Our Team

“There is no better job than to know the work you do will directly impact another. I get to pay it forward every day by lightening the burden of someone who truly needs the support physically, emotionally and mentally.”

– Colleen Bucci, Executive Director

Scott Gabrielsen

Chairman of the Board

Scott experienced the direct effect cancer has on a family while raising his young children with Cathy and her battle to be a survivor. Scott holds the title of Chairman of the Board for CTC yet is most proud to be Cathy’s husband. Scott is currently an Executive Vice President for CBRE, Inc. the world’s largest Commercial Real Estate company, based out of their Wayne, PA office. Scott has been in commercial real estate for almost 25 years and has been honored as a Co-Star Power Broker within the region as well as a Philadelphia Business Journal “40 under Forty” winner.

In his early years out of college, Scott enjoyed a ten year career playing professional indoor lacrosse for the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League and was a member of five World Championship Teams (1989, 1990, 1994, 1995, 1998). He is a 5X Hall of Famer and continues his involvement in lacrosse as a coach and Color Commentator for TV broadcasts.

Cathy Gabrielsen

Founder

Cathy is a speaker, writer and Graduate teacher of LifeForce Energy Healing© at the Deborah King Center. Cathy founded The Gabrielsen Healing Center, which provides individual and group energy healing sessions, Life Coaching, Chakra Clearing, Meditation and Healing workshops. Cathy is a breast cancer survivor and the Founder of Cuddle My Kids, Inc. (now Connect Thru Cancer), a non-profit that provides free cancer support services to individuals and families. Cathy is married to Scott Gabrielsen and mother of Jimmy and Cole Gabrielsen. The family has two dogs, Dolly and Miles. Cathy enjoys twice-daily meditation sessions, running, and spending time in nature.

For more information or to schedule a Healing Session with Cathy, visit www.gabrielsenhealingcenter.com or email cathy@gabrielsenhealingcenter.com.

Colleen Bucci

Executive Director

In the Executive Director role, Colleen runs the business side of the non-profit. She has worked hand-in-hand with Cuddle My Kids Founder and twin sister, Cathy Gabrielsen, since its inception. They have successfully grown the organization from its original in-home cancer care service, to multiple programs that serve both local and national cancer centers and hospital systems. Together they positioned Cuddle My Kids as the true pioneer of cancer support services and resources for families.

As Executive Director of Connect Thru Cancer, Colleen oversees all aspects of the organization including programming, fundraising, finance, human resources, outreach and marketing, and works closely with each member of the Connect Thru Cancer team. Since moving into the Executive Director role, Colleen has focused on developing the programs and extending our reach to hospitals both locally and nationally. She was instrumental in CMK’s need to rebrand to Connect Thru Cancer as a way to better identify with those in the cancer community, as well as reflect the growth of our programs that now offer support to individuals, families, and hospital systems. Connect Thru Cancer supports those in our community who have cancer, by connecting them to programs and others who are going through the cancer journey.

In her Head of Development position, Colleen oversaw all aspects of fundraising. She was instrumental in raising millions of dollars for the non-profit through various fundraising activities.

Colleen earned a BSJ from West Virginia University and The Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, with a minor in Psychology. She also studied Marriage & Family Counseling in the Graduate Program at Marshall University. Colleen is married with three children.

Carrie Smith

Director of Development

Joining us in the fall of 2018, Carrie is the newest addition to our Connect Thru Cancer team. Initially interested in volunteering after attending the Annual Fashion Show, Carrie quickly saw an opportunity to bring her time and talents to our organization as Director of Development. 

In this position, Carrie will work closely with the Executive Director to develop, implement and manage the goals and strategies of the organization to further its mission and work on the rebrand to ensure campaigns, website and materials are in line. She will develop and oversee annual fundraising programs; identify prospective individual and corporate donors and build strong and successful communication; collaborate with staff to effectively execute fundraising efforts and build a stronger development team ensuring events are organized and executed understanding our vision and budget; develop print marketing collateral materials related to fundraising, including an Annual Report; work to form strong relationships with the media through consistent public relations efforts; create and uphold a positive public image for clients, and oversee and assign activities, as well as review and approve staff’s work to send a consistent message to our audiences.

Carrie has a bachelor’s degree in Communications, with specialized coursework in public relations, development and marketing from Cabrini University. She lives in West Chester with her husband Tony and has three daughters. Her interests include Barre class, walking outdoors, wineries and spending time with family and friends. 

Dorie Griffith

Creative Director

Dorie joined the Connect Thru Cancer team in 2014 as a volunteer to provide her expertise in developing their creative brand identity and market position. She has developed annual appeals, social media campaigns, designed and developed logos for events and fundraisers, created marketing and event material, and was instrumental in creating a new identity for their rebrand. Dorie’s stamp is all over our organization, and her time and talent are treasured by the Connect Thru Cancer team. 

 The impact of losing both parents to devastating diseases prompted Dorie to want to give back in a meaningful way. She found Connect Thru Cancer and can’t think of a better organization to share her time and talents with.

Dorie is the owner of Studio D, Inc. and has over 25 years’ experience in the creative field. She and her husband Tom have been life-long residents of the West Chester area and have two children, Mitchell and Olivia. When she’s not at a field hockey game, Crossfit competition or chasing her dogs around, she enjoys exercising, skiing and spending time with her ever-supportive husband.

Karen Stanzione Conte, ESQ

Secretary

Karen is a Partner at Reilly, McDevitt, Henrich, P.C. Her areas of concentration include toxic tort litigation, medical malpractice, premises liability, motor vehicle liability, products liability and general insurance defense. She is an active member of the South Jersey Claims Association and currently serves on the Educational Staff. Karen has been an active member of our Board since its inception in 2007, currently serving as Secretary.

Kathy Megill, RN, BSN

Nurse Coordinator

Kathy is a long standing Board Member, joining us in 2008. She was brought to the Connect Thru Cancer family when she met its founder, Cathy Gabrielsen. After hearing Cathy’s story of battling cancer as a young mother and how Connect Thru Cancer would provide free support to families with cancer, she knew that this was a really special organization that she wanted to be a part of for years to come.

Kathy brings more than 20 years of experience in Nursing, mostly concentrated in Oncology, to the CTC team. After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Nursing from Villanova University, she began her nursing career on a Medical-Surgical Oncology Unit. In the years following, she was a staff nurse for Main Line Hematology-Oncology Associates.

After having children, Kathy decided to be a school nurse for the West Chester Area School District. She also spent some time as a hospice nurse for an inpatient hospice unit. Kathy’s nursing career enables her to understand the life experiences and unique journey the cancer patient and their family are facing. Serving as Nurse Coordinator since 2012, Kathy speaks directly with the families and provides individual, personal support plans for Connect Thru Cancer.

Ed Brennan

Board Member

Ed has been on our board since the very beginning and was an integral part of the launch of Cuddle My Kids, Inc. now Connect Thru Cancer.

A graduate of Ohio University, Ed Brennan is the Founder and President of Brennan’s Office Interiors, a family owned office furniture dealership. Ed resides in West Chester, PA and when he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his wife Patti, family and friends. He also enjoys fishing on his boat in Avalon, NJ, and occasionally catching a fish!

Jason Baranski, ESQ

Board Member

Jason Baranski of Malvern, PA is our newest Board member, joining Connect Thru Cancer in early 2019. He is Regional General Counsel, U.S. Takeda. Prior to Takeda, Jason was Senior Vice President Head Counsel U.S. and Global Product Strategy for Shire. He oversees legal support to Takeda’s U.S. Business Unit, including franchise and product support, market access, patient services, litigation and investigations, and employment matters. 

Prior to joining Shire, Jason was an attorney in the litigation practice group of the international law firm Morgan Lewis where he represented pharmaceutical companies in a variety of matters including product liability, government investigations and congressional inquiries.

Jason has a J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Allegheny College.

Dan Murray

Board Member

Dan is a career entrepreneur having started more than a dozen companies in the financial technology arena. Dan founded JDI Financial LLC, the parent company of seven different financial businesses. JDI Financial grew quickly and received the INC 500’s Award as the #1 Fastest Growing Financial Service Company in America and #13 in all businesses.

Dan has been a Board Member for Connect Thru Cancer since 2010. He has coached youth and high school sports for over 25 years.

Dan and his wife Beth reside in Malvern, Pa. They have four children and four grandchildren.

Jim Harrington, ESQ

Board Member

Jim has been a Board Member of Cuddle My Kids, Inc., now Connect Thru Cancer, since 2011. Jim works for Shire Pharmaceuticals as the Global Chief Intellectual Property Counsel. Prior to joining Shire Jim spent five years in Brussels, Belgium where he supervised the Johnson & Johnson European patent department. He has had a diverse career practicing law in the private, corporate and government sectors. He currently specializes in licensing, acquisitions and global patent litigation. Before attending law school he was the senior forensic molecular biologist in New Jersey’s forensics.

Tim Irvine

Board Member

Tim Irvine is a Senior Partner with Creative Financial Group. Established in 1976, Creative Financial Group is a leading financial services firm in the Delaware Valley, dedicated to helping professionals and business owners reach their financial objectives.

Tim is a graduate of St. Joseph’s Prep and an Alumni of University of Delaware with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.

Tim resides in West Chester with his wife, Vicki and their seven children, Timothy, Cecilia, Matthew, Abigail, Ava, Marita and Margaret Mary.

Patricia Brennan

Board Member

A graduate of Georgetown University and a Certified Financial Planner, Patti Brennan is different. Not only does she provide comprehensive wealth management, she creates integrated strategies that are unique for each client. She takes this one step further with a process that updates all financial plans each night with changes in the total portfolio.

Patti Brennan is not just a number cruncher. Known for her ability to see the impact of the “little details” on the big picture, Patti is known for communicating complex financial concepts in simple, understandable and meaningful terms.

Patti also serves on the following boards:

  • Royal Alliance National Advisory Board – Chairwoman, 2012.
  • Chester County Economic Development Council Board Member with Oversight of SBA lending through SeedCo PA.
  • Chester County Hospital System Board of Trustees.

Patti and her husband Ed live in West Chester, PA along with their 4 children.

Judy Phillips

Program Coordinator

Judy has been a Program Coordinator with Connect Thru Cancer since 2011. She is an art enthusiast and has a background in Theatre. Judy brings an abundance of creativity to the Cancer Connect Programs.

As Program Coordinator, Judy initiates the In-Home support and Cancer Connect Programs. She also coordinates the volunteers that are essential to the success of our programs. 

Judy was a volunteer for the Special Olympics in Los Angeles for 18 years. She loves working with children. Before coming to Connect Thru Cancer, she was a teacher at First Presbyterian Preschool in West Chester, PA.

Judy and her husband Glenn are originally from Southern California and have been residing in West Chester for the past 18 years. In her free time Judy enjoys cooking, reading and sculpting. 

Nicole Pellegrino

Program Coordinator

Nicole came to Connect Thru Cancer as a volunteer in 2017, primarily doing In-Home visits. In 2018, she joined the staff as Program Coordinator. Her responsibilities include organizing the Cancer Comfort Kit and Busy Bag distribution program. This entails overseeing logistics, scheduling, building institutional relationships, and coordination of volunteers. She also continues to do In-Home visits, which in many ways is still her favorite part of the position.

Nicole became interested in Connect Thru Cancer when a friend, a young woman in her 30’s with three children, was diagnosed with Stage IV esophageal cancer. She witnessed first-hand not only the devastating physical toll, but also the struggles her friend faced in the daily, routine responsibilities of being a mother to three young children. Connect Thru Cancer became a natural outlet for Nicole’s passion, enthusiasm, and love of children and life. 

Nicole studied early childhood education in college and brings to Connect Thru Cancer years of experience in various activities geared toward young children. She and her husband, Anthony, reside in Phoenixville where they raised their two daughters, Isabel and Mia. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, and yoga.

Johanna (Joey) Vanderheyden

Bookkeeper

Joey keeps the books at Connect Thru Cancer in order. Joey started her career as a high school teacher in South Africa, teaching Afrikaans (A local language derived from Dutch). When the travel bug bit, she travelled with her husband, doing odd jobs, and backpacking for some time before returning to South Africa to start a family and run a small manufacturing business that she bought. Upon selling this business, Joey travelled to England where she worked in a startup with her husband before moving to the United States with the expansion of that business.

 While in the US, Joey bought into another business which she ran for a while before selling it and dedicating her time to volunteering for hospice with Penn Medicine. It was during this time that Joey was first introduced to Connect Thru Cancer by a friend, and she has since joined the staff part-time.

Wendy King

Community Outreach

Wendy joined Cuddle My Kids, now Connect Thru Cancer, in the fall of 2016 as our Community Outreach Coordinator. Her past experience fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Duke Cancer Center have given her expertise in raising money and awareness for the non-profit sector. Connect Thru Cancer is a special organization for Wendy as she has been affected by cancer after losing her mother to Liver Cancer and recently having a sister that is a breast cancer survivor.

Wendy oversees and manages fundraising events benefitting CTC programs. She also serves as a liaison between CTC and the community in coordinating events to help build awareness about CTC and its services.

Wendy has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from North Carolina State University. She is married with 3 children and lives in West Chester.

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