Meet the dedicated board members of Angiosarcoma Awareness, Inc. Learn about their backgrounds, expertise, and commitment to raising awareness about Angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. Join us in our mission to support patients and families affected by this disease.
In 2010 I was diagnosed with primary angiosarcoma of the breast. At the time, I was just about to graduate with a Ph.D. in biochemistry from The University of Massachusetts Medical School. In 2011, after two surgeries and a few rounds of chemotherapy, I made it back to the lab and defended my thesis. I went on to conduct postdoctoral studies in cancer immunology through a grant from the Cancer Research Institute before taking a position at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. As the Associate Director of Operations and Scientific Outreach, I combine my scientific background with my patient experiences to launch and oversee several direct-to-patients genomics initiatives, including the Angiosarcoma Project (ASCproject.org).
Shortly after my diagnosis, I met Lauren Ryan, who had started a facebook support group for angiosarcoma cancer. She was also at the beginning stages of founding Angiosarcoma Awareness, Inc. We partnered up and decided to move forward as a team. As the Vice President, my principal responsibilities are initiating contact with and providing funding for clinicians and basic researchers who are interested in conducting angiosarcoma research. The goal of our organization is to foster a collaborative atmosphere between the researchers that we fund in order to generate data and reagents that can be shared by the sarcoma community as a whole. Feel free to contact me if you'd like to learn more about our research initiatives.
Ted Painter is our Event Coordinator. His primary responsibilities include planning, coordinating, and directing our annual Angiosarcoma Awareness, Inc 5K and Kid’s road race, and other local events. Ted designs, orders, tracks, maintains and mails all Angiosarcoma Awareness, Inc. marketing materials and online gift shop items.
Back in 1976, after a year of doctor shuffling, I was diagnosed with Angiosarcoma in my lower lip. No one had heard of AS except anecdotally. I had a full resection followed by a year of intense chemotherapy. In 1978, having blissfully moved on, I had a reoccurrence in my nose. While psychologically devastating, I was able to have my nose rebuilt followed by 8 weeks of radiation. In 1979, hello again! This time in my tongue. I spent the years following those experiences playing and writing music (13 Emmys). I remained vigilant but alone in my AS experience.
When I found cureasc and the Facebook group, I felt like I was meeting my people for the 1st time. Maybe I wasn’t a freak? I’ve had 50-60 surgeries (many were chemo-related) since 1976 and am NED since 1979.
I look forward to making people aware of AS, patient outreach and making patients educated about their own care. More than anything, I look forward to seeing this disease eradicated.
Charissa Kerr joined the Angiosarcoma Awareness Board in 2019 as the Secretary/Treasurer. With degrees in accounting and economics, as well as an MBA with a concentration in international business Charissa is well-suited for these roles. In addition, she has served as Treasurer on multiple non-profit boards across New England. She has amassed a vast array of knowledge in her 25-plus years of business experience, 15 of which have been in the non-profit sector. She is currently the Chief Financial Officer at Gulf of Maine Research Institute, in Portland, ME, a multi-million dollar, a non-profit organization focused on pioneering collaborative solutions to global ocean challenges.
Charissa has many personal accomplishments in the philanthropic world, including signing up over 2,500 people for the Bone Marrow Registry, obtaining non-profit status for her fire department association, and serving on an international board to bring Hungarians to America as Fellows. Charissa has also been a CPR instructor since 2007.
Outside of work, Charissa and her husband are both firefighters and EMTs in Raymond, Maine. They pair their love of athletics with their philanthropic goals, often running races and climbing stairs for charity. They have two children, ages 11 and 7, that keep them on their toes.
Says Charissa about joining Angiosarcoma Awareness, “I am honored to be able to put some of my experience to use for such an amazing, brilliant and passionate group of people.”