and to add the UMD Greenebaum Cancer Center as an additional partner hospital. John Lederer, President, Christine Lederer, Chief Financial Officer, and Julia Lederer, Development and Marketing Coordinator and Chad McCarthy all accepted the award. John thanked the Miracle Makers for the award and explained that before his son Zach passed away from brain cancer, Zach started the charity to provide integrative therapy to patients because Zach wanted others to feel strength, determination and hope.

Michael Collins, from Broadridge, presented a $10,000 check to Nicholas Pedone Foundation. James Peck, also from Broadridge, accepted the award on the Foundation's behalf. The mission of this charity is to deliver smiles to courageous kids fighting cancer and encourage them to always fight hard smile big. This $10,000 funding award will help fund a dedicated Child Life Specialist for “Nicky’s Nest," the playroom the Foundation funded for the Pediatric Oncology patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Lake Success, NY.

Strauss presented the final award of the evening, a grant for $10,000 to Toots Fore Tufts. Named in memory of Marc “Toots” Jackson, Toots Fore Tufts’ mission is to help remove financial obstacles for those who are already fighting for their lives. Brian MacPhee, VP and Founding Board Member Toots Fore Tufts, and also a Miracle Maker himself, his wife Lindsay, and Carol and Ken Jackson, the parents of Marc “Toots” Jackson, were invited to accept the award. MacPhee explained the grant will provide complimentary Reiki to those diagnosed with brain and spinal cord cancer at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, MA. Reiki is a Japanese healing method/art used in hospitals and healthcare settings to promote relaxation.

Heavey closed the reception by thanking the Miracle Makers for their courage and generosity, their teamwork in getting others involved, and their lasting impact on the lives of cancer patients and their families.

If you are interested in joining the Miracle Maker Leadership Council or would like to learn more about the impact of these leaders, please click here or contact Frank Heavey, Executive Director, at fheavey@expectmiraclesfoundation.org or 978.760.4352


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