Karen E. Chelcun Schreiber
Following a 31-year career in accounting, law firm administration and technology Karen celebrated her early retirement in 2005. Two years later her brother’s stage IV stomach cancer diagnosis started Karen down an unexpected path. Having lost her mother to the same disease 25 years earlier, her quest for information led to the discovery of the CDH1 gene mutation in her family that causes Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC). While planning for her own preventive total gastrectomy, she established the Chelcun Family Fund for Stomach Cancer Research and launched the first version of this website in July 2008, known at the time as Be Strong Hearted. This call to action grew out of concern for her family’s stomach cancer story; it quickly became about every family’s stomach cancer story.
Karen’s brother Greg lost his battle in early 2009. The lack of awareness of stomach cancer, funding for research, resources and support for those affected by the disease, and the grim survival rates highlighted the need for an organization dedicated to fighting this disease. Already a leading resource for those affected by stomach cancer throughout the world, it was time to move beyond the family. Karen founded No Stomach For Cancer in 2009 and her passion to further the mission of NSFC stands strong.
Roger has an extensive background in employee benefit programs, retirement consulting and related financial matters. In addition to many years in the insurance and financial services industry, he is a former Wisconsin Retirement System Benefit Specialist with the Department of Employee Trust Funds. He also is a part time instructor with the Madison College Business and Community Outreach program, and serves as a consultant with the Wisconsin Retired Educators’ Association in Madison.
Gretchen Borzi is honored to be a member of the Board of No Stomach For Cancer and is highly motivated to raise funding for more research and support patients and their families dealing with stomach cancer all over the world. She is a carrier of the CDH1 gene mutation, and received a total gastrectomy in July 2011 to reduce her risks associated with HDGC (Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer). She also was diagnosed with lobular breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy with reconstruction in May 2014. The breast cancer was caught very early via MRI thanks to regular screenings she has undergone since first learning of her genetic risk status. In spite of this, she continues to live a healthy and fulfilling life and feels extremely grateful to be a part of this supportive community. Born and raised in Massachusetts, she lives north of Boston with her husband and two children, and works full-time in the marketing department of Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Melanie Torborg, CMA, MBA
Melanie’s husband, Tom, died of stomach cancer in 2012 and carried the CDH1 gene mutation. Since his diagnosis, ten members of his family (siblings and cousins) have had their stomachs removed. He saved many lives, and Melanie wants to contribute her talents to No Stomach for Cancer as her way of helping others who are struggling with this disease.
Melanie is the Program Director of the Accounting Programs at Saint Mary’s University in Minneapolis. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and a Masters Degree in Business. She is also a Certified Management Accountant with over 20 years of experience in corporate accounting. Her favorite areas of accounting are budgeting, strategic planning, and financial statement analysis.
Elizabeth A. Lambert, MA
Beth joined the Board of Directors in 2010. Her brother Steve passed away from stomach cancer in 2006 at age 46. Through his diagnosis and her mother’s colon cancer diagnosis, her family learned they carried the CDH1 mutation. In 2007, she and two siblings had their stomachs removed. Several other family members have also been identified as having the CDH1 mutation. For the past twenty years, Beth has been a full-time English teacher at Grafton High School, where the community has been actively raising awareness about stomach cancer since she joined the Board. She lives in Worcester, Massachusetts with her husband and two children, who will eventually be tested for the CDH1 mutation.
Natascha M. Santos, Psy.D.
Long Island NY
In September 2001, Natascha Santos lost her mother to stomach cancer. She was honored to become a board member of NSFC in the winter of 2012. Her goal is to develop patient support and community outreach programs for the NSFC community.
Natascha is a certified school and licensed psychologist in New York where she also is a professor at various universities on Long Island. Natascha has her own practice where she specializes in the treatment of OCD, Anxiety, and School Mental Health Issues for children, adolescents, and young adults.
Laura Ciezadlo joined the board of NSFC in August of 2015.
In 2005 Laura’s aunt was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Surgical observations indicated she had diffuse gastric cancer, a form of cancer that can be inherited. Years earlier Laura’s grandfather and another aunt had also died from stomach cancer. Through genetic testing it was revealed that the family was a carrier of the CDH1 gene mutation. While her aunt passed away from the disease, she left her family with valuable information that would help further generations. Genetic testing done on the extended family revealed that Laura, along with other family members, tested positive for the gene mutation. Faced with statistics that indicated inadequate surveillance methods and a bleak survival rate for those diagnosed with hereditary diffuse cancer, Laura chose to undergo a total gastrectomy in October 2006. Other affected family members chose to do the same. With very little clinical information or support available at the time, it was the support of the small community of people also impacted by CDH1 and the total gastrectomy procedure that helped Laura and her family through such a difficult time. She hopes to further the mission of No Stomach for Cancer by providing support to the stomach cancer community and furthering awareness and research efforts. She lives in Libertyville, IL with her husband and two girls and is Corporate Controller of Argon Medical Devices in Lake Forest, IL.
Jonathan (Jon) Florin