Our Story

keaton and jarryd

The Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation (NNCCF) formed when two foundations in Reno joined forces and legally merged in 2009. Angel Kiss was founded in 2000, in memory of a five-year-old boy named Jarryd who passed away from leukemia, and the Keaton Raphael Memorial, Reno office, was founded in 2004 in memory of a five-year-old boy named Keaton who passed away from neuroblastoma. Despite their losses, these two families gave hope to others battling childhood cancer.

NNCCF continues to provide hope for local children and their families through financial and emotional assistance. There are only a few requirements for families to receive assistance from NNCCF – the child is under the age of 21, has a confirmed cancer diagnosis, and is a resident of northern Nevada. All programs and services are provided at no cost to the families, and there is not an income requirement to receive services.

Our Mission

It is our mission to enhance the quality of life for children with cancer and their families by providing financial assistance and compassionate support programs, all while advocating for increased research funds and raising public awareness.

 

Our Goals

  1. Alleviate the financial burden and emotional strain that comes with childhood cancer.
  2. Enhance and expand public awareness of childhood cancer.
  3. Promote research to find a cure.
  4. Be proactive in assisting families throughout the treatment journey by connecting them with other local, regional, and national resources.

 

 


NNCCF Team

Mary Powel Photo

Mary Powell

  • Position: Executive Director

Mary Powell is the Executive Director for Northern Nevada Children's Cancer Foundation.  She was raised in Gardnerville, Nevada and graduated from Douglas High School.  After high school she joined the United States Air Force and was stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska.  She was deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom earning her an Achievement Medal.  Following her military career Mary attended both Columbia International University and the University of Alaska, Anchorage studying Psychology and Music Performance.  She returned to northern Nevada in 2014 with her husband and daughter.
Prior to joining Northern Nevada Children's Cancer Foundation Mary has experience in roles that include; Banquet Manager for Hilton Hotels Corporation, Division Peer Coach and Manager for the American Diabetes Association, and Executive Director for JDRF Northern Nevada.

Why I started working at NNCCF:

I love working for organizations that are making a real impact for individuals in need.  NNCCF is touching lives daily and reduces the overwhelming burden of childhood cancer.

About me:

I love surrounding myself with people that challenge me to learn and grow.

Ask me about:

The latest way NNCCF is making a difference.  There are always new stories about the ways generous community members are impacting lives through NNCCF.

What I think is amazing:

The beautiful diversity of our planet.

Something quirky about me:

My favorite part of an ice cream cone is that last melty bit at the bottom of the cone.  Yummy.

My role model:

The many members of our community that make time to volunteer and serve non-profits in addition to their professional and personal obligations.  We could not do it without them.

My favorite quote:

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Lizzie Dalton

  • Position: Grant Specialist

Born and raised in Reno, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Dalton graduated from Galena High School and received her B.S. degree in conservation biology from the University of Nevada, Reno. Before working at NNCCF, Lizzie was the executive director at the Keaton Raphael Memorial. Here she served as a childhood cancer advocate, focusing on family assistance and fundraising for support and research. In 2012, Lizzie was recognized as the University of Nevada’s Outstanding Young Alumnus of the Year for her dedication and efforts in the fight against childhood cancer.

Lizzie lives in Reno with her husband, Patrick, their two children and their dog.  When not working, Lizzie loves skiing, backpacking, road trips, the beach and spending time with friends and family.

As the grant specialist at NNCCF, Lizzie is responsible for conducting the full range of activities required to research, prepare, submit, and manage grant proposals to private and corporate foundations.

Why I started working at NNCCF:

I was ready for something new, something unique and something that would make a positive difference on the lives of local families. I was born in Reno, love this community and want to make it a better place to live.

About me:

When I was a kid, I was pretty sure I was going to be the first female Major League baseball player or Jane Goodall’s protégé.

Ask me about:

Childhood cancer support services, raising twins, backpacking, car camping and info about skiing around Lake Tahoe.

What I think is amazing:

Nature and the human body.

Something quirky about me:

I can list all 50 US states in alphabetical order. Thank you Mr. Mobley my 5th grade teacher!

My role model:

My awesome mom! She is a fun-loving, beautiful and strong woman who has always been there for my family and me. She has taught me the importance of family, friends, independence, adventure, education, helping others and so much more.

My favorite quote:

“Live Happy” – Kristin Katich Sumbot

Joan Carpenter

  • Position: Volunteer Extraordinaire

Joan and her twin sister were born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. She graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a BA in education with a Major in Physical Education and minor in Art. She continued at UNR earning a MEd in Secondary Education and an MA in Counseling and Guidance. Joan taught a year at Herlong High School in California
and taught 35 years at Procter R. Hug High School, retiring in 2006.

Joan retired from teaching and began volunteering with NNCCF. Though she's technically "not on the payroll" we consider her staff. At NNCCF, Joan inputs all donor transactions into our database, produces donor receipts and thank yous and helps at events when she can. She is a staple to our team and we don't know what we'd do without her!

Why I started volunteering (working) at NNCCF:

After a couple years of retirement I realized I missed having a routine, helping others, and just being in a social atmosphere. I was lucky when a friend of mine suggested I apply to volunteer at NNCCF. Truly, my lucky day. In my eight years, NNCCF has more than doubled in staff and office space. I am the oldest member of the staff but the others make me feel young. What a warm, caring, and generous group I get to be a part of.

About me:

When I'm not at NNCCF you can find me painting with my Botanical Buddies, making snuggle buddies for care packages, or trying to keep up with our grandson. I am a short, little tenacious person. If there is a problem or something is broken I won’t stop until I solve or fix it.
Helping others is rewarding to me.

Ask me about:

What an older person can add or offer to a group of young professionals.

What is amazing to me:

When our children, clients, come to the office almost always smiling, and laughing and my knowing what they have or will be going through in treatment.

Something quirky about me:

I like to vacuum. Yes, it gives me time to exercise, think, and accomplish something all at once.

My role model:

My parents.

My favorite quote:

"A friend is a gift you give yourself." - Robert Louis Stevenson

Whitney Pomi

  • Position: Director of Programs and Services
Whitney Pomi is a Nevada native and originally from Churchill County. She attended the University of Nevada, Reno and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in 2008. Whitney has an extensive background working with children and families. She started her career working at Renown and after four years moved to the county, then for the Child Advocacy Center for three years. She joined the NNCCF team in June and is a perfect fit! Whitney enjoys being outside, listening to music, good food and Friday night “family movie night” with her two daughters.

As the Director of Programs and Services, Whitney assists with family navigation through financial and emotional support and oversees the Family Assistance program and Inspire Scholarship program. She also provides support for families to cope with bereavement. Whitney and the Programs and Services team orchestrate family events and activities as well as manage holiday assistance through the Adopt a Family program.

 

Why I started working at NNCCF:

I adore children and families! As well, I heard that NNCCF was an amazing organization and I wanted to join the team.

About me:

I love to laugh… a true belly/soul laugh is the greatest gift you can give or receive.

Ask me about:

Anything, I enjoy learning or sharing what I know.

What I think is amazing:

Human beings! I think people are fascinating – how we interact, build, think, relate and change. The human journey is so unique.

Something quirky about me:

I love vacuum-lines in the carpet and I find them deeply satisfying.

My Role Model:

I’m blessed with too many to count.

My Favorite Quote:

“It always seems impossible until it is done.” - Nelson Mandela

Lisa Shaffer

  • Position: Director of Community Engagement

Lisa studied Communications at San Jose State University.  Immediately after, she worked as a Sales Representative for a large electronics distributor in Silicon Valley.  After four years, Lisa transferred to the Raleigh, NC branch in order to relocate with her husband and family. Lisa lived on the east coast for twelve years both in Raleigh, NC and Windham, NH. Then eight years ago Lisa returned to the west to make Northern Nevada a home for her and her four children.  Lisa came from the east coast as a newly licensed Realtor and worked herself into the Real Estate community finding a lot of success, especially working in relocation services.  However, the down turn in the market then drove her to search for a new passion.  Lisa has found that passion at NNCCF.

At NNCCF, Lisa is responsible for the management and recruitment of corporate and community partners.  While creatively building mutually benefiting partnerships with our many community supporters, Lisa also implements our community awareness and advocacy campaign in our region.

Why I started working at NNCCF:

Unlike most of us, I do not come to the Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation with a cancer story. I was working with a recruiter and was told about the position and job description. I was so excited and I thought to myself ‘finally” a place I can hang my hat, so to speak. The rest is history, I often say I came and I saw and I’ve never looked back.

Ask me about:

Whether you are a community partner, a young person looking for direction, one of our clients with special needs or corporate sponsor I have an idea, opportunity or connection that I can bring to the table. I have found that I view my job and career as a garden and if it is constantly tended to and watered and the soil is nurtured and cultivated our NNCCF garden just grows and grows.

What I think is amazing:

I think the outdoors and places like Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon are amazing. The birth of new life is amazing. As I watch my children turn into young adults and wonderful people that give me a warm and wonderful feeling that could be called amazing.

Something quirky about me:

I love loud, cool, up beat music, I love laughing with my children. My son Christopher and I often lose it completely with humor and laughing.

Desiree Henderson

  • Position: Office Manager

Desiree grew up in Reno and left for college in Southern California. She swore she would never return, but after becoming a mommy of two, she is back! The pull of Reno and family couldn’t be resisted. Desiree married a Navy guy and spent three years living in Italy, and a few more years living all over the U.S until she finally settled down back where she started in good ol’ Reno. Desiree has a background in event production from the administrative angle and as a customer associate for a financial advisor.

Desiree is the bookkeeper at NNCCF and is responsible for reporting the financial status to the Board of Directors.

Why I started working at NNCCF:

I love NNCCF! My first introduction was as a family. My daughter was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma and we got to experience the love and support of the people here. There is nothing like it anywhere else and I am so honored to be able to go full circle and help others feel the love.

About me:

I am just a normal kind of girl who loves being outside, as long as I’m wearing buckets of sunscreen. I spend most of my time as a kid wrangler, but will read just about any book I can get my hands on.

Ask me about:

Travelling! I love all things exploring different cities and cultures. I spent a month backpacking through eastern and western Europe, along with many other shorter trips. I have checked over 25 countries off my bucket list.

What I think is amazing:

The resilience of kids and families. I am always floored when I see kids going through cancer, just being kids despite all the hard stuff. Go ahead and use that squirt gun on the Oncology doc!

Something quirky about me:

Just one thing…I am all kinds quirky!

lindsey-gross

Lindsey Gross

  • Position: Marketing Coordinator

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada, Lindsey moved up-state to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. Lindsey worked in brand management, graphic design, and marketing before she joined the NNCCF team. She enjoys painting, reading and keeping her black Labrador Sadie entertained.

As the Marketing Coordinator, Lindsey wears many hats along with her heart on her sleeve. She is responsible for building and maintaining close relationships with donors, media, and community partners. She also manages our social media accounts, find us at @NVKidsCancer.

 

Why I started working at NNCCF:

When I was given the opportunity to join the NNCCF team, I didn’t hesitate. The staff is determined to put good into the world and include anyone and everyone to help.

About me:

It is fairly simple to make me happy, I just need three things: loving company, yummy food and a good time. I enjoy reading, my favorite genre is historical fiction. During football season my boyfriend will be watching the game while I’m curled up with a blanket and a book.

Ask me about:

How to get involved with our foundation - there are many ways and we would love to include you.

What I think is amazing:

It is such a small world. Every day I am blown away by how connected we can be and how large distances feel small.

Something quirky about me:

I can hold a conversation with a brick wall – metaphorically speaking. I am very talkative and genuinely believe it’s how I process things. Also, my laugh is borderline witch-cackle.

My Role Model:

My parents. They are loving, caring and imperfect. My parents helped make me the person I am today.

My Favorite Quote:

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Jessica Langley

  • Position: Community Outreach Coordinator
My name is Jessica Langley, but you can call me Jess! I am a Native Nevadan who has always had a strong passion for giving back and helping others. Instead of pursuing a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, I chose to follow my heart and get involved in the non-profit community here in Reno after graduating from the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.  I absolutely love staying active and trying new things. When I’m not working, you can find me in the mountains with Leroy, my chocolate lab, or spending time with my amazing family and friends. I love smiling and spreading positivity wherever I go. After-all, life’s too short not to!

 

Why I started working at NNCCF:

I joined NNCCF’s team to be a part of something bigger than myself. Growing up I had multiple friends pass away from various forms of cancer. It is because of them that I started Love Your Melon at UNR and why I wake up each day excited and determined to be their advocate and to spread childhood cancer awareness.

Ask me about:

Anything! I love talking more than any human ever should.

What I think is amazing:

Our community and the people who live here. I am reminded daily of how kind, positive and amazing our community is. I feel so honored to serve them!

Something quirky about me:

I love strangers! I strongly believe that strangers are only friends I have yet to meet. I love listening to others’ life stories and finding a way to connect with them.

My Role Model:

My Mom! She has taught me how to give more than I receive, ALWAYS. For that I am incredibly grateful. She can light up any room she enters and makes friends wherever she goes. If I grow up to be half the woman and mother she was to me, I will have succeeded.

My Favorite Quote:

“Live a little, love a lot.” –Kenny Chesney

Angie Medina

  • Position: Programs and Services Coordinator
Angie Medina dedicated the last five years to helping our community and families in need, and worked for the Food Bank of Northern Nevada. Angie was born and raised in Reno and doesn’t plan on leaving, ever. While at the Food Bank, Angie worked as the Receptionist, Mobile Harvest Coordinator, and Volunteer Coordinator. Angie has a true passion for helping those in need and going above and beyond for our community.

 

Why I started working at NNCCF:

I started working for NNCCF due to my passion and desire of helping families in need. I will do anything and everything to put a smile on a child’s face.

About me:

I love spending my free time at Michaels Craft store.

Ask me about:

You can ask me about all Superheroes and Disney movies.

What I think is amazing:

I think it’s amazing how strong and intelligent children are.

Something quirky about me:

I love the smell of Play-Doh.

My Role Model:

My role model would have to be my son Dominick, he is always so happy, loving and energetic. His energy never dies!

 My Favorite Quote:

“It’s not where you start but where you finish that counts” – Zig Ziglar

See all Staff Members

Board of Directors

Meet our Board of Directors

Interested in joining the NNCCF Board?
Send us your information

Why Kites?

NNCCF uses kites to serve as a symbol of hope and childhood innocence.

Kites help signify that children will persevere through cancer, like a kite against strong winds, with joy, innocence, and imagination.

 Annual Report

NNCCF KidsCheck out our annual report. Learn about our 2017 accomplishments and the donors who made them possible.

2017 Annual Report

NNCCF 2015 990