World Child Cancer USA Ambassadors
World Child Cancer USA Ambassadors are our main outreach arm and represent our strongest supporters across the nation—individuals who are dedicating their voice, time, and support to raise awareness and funds for children with cancer in developing countries. Ambassadors work closely with our staff, Board, and other volunteers to advocate for children with cancer and raise awareness in their communities. Please see our Ambassador role description here for more details.
2017 World Child Cancer USA Ambassadors
We’re proud to announce our 2017 Ambassadors below. Thank you for joining the World Child Cancer family!
Celeste has worked in the healthcare field for twenty-five years. She has been an Administrative Assistant in Emergency, Laboratory Pathology and presently Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. A career in the medical field has proven to be most rewarding to her on a daily basis. With her diverse positions throughout the health system she has gained a much greater appreciation for the fundamental need of every individual to be able to access quality and affordable healthcare. Prior to her Healthcare experience she worked in the Investment Banking Industry. Celeste studied Business Management at Pierce College in Philadelphia. Celeste is the co-administrator of the Sassenach Society of South Jersey.
Celeste resides in Southern New Jersey with her husband Tom. She has three adult children. She spends much of her free time dedicated to serving in her local parish community, her local Women’s Club and her local Outlander group which celebrates and supports the program’s cast, crew, its author and their respective charities. Celeste looks forward to supporting World Child Cancer by helping to educate and raise awareness of World Child Cancer USA.
Maëlle began studying biomedical technology when she was 17 years old and her dream was to work as a laboratory assistant. She went on to receive a Master of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Brussels. After working in anatomy-pathological laboratory GSK for a project, she was hired as coordinator of the Asthma Clinic in Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc in Brussels.
She continued her education with a specialization at Laval University in Quebec where she received a Masters in Molecular Biology. Maëlle next worked for the Research of Quebec Fund, which helps young researchers and students to finance their research. She works at McGill University and is based at the General hospital of Montréal in the pain clinic.
She enjoys french fries and beer, reading (especially science fiction, history and the Outlander series!), and art.
Currently, working for a large health system in South Jersey with more than 26 years of healthcare finance experience working as a Medicare auditor and directly within the healthcare provider setting. Christine currently is the Manager of Reimbursement with oversight of all aspects of hospital regulatory reporting; Medicare/Medicaid cost reports, appeals, and facilitating audits, review hospital charge capture and audit functions, including pricing, charging/coding compliance, and reimbursement. Christine holds a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Business Administration from Rosemont College. Christine is the co-administrator of the Sassenach Society of South Jersey.
Professionally, Christine is an active member of the New Jersey Healthcare Finance Management Association chapter; as well as serving on the education and reimbursement committees. Personally, Christine volunteers for her local church in many ways; serving within the church or by working the office desk at night.
Christine and her husband live in South Jersey where they enjoy being so close to Philadelphia, New York and Washington, DC. Christine’s mother is a recent breast cancer survivor. Christine and her local Outlander group is interested in providing a way to help spread the word about World Child Cancer in regards to awareness about childhood cancer news and want to help fundraise to supplement research funding.
Joan Hanna, comes to the World Child Cancer USA Ambassador Program as a member of Sassenach Society of South Jersey, a local Outlander fan group having fun together and looking to support Caitriona Balfe’s charity.
Hanna has published poetry, creative nonfiction, book reviews and essays in various online and print journals. Finishing Line Press has published two books of poetry by Hanna: The Miracle of Mercury and Threads, which was a Finalist in the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Hanna teaches creative writing at Rowan University and has also previously held positions as Assistant Managing Editor for River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, Assistant Editor, Nonfiction/Poetry for r.kv.r.y. Quarterly Literary Journal, Senior Editor for Glassworks and Managing Editor for Poets’ Quarterly. Hanna holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Ashland University.
Kelley is currently a second-year Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. She completed her combined Internal Medicine/Pediatric s Residency training in 2014 from Louisiana State University in New Orleans and Master of Public Health degree in 2015 from Des Moines University College of Health Sciences. Kelley is very enthusiastic about being an Ambassador: “being an Ambassador for World Child Cancer USA (WCC) is a great way to be able to be involved in everything I have always wanted to do! Since college, I have aspired to become a Pediatric Hematologist/Oncology, as well as be involved in international medicine. With the mission to help improve healthcare for children with cancer in developing countries, WCC is the perfect organization. I am honored to have been selected to serve in such a role and am so excited to work with such amazing people!”
Megan joined World Child Cancer as part of the ambassador program in 2016 to help spread awareness about the organization, and the need to support cancer detection and treatment in children from developing countries.
A former marketing and advertising professional Megan now serves as an independent consultant for a strategic marketing company. She is also actively involved in her community as a volunteer with numerous organizations. Among other roles, Megan serves on the Board of Governors for the Lakeland Hills YMCA, is the Vice President of the LHY Swim Team Board and is secretary for the New Jersey Chapter of the Progeria Research Foundation. Her volunteer experiences focus on group communications, volunteer coordination and fundraising.
Megan graduated with a BA from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She and her husband along with their two sons live in northern New Jersey.
Melissa currently works as a Clinical Researcher in a lab that studies IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis). She earned her Bachelor’s in Animal Science from Clemson University and her PhD in BioMedical Research from Florida State University. “I thoroughly enjoy research because it’s incredibly rewarding to find potential treatments and new information for patients who have life threatening or debilitating conditions.”
Melissa recently helped create The Southern Sassenachs, an Outlander-themed Charity Event organization that fundraises for the charities supported by the amazing cast. They just began fundraising for World Child Cancer. “I’m incredibly excited and honored to become an Ambassador. It’s a very small way for me to help raise awareness and educate those who aren’t familiar with childhood cancers. I ultimately hope we can find a cure, but more importantly help those children currently undergoing treatments.”
Melissa currently lives in Alabama with her husband Rob, and two young children, Liam and Callie. She spends her free time organizing and support The Southern Sassenachs. She also enjoys reading and watching movies.
Jessica is currently a nursing student in central NJ and hopes to become a nurse working in labor and delivery of the maternity unit or in the operating room. She has also served as secretary for her college’s Student Nurses’ Association (SNA) since its founding in September of 2012. Jessica works part-time as a home healthcare aide in Princeton, NJ and in Skillman, NJ for two elderly patients. As a student of nursing, Jessica is proud to be an Ambassador and looks forward to working with World Child Cancer USA to help children with cancer worldwide. Born in Paris and raised in the United States, Jessica’s love of traveling and experiencing other cultures has begun early on. She also enjoys reading, hiking, drawing, and all things Outlander and is also an LGBT supporter.
Dawn E. Polk
Dawn is one of World Child Cancer USA’s newest Ambassadors. She is based in Central New Jersey where she resides with her husband of 27+ years and their three sons.
Dawn manages a regional physical therapy practice in the area and is responsible for maintaining a friendly, positive environment for both patients and employees, for all insurance interactions, patient intake and all business issues related to the practice. She looks forward to helping patients reach their rehabilitation goals and helping them to manage any issues that arise while they are attending the facility.
Dawn and her family have been touched by cancer. She lost her paternal grandmother to breast cancer and her uncle to colon cancer. Her father is a prostate cancer survivor, her sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor and her aunt is a lung cancer survivor.
Dawn has a very close relationship with her niece Maddie who is a Type 1 diabetic and has championed her families efforts to spend lots of time together volunteering, participating in events and fundraising to benefit JDRF in the hope of finding a cure.
When not working or volunteering, Dawn enjoys most of all spending time with her family. She is an avid animal lover who also enjoys soccer, reading and gardening. Dawn is a member of Sassenach Society of South Jersey, a New Jersey Outlander fan group whose mission is to have fun, share everything Outlander and support the lead actress Caitriona Balfe’s wonderful charity of choice World Child Cancer.
We all wear different hats in our lives. I am an accountant by education and profession. I also operated a licensed in home daycare when my children were young. Caring for and teaching children is an incredibly rewarding experience. I continue to admire their virtues and want to care for and teach them. That is a big part of why I chose to be a World Child Cancer supporter and Ambassador. Children should have access to basic needs such as medical care. No child should suffer due to a lack of care and cancer treatments that could save lives. 2017 will be my third year helping to organize and participate in the Run Colfax. As an Ambassador, my goals are to continue to raise awareness, support fundraising projects, and inspire the younger generations to become involved in supporting charities such as WCC. We can make a difference together.
I am very excited to be an Ambassador for World Child Cancer. I live in Lakewood, Colorado with my husband of 23 years and our three teenage daughters. Our daughters are members of a youth riding team Westernaires and we have volunteered with the organization for 6 years. I began volunteering with World Child Cancer USA in 2015 by organizing a marathon relay team for the Denver Run Colfax Marathon. We have participated the last two years and are looking forward to 2017! I am excited to expand my volunteering as an Ambassador. I hope to raise awareness and expand our fundraising within Colorado.
Ambassador Team of Donna Karbach, Mary Walcher and Kathy Stewart
These dedicated ladies from Northern California have formed The Outlander Charity Quilt Ambassador team. The three friends met through their local quilt guild where they all served in various board positions, organizing volunteers and events. As avid fans of the Outlander books and TV show, they were inspired by leading actress Caitriona Balfe’s patronage of World Child Cancer. Following the guild’s fundraising idea of “opportunity” quilts, Mary and Donna set about to raise money for WCC and Kathy soon joined in. Mary has designed and pieced quilts based on the theme of each season of the TV show. Donna then does the quilting, adding stitches that tie in with the theme. The team shows the quilt at Scottish Gatherings in California where the booth attracts attention with an eight foot “standing stone” (made by the three ladies), and life-size cutouts of Jamie and Claire which are immediately recognizable to the many Outlander fans in attendance. While fans are having their photo taken with these props, the team members tell them about the work World Child Cancer does and invites them to make a donation to the charity. The quilt will be gifted to one of the donors in December. This is their third year raising money for WCC – they raised $5,000 in 2016 and hope to exceed that total in 2017, adding several more events to their itinerary.