Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance Board Members

Board of Directors

Jennifer Pace — Board President

jen.jpegJen was diagnosed in February 2006 with an anaplastic astrocytoma brain tumor. After receiving surgery, radiation and chemotherapy she became one of the founding members of the CTBTA. She is committed to raising awareness about brain tumors and brain cancer, as well as raising money for research. Prior to her brain cancer diagnosis, Jennifer worked as a marketing director in New York City's fashion industry. After moving to Connecticut to begin raising her family, she has held a variety of part-time positions with WFSB's Channel 3. Her most important role is that of wife to her husband Andy and mother to her two young children, Luke and Cate.

Dan Tapper — Vice President

DT-Headshot 2016.jpgDan’s involvement with the Connecticut Brain Tumor Alliance dates back to his younger brother Jeff suffering a massive stroke in the summer of 2017; as Jeff’s recovery has progressed (and continues wonderfully), Dan has been inspired to work with people who are committed to promoting awareness about brain injuries and providing support to their families. As Public Relations Manager at Sullivan & LeShane Public Relations, Inc., Dan has worked extensively in a number of medical-related areas. He lives in Suffield with his wife Doreen, an educator in the Suffield public school system, and their son Sam, a student at Southern Connecticut State University.

Andy Pace — Treasurer

andy.jpegAndy's wife Jennifer was diagnosed with an anaplastic astrocytoma in February 2006. As Jen's primary caregiver during her recovery from surgery and subsequent radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Andy understands the importance of the caregiver role and the support that is critical to ensuring a patient's successful recovery from a tumor diagnosis. Andy and Jen are the proud parents of two children, Luke and Cate. A Hartford native and a graduate of the University of Connecticut and RPI, Andy is currently a Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager at Conning Asset Management in Hartford.

Kim Hodnett — Secretary

kim.jpegKim's mom, Sue Heath, was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme IV in December 2003. Together with her sister Stacey, father and brother in-law Ron, they were blessed to be primary caregivers throughout Sue's courageous 11-month battle with brain cancer that took her far too soon in October 2004. As a founding member of the CTBTA, Kim hopes to raise awareness and much needed funding for brain tumor research. She earned a B.S. in Marketing and has held various marketing and analysis positions, including over six years experience in the medical communications industry. Kim currently lives in Glastonbury.

Gregory Shimer — Co-Secretary

greg.jpegGreg's wife, Tracey Gamer-Fanning, was diagnosed with a primary Brain Tumor in September of 2006. He has been her primary caregiver since then, raising five children and several animals at the same time. Greg is an Account Director for one of the top digital marketing firms in Connecticut, Rebel Interactive Group, a top-tier digital group with domestic and international clients. He is a Past-President of Rotary International, former Chairperson of the Brooklyn Economic Development Commission, former board member of the Northeast Economic Alliance, and an adjunct member of the Quiet Corner Democrats. He received a B.S. in Political Science, with a minor in Philosophy from Eastern Connecticut State University. His spare time, a sparse reality, is spent with his kids, traveling, cooking, visiting farmers markets with his wife, reading, working around the house and more.

Tracey Gamer-Fanning — President Emeritus

tracey.jpeg"Every day I truly believe that I'm the luckiest woman alive!" says CTBTA President Emeritus and Co-Founder Tracey Gamer Fanning. After being diagnosed with a Malignant Brain Tumor in 2006, Tracey was told she had a 3-5 year life expectancy. All Tracey heard that day was that she could expect more life! Persevering through seizures, surgery, paralysis and brain radiation, she continues to live, thrive and strive to give hope to others living with Brain Cancer. In her pre Brain Tumor life, she had a very successful career in Advertising and Marketing. Now, a 10+ year survivor, Tracey and her Brady Bunch family of seven live in West Hartford, CT.

Tracey is also a current member of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Oncology Board, installed as their Patient Advocate in 2016.  She continues her work on a national scale now fighting for quality of life for all cancer patients.  She was recently featured on WNPR's "Words to Give By."  She founded MMJ Partners, LLC in 2015 as well. 

Stacey Mairano — Director

stacey.jpegStacey was a primary caregiver to her mom, Sue Heath, from December 2003-October 2004. Stacey's untiring strength, care and compassion throughout her mom's illness parlayed into her desire to help others dealing with brain cancer. Her work through the CTBTA helps mollify the effects this disease has on patients and caregivers alike. Prior to staying home to raise her 4 children, Stacey received her B.S. from Central Connecticut State University and worked for 10 years in specialty insurance marketing.

 

Susan Lemkuil — Director

susan.jpegSusan is an owner of Shimkus, Murphy & Lemkuil, Inc. - a real estate insurance firm in Hartford, CT. She was diagnosed in February 2007 with an Oligodendroglioma. She underwent two successful brain surgeries, one at St. Francis and the other at Yale. Susan received her B.A. from Boston College and her Master's from St. Joseph College. She is married with 3 children.

 

David Lemkuil — Director

dave.jpegDavid is the husband of Susan Lemkuil and was a primary caretaker following her successful brain surgery procedures. He is an owner at Shimkus, Murphy & Lemkuil, Inc. and remains very active in the community. David is involved with West Hartford Rotary and Catholic Charities and serves as Chairman of the Salvation Army board, just to name a few. However, the CTBTA is his passion. He enjoys spending his free time with his family and coaching his children's various sports teams. David holds a B.S from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Stephanie Simmons — Director

LePetitStudio-.jpgStephanie Simmons is the Director of Catering at the Hartford Marriott Downtown. Stephanie has had the privilege of working with multiple nonprofit organizations for many years; offering specific ideas on how to generate revenue for their cause. Her ability to form trusting relationships has been the key to her success. When her high school friend and long-term Brain Tumor survivor Tracey Gamer Fanning asked her to join the board she jumped at the opportunity and is looking forward to bringing her ideas to help the CTBTA in its continued success!

Aisha K. Khan — Director

Aisha Khalid Khan, a CT native, was diagnosed with a Central Neurocytoma for which she underwent a neurosurgical procedure in May of 2014 at Yale New Haven Hospital. After developing total right sided paralysis, she was transferred to Gaylord Hospital for intensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With faith, a sense of humor, and the strong support of a competent medical team and a loving network of family and friends, she was able regain most of her function, now living with and recovering from hemiparesis. Shortly after surgery, she joined the CTBTA as a volunteer and also returned to work full time. She is currently the Director of Academic Affairs, Assistant Professor of Health Science for the University of Bridgeport Physician Assistant Institute and has also returned to clinical practice in Addiction Medicine providing primary care to patients undergoing detoxification at the Recovery Network of Programs.

Aisha enjoys spending her free time with her family and friends and is a blogger and advocate for brain tumor awareness and individuals with disabilities.

 

Cheryl Italia — Director

Headshot-edit.jpgCheryl was the primary caregiver of her husband, Christopher when he was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme IV in May 2014. She learned everything and connected with CTBTA for support through his two year battle.  After losing Chris in May 2016, she joined our staff for 11 months in administrative support and development.   Now she joins our board to continue her fundraising efforts. Cheryl is a Senior Manager for Beautycounter, Santa Monica, California and lives in Rocky Hill with her youngest daughter, Lauren who is a student at Bryant University.  Her oldest son, James is completing his Chemistry PHD from Boston College.  Her son, Nicholas works for Price Waterhouse Cooper in Manhattan, New York.

Alexandra Flowers, MD — Director

IMG_2779.jpgDr. Flowers recently retired after dedicating her professional career to caring for patients with brain tumors. She went to medical school in Bucharest, Romania, completed neurology residency in Buffalo, New York, and neuro-oncology fellowship at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. She worked at the Cleveland Clinic, and in 1996 came to Connecticut as the first fellowship trained neuro-oncologist in the state. In the 21 years as a neuro-oncologist at Hartford Hospital she had the privilege of caring for hundreds of patients with brain tumors and provide support for their families. She spearheaded the creation of the brain tumor survivors support group at Hartford Hospital and was on the organizing committee for the annual Fred Cohen Symposium.

Dr. Flowers has always been an advocate for brain tumor patients and joining the CTBTA Board of Directors allows her to continue this work. She has experience in clinical research and as a Board Member she plans to use her expertise to evaluate research projects to be funded by CTBTA.

Directors Emeritus

The CTBTA extends its sincere gratitude to two of our original Directors, Terry Gamer and Ron Mairano, for their efforts in starting this organization and years of service as Board Members, and to Maria Grove who served for several years as Board President.

Terry Gamer

Terry, together with her daughter, Tracey, worked tirelessly to help launch the CTBTA. A life-long entrepreneur with experience in the newspaper and golf industries, Terry will continue to assist the Board by attracting some of the country's most prestigious golf courses for the CTBTA Golf Tournament Live Auction and creating high-profile events to benefit the CTBTA. Terry resides in West Hartford, CT, and has "two wonderful daughters and five sensational grandchildren."

Ron Mairano

Ron lost his mother-in-law Sue Heath to a Glioblastoma Mutliforme in 2004 and helped form the CTBTA as a way to support others affected by this terrible disease. He has held various executive positions in the insurance industry during the last 25 years, is currently a founding partner at Paragon Insurance Holdings LLC, and will continue to be a valued supporter of the CTBTA.

Maria Grove

Maria Grove lost her mother Katherine Wichlac to a Glioblastoma tumor on February 22, 2012. She had been the primary caretaker of her mother during her very brief battle with cancer. Maria has become very committed to raising awareness of brain tumors and raising funds for research and support.

Former Board Members

The CTBTA thanks the following Board Members for their dedicated service:

  • Kelly Rutherford
  • Kimberly Porter Dowie

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