Board of Directors
Marc is the founder of Oxis Capital, a middle market financial advisory firm and has been an active investor, entrepreneur and financial advisor for over 20 years. Prior to Oxis, Marc was a co-founder of Triangle Capital, a boutique investment bank and a director in the technology investment banking group of Prudential Volpe, where he was responsible for developing the next generation telecommunications investment banking practice. Prior to Prudential, he was a Vice President at Advantage Capital Partners, a $750 million private equity fund where he held board and executive positions at seven portfolio companies and had primary responsibility for troubled portfolio company management. Marc was also a founder and president of a successful retail business in Florida and worked in the investment banking departments of Kidder Peabody and Salomon Smith Barney
In addition to the Band of Parents, Marc is a Vice President on the Board of Directors of Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Romaniote culture. Marc has an MS and BS in Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics from the University of Wisconsin Madison. He is married to Susan and has three children, Talia, Jackson and Kaitlyn. Talia was diagnosed with neuroblastoma on February 14, 2007 and after 7 years of fighting, she lost her battle on July 16th, 2013. Marc is the co-host of the annual Play Like a Pro Charity Hockey game at Madison Square Garden benefiting the Band of Parents and the Garden of Dreams and has been featured on CNBC and New York 1 for his philanthropic work.
Mark Unger is an owner and director of Unger Global, a leading manufacturer of commercial and retail cleaning tools. Mark was born in Germany where he lived for the first 12 years of his life before moving to Connecticut. He earned a bachelor of science from Babson College and currently resides in Connecticut with his wife, Mary Ellen and his two sons, Harry and Louis. He enjoys golf, fishing, snowmobiling and travelling. At age 3, Mark’s son, Louis was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. He battled this treacherous cancer for 5 years with the leadership of the neuroblastoma team at Memorial Sloan Kettering. After relapsing with the cancer in his brain, his incredible team of doctors developed a new treatment protocol that cured him – made possible by funding from Band of Parents. This protocol is now helping to save many other children who are diagnosed with a brain relapse. Today, Louis is a healthy teenager attending Endicott College. He loves to ski, fish and play bass guitar. His son’s journey made it clear that innovative doctors who are willing to try new treatment paths can make the impossible possible. The Band of Parents’ mission is to fund new lifesaving treatments to help children reach their dreams.
Francesca is an educator who lives in Connecticut with her husband Jeff, and her two sons Jack and Brendan. Jack was diagnosed with stage 3 neuroblastoma, NMYC amplified NB, when he was two years old in January of 2004. Although he has had several relapses over the years, Jack has been in remission and NED since January 2011. Fran has battled alongside other Band of Parents board members to get more treatment options for neuroblastoma – and has endured inspiring moment moments as well as horrors that no parent should ever have to know. In addition to being a full-time parent to Jack and Brendan, Fran assists with many fundraisers, providing creative and technical expertise to fellow Band of Parents families.
Vanessa is a school librarian who lives in Northern NJ with her husband Daniel and her two sons Matthew and Luke. Luke was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in 2013 and had a very difficult treatment path. Vanessa credits the life saving trials that Band of Parents has helped fund in helping Luke to achieve remission. Inspired by the advances being made by the neuroblastoma team at MSKCC she has decided to give back by joining our organization and helping the Band of Parents in our pursuit of finding a cure for neuroblastoma.
Caryn is a founder and was the President of the Band of Parents from 2009 to 2012. She is a long-term successful entrepreneur and is currently the owner of Total Potential LLC. Over the course of her career, Caryn has parlayed her background in education into two successful businesses. After a two-year coach training program in the late 90’s, she partnered with a corporate training company to do strategic planning and small business coaching. She also had a private life coaching practice for 4 years. The other arm of her business is sales and training for Shaklee Corporation. Since 1994 she has run leadership seminars, and developed a strong customer base selling wellness products. After her son was diagnosed at age 15 with stage 4 neuroblastoma, Caryn let go of her coaching business. Her son, Nicholas Toms Franca, lost his battle with neuroblastoma in May 2011 at the age of 21. Caryn recently finished writing a book that is currently in the publishing process. It chronicles the years of their journey with childhood cancer, and the history of Band of Parents. It is a book of inspiration and of lessons learned and wisdom gained when life is turned upside down. “Lessons From My Son’s Tattoo” will be available in 2017. She hopes to do public speaking and help bring the lessons to audiences nationwide.
Ken is a Managing Director with Corporate Finance Associates, a middle market investment bank. http://www.cfaw.com/locations.html#KennethLynch Prior to that, Ken served as a software executive, helping to grow and sell two companies. He graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, in 1981 with a degree in business. Ken enjoys traveling, baseball, grilling and spending time with his friends and family. His son, Nick was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in May 2006. Ken and his wife Carolyn were told that the tumor was inoperable and that they should consider hospice. With that news, they frantically sought other treatments — and fortunately found that better options were available. The family moved to New York City so that Nick could be treated at MSKCC. The disease was treated and the great Dr. Michael La Quaglia at MSKCC removed the “inoperable” tumor. Nick has been NED since the surgery in August of 2006, and off treatment since October 2007. Now a Senior at UC Davis, Nick loves to fish, and work with the animals in the Veterinary Science lab. He is the youngest of four children. The family is from Northern California but Ken and Carolyn now reside in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Jill is a physician who has been practicing internal medicine at WestMed, in her hometown of New Rochelle since 2016. For 18 years, she worked in private practice on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and was on the staff of Mount Sinai Medical Center. Jill currently has privileges at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, CT. After graduating with a degree in Human Biology from Stanford University, she earned her medical degree from Albany Medical College in 1993. Jill completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in 1996. She spent an additional year of training serving in the position of Chief Resident of her program.
Jill became involved with the Band of Parents after her youngest son, Andrew, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in May 2010 at the age of 3 1/2. Andrew was treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, but relapsed in 2012. He was blessed to receive Hu3f8 and the neuroblastoma vaccine. Because of this treatment regimen, Andrew is currently NED (no evidence of disease) and has been able to resume a normal life. Jill looks forward to the day that a cure is found for neuroblastoma and all of the children who fight this dreadful disease will be saved. Jill’s husband Bruce is an oncologic radiologist and the medical director of an outpatient radiology center affiliated with Montefiore Medical Center. They have three sons, Lucas, Ethan and Andrew.
Jenn is a Chief People Officer in the technology sector and oversees Human Resources, Talent Acquisition, Learning & Development and Employee Experience. She is the President and Founder of JWI, a People Operations and Talent Consulting Company and serves as a Portfolio Advisor to a leading Venture Capital Firm.
Directly impacted by her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis as a young girl, Jenn became determined to help find a cure for cancer and has been deeply passionate about cancer research ever since. Her initial introduction to the field of biomedical research occurred during a summer internship at the Mote Marine Laboratory where she became uniquely interested in the observed low incidence of cancer in sharks and other marine life. Jenn has continued to work with children’s hospitals and cancer research foundations over the years, including Texas Children’s Cancer Center, Relay for Life and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
In 2008, Jenn’s cousin Jessie was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer at the age of twelve and unfortunately lost her battle two years later. Jessie’s incredible strength, infectious positivity and unbounded resilience have served as a daily inspiration to Jenn and her family. Jenn cares deeply about supporting cancer research in the rigorous pursuit of one day finding a cure for childhood cancers.
Priscilla began her career in advertising and direct marketing and worked for global agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy and McCann, in Paris and New York.
A sabbatical and 14-month back-packing trip inspired Priscilla to make a transition into the non-profit sector in 2005. She was able to adapt her business and marketing knowledge and experience to generate awareness and raise funds for international organizations such as Smile Train and World Animal Protection.
Priscilla has a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University and an MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario and has been living in New York since 1994.
Kimberly Roginski has over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit arena, with a focus on development and volunteer management, along with a varied and dedicated record of personal volunteerism. Prior to joining Band of Parents as the organization’s Development Director, Kim was the Volunteer & Development Coordinator at Part of the Solution (POTS) in the Bronx. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and three children.
Medical Advisory Board
Enid A. Haupt Chair in Pediatric Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Attending Physician; Department of Pediatrics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Director, Neuroblastoma Research Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Head, Robert Steel Laboratory, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
MD, Harvard Medical School
PhD (Immunology), Harvard Medical School
Pediatrics – Stanford University Medical Center
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology – Stanford University Medical Center
Dr. Nai-Kong Cheung is a pediatric oncologist and cancer researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, specializing in immunologic approaches for the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cancers. At Harvard Medical School, he studied suppressor T cells and B cell tolerance under the mentorship of Dr. Baruj Benacerraf, the 1980 Nobel laureate in Medicine. Upon completing his pediatric training in Pediatrics and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at Stanford, he has devoted his entire career to translational science, with a clinical focus on neuroblastoma, and a research focus on antibody-based therapies.
Dr. Cheung built the neuroblastoma program at MSKCC from the ground up in 1987, exploring dose intensity and consolidation with antibody-based immunotherapy, engaging a multidisciplinary disease management team, enabling MSKCC to be a major referral center for neuroblastoma, registering more than 100 new patients a year for over 25 years. Over three decades at MSKCC, he has developed from bench to the bedside several monoclonal antibodies, including 3F8 and its humanized form (hu3F8, naxitamab) specific for ganglioside GD2, and 8H9 (omburtamab) specific for B7-H3. For high-risk metastatic neuroblastoma, patient survival has steadily improved as 3F8 was successfully applied to eradicate bone marrow metastases, and 8H9 to salvage CNS relapse. Naxitamab received FDA breakthrough therapy designation (BTD) in 2018 and FDA approval in 2020, and omburtamab received BTD in 2017. This academic translational paradigm from discovery to GMP manufacture, IND application to early phase trials before transition to pharmaceutical sponsor has yielded several new leads for unmet needs in cancer.
More recently, Dr. Cheung has devoted full time to laboratory research developing new antibody platforms to engage T cells and to improve precision in the delivery of beta particle and alpha particle therapies. Ganglioside tumor vaccines, beta glucan adjuvant, and novel IL15 cytokine complexes are areas of active clinical investigation. He has pioneered immunocytology and molecular markers to measure minimal residual disease, as well as biomarkers of tumor response, while collecting and managing a rich human tumor and tissue archive to facilitate studies of treatment-related leukemia, neuroblastoma clonal evolution, and immune profiling. He has published >370 peer reviewed articles (https://shorturl.at/mFKT5) plus >70 book chapters or reviews, and he was named as an inventor on 50 patent families filed by MSKCC.
Dr. Cheung is actively involved in teaching and mentorship of students, residents and fellows in oncology. He participates in the efforts of professional organizations, including the Children’s Oncology Group, American Association for Cancer Research, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer. Through the NK and Irene Cheung Family Charitable Fund, he is active in philanthropic support of education, training, and patient welfare, while being a strong advocate for pediatric cancer care in the US.
Scientific Director, Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona at Hospital Sant Joan de Deu
PhD in Medicine, Autonomous University of Barcelona
Pediatrics Specialist, Hospital Vall d’Hebron
Bachelor’s Degree in Medicine and Surgery, University of Barcelona
Molecular Pathology of Pediatric Tumor, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, New York Hospital Cornell University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
I’m a Pediatric Oncologist with a PhD in Molecular Oncology since 2003. After residency training in general pediatrics (1992-1995), I completed the pediatric Hematology and Oncology fellowship at MSKCC in New York (1996-1998). After, I did three years of Research Fellowship in molecular pathology, also at MSKCC (1999-2001). In 2002 I returned to Barcelona as the leader of the Pediatric Oncology Department at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu (HSJD) and founded the Developmental Tumor Biology Laboratory. From 2007 until 2012 I was the Head of the Pediatric Oncology Department. Since 2013 I’m the Scientific Director of the Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona (PCCB) at HSJD.
I have published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles in developmental oncology. My research focuses on the origin of Childhood tumors with contributions in neuroblastoma, Ewing sarcoma, retinoblastoma, Wilms tumor, and DIPG. I have been distinguished with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Young Investigator Award (YIA) in 2000; the 16th Schweisguth Prize of the International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) in 2001; and the ASCO Career Development Award in 2001. I won the first Research grant for pediatric Oncology of the Spanish Association against cancer (AECC) in 2006; the first Research Award of Translational Oncology of the FERO Society in 2009; and the First Martí Via Award of Translational Oncology of the Fundació Vallformosa in 2015. I’m the Local committee Chair for SIOP 2022.
Finally, I’m the Founder of the Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona (PCCB) at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu (HSJD), opening June 16th, 2022; and the Local organizing committee Chair for SIOP 2022 in Barcelona, September 28-October 1.
Director, Pediatric Radiation Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
MD, University of California San Francisco
Radiation Oncology – Stanford University Medical Center
Since 1998, I have been the Director of Pediatric Radiation Oncology on the MSK Kids team who cares for children and young adults with cancer.
I have extensive experience treating rare diseases in children, including neuroblastoma. Radiation therapy is an extremely powerful tool for these tumors, but young patients are especially sensitive to long-term side effects. I therefore approach each patient as a unique individual, carefully designing a highly customized radiation therapy plan to maximize the benefits of treatment while minimizing side effects. I am a leader in the use of targeted approaches such as proton therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, image-guided radiation therapy, and intra-operative radiation therapy for pediatric cancers.
We are very mindful of patients’ long-term quality of life and seek to maintain the highest possible survival rates while minimizing the risk of potential long-term treatment complications. I am involved with research on the late effects of radiation therapy through my collaboration with the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. I currently have an open study at MSK testing reduced dose radiotherapy for the primary site in high-risk neuroblastoma.
I find it very rewarding to work with a team that couples extraordinary experience with compassion to care for patients with cancer. I am optimistic that our ongoing research will lead to higher cure rates as well as improved long-term quality of life for our patients.
Medical Director, Intra-abdominal Solid Tumor Program, Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
MD, Stony Brook University, NY
Pediatrics – New York Presbyterian/Columbia University
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Dr. Daniel A. Weiser is an experienced pediatric hematology/oncology physician and dedicated childhood cancer researcher. A graduate of the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Dr. Weiser received pediatrics training at New York Presbyterian/Columbia and pediatric hematology/oncology training at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia/University of Pennsylvania. His clinical practice is at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, where he is the Medical Director of the Intra-abdominal Solid Tumor Program. Dr. Weiser is also an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where his translational research laboratory is focused on discovery of new cures for highly aggressive childhood cancers, blood-based liquid biopsies for solid tumors, and novel approaches to prevent toxicity associated with treatment.
Dr. Weiser participates in the efforts of several professional organizations including the Children’s Oncology Group, American Association for Cancer Research, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. He has received numerous awards including the Brigid Leventhal Special Merit Award from ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation, and a prestigious K12 from the National Cancer Institute for the training of the next generation of physician-scientists in pediatric cancer.
Dr. Weiser is actively involved in teaching and mentorship of trainees and takes great pride in providing advanced and compassionate care to his patients and their families.
Director, Neuroblastoma Program, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Attending Physician; Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow Transplantation
Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine of USC
MD, University of California Irvine School of Medicine
MS, University of Southern California
Pediatrics – Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology – Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
Dr. Araz Marachelian is a board-certified pediatric oncologist whose clinical and research focus is neuroblastoma. Dr. Marachelian completed her pediatric oncology fellowship training at CHLA with an emphasis on investigation at the New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy Consortium. She also obtained a masters in clinical investigation at USC. Dr. Marachelian is the director of the clinical neuroblastoma program, and has also been the medical director of Operations of the NANT consortium since 2010. In this role, she is integrally involved in protocol development at the NANT consortium and oversees the conduct of studies and their completion. Her research emphasis is on studying new immunotherapeutic approaches to the treatment of neuroblastoma as well as in studying minimal disease detection. Dr. Marachelian chairs clinical trials within the NANT consortium and leads the post consolidation task force in Children’s Oncology Group.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics (Hematology/Oncology), Stanford University School of Medicine
Attending Physician; Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital
MD, Harvard Medical School
Pediatrics – New York Presbyterian-Columbia Hospital
Pediatric Hematology and Oncology – John Hopkins and National Cancer Institute
Robbie Majzner is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine who is focused on the development and deployment of immunotherapies for pediatric cancer. He received his MD from Harvard Medical School followed by training in pediatrics at New York Presbyterian-Columbia and pediatric hematology-oncology at the National Cancer Institute and Johns Hopkins. His work in the laboratory centers on engineering platform technologies to improve the efficacy of CAR T cells in solid tumors and overcome therapeutic resistance. Concurrently, he is focused on translating laboratory advances in innovative clinical trials for children with incurable cancers.
Associate Board Members
Gianni DiFroscia is a Financial Planner for Clarfeld Financial Advisors headquartered in Tarrytown, NY. He graduated Cum Laude from Pace University, Westchester campus, where he majored in Finance and minored in Economics. He became a CFP® professional in 2016 and have been at Clarfeld since 2012. I currently live in Yorktown Heights, NY. He joined the Band of Parents Young Professional Board with the purpose of collaborating with other like-minded motivated individuals to raise awareness in the battle against neuroblastoma. Gianni hopes to become better educated about this type of cancer, and what could be done to find a cure.
Jenny Finke is a graduate of Chico State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Speaking. Jenny went on to work in the culinary field, where her passion lies. For the last seven years Jenny has been a stay-at-home mom of three young children alongside her sister Allie. Allie’s youngest child, Hank, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in March 2020. After no longer being qualified for treatment at his home hospital, Hank was referred to MSK. Since then, Jenny has dedicated her time to finding ways to help support families and children affected by neuroblastoma as well as funding research. During the Band of Parents’ Cure Kids’ Cancer Challenge Jenny and her team raised over $12,000. Jenny hopes to keep spreading awareness and help to increase funding to find a cure for neuroblastoma.
Nick Lynch is a senior student at the University of California Davis studying animal science. After graduation, Nick hopes to attend veterinary school and pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
In 2006, Nick was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma and given a grim prognosis. Living in California at the time, Nick began treatment at Sutter hospital in Sacramento before quickly transferring care to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Thanks to the amazing team at MSKCC, Nick has now been NED since August of 2006 and off treatment since October of 2007. In his free time, Nick enjoys fishing the lakes and rivers where he lives and hiking.
Christopher grew up in a small town in Connecticut and started working at a young age at his family’s business which instilled a strong a strong work ethic in him. In the past few years, he has branched out of the family business to make a name for himself. Growing up, Christopher played sports but hockey has always been his passion. He plays in hockey leagues throughout the tri-state areas now and participates in many charity events. He became involved with the Band of Parents after participating in many fundraisers throughout his younger years. One fundraiser that stuck with him was to help a local family whose son was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Christopher sold paper hearts to help raise money for the family and since then he’s been hooked. Christopher feels like the Band of Parents community is one big family – there to support each other and work together to battle this disease.
Amit is a Warrior of the Band! He was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma when he was almost 3 and it nearly took his life. His odds were not great, but he is one of those fortunate enough to say they’ve beat this terrible pediatric cancer. After brain surgery to remove the tumor around his optic nerves, chemo, radiation and the super power of 3F8, Amit successfully defeated Neuroblastoma.
Amit has been in remission for over 18 years, but his fight with Neuroblastoma left him legally blind. Even so, he refuses to let that stop him from living life to the fullest.
As a high school Senior in 2016, Amit won the Student of the Year for Individuals with Disabilities Award. He is an avid baseball fan and has been Home Run Champion at the Miracle League of Arizona multiple times. Amit also has skills on the court: in 2017, he led his Arizona Special Olympics basketball team to a 3rd place finish in the district tournament (winning the Bobcat of the Year “best player” award) and this year, in 2020, he helped his Special Olympics basketball team in Michigan qualify for the State Championship Tournament.
Amit is currently a 3rd year Pre-Business major at the University of Michigan—Dearborn.
Neuroblastoma is a devastating disease and Amit wants to be on the front line with the army that defeats it. It caused his family a lot of heartache and suffering and Amit is determined to do everything he can to prevent any other family from going through the same. Along with Band of Parents, Amit is committed to winning our war of hope to bring an end to Neuroblastoma.
Sydney Spinner is is a Junior Partner at the firm Weil & Kestenbaum, and Of Counsel at Steve Zissou & Associates, both located in Bayside, Queens. She is a lifelong Queens resident who received her B.A. from CUNY Queens College in 2014 and her J.D. from Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University in 2018. She is admitted to practice in the State of New York, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. She is co-chair of the Young Lawyers Committee of the Queens County Bar Association. Sydney joined the Young Professionals Board after becoming highly involved with Band of Parents during the coronavirus pandemic. She hopes to educate others and fundraise to help find a cure for neuroblastoma.
Louis Unger was born in Germany and is a childhood cancer survivor of Neuroblastoma and of a brain tumor relapse. He graduated from Endicott College in May of 2020 and has gone on to pursue jobs in the field of criminal justice. Louis’s hobbies include golfing, fishing, playing the bass guitar and is a happy and healthy young man. Louis’s mission is to help raise money and support other families who have had similar experiences to him, as well as to share his tale of hope and give strength to those who need it. His story is an example of the good that can happen when people work together for a noble goal.