The people who
MEET THE RIVKIN CENTER TEAM
Our staff runs the day-to-day operations of the organization and is devoted to helping raise funds and awareness within the community.
MEET OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Rivkin Center Board of Directors works to guide the passion of our staff, researchers, and all our contributors, and makes it possible for us to support ovarian cancer research around the world.
Founder and Chairman
Executive Director, Swedish Cancer Institute
Immediate Past President
Senior VP & Director
Public Health Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Washington Trust Bank
GYN Oncologist, Pacific Gynecology Specialists
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Edward L. Fisher Investment Co.
Swedish Cancer Institute
Director International for Amazon Echo
Sales Result, Inc.
Director of Advancement, Northwest Yeshiva High School
VP Finance and Administration
Executive Director, Women’s Services,
Swedish Health Services
Maternal-Fetal Medicine Physician
Chief Commercial Officer
CEO and Founder, Seattle Sun Tan
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Overlake Medical Center
Pacific Gynecology Specialists
General Manager, Windows and Devices Marketing
Senior Vice President of Marketing, Brand, and Partner Communications
Starbucks Coffee Company
Ex Officio :
Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer
Associate Dean for Translational Health Sciences
University of Washington
MEET OUR SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD
The Rivkin Center strives for excellence in our scientific programming. Our Scientific Advisory board guides the work we do and helps shape our vision for the future of ovarian cancer research. The Board is led by Dr. Mary L. (Nora) Disis, MD, our Scientific and Medical Director, and consists of nationally recognized experts in ovarian cancer research.
MEET OUR CANCAN INSTRUCTORS
The Rivkin Center’s CanCan program provides free ovarian and breast health education workshops.
Kristin, a BRCA1 mutation carrier, was diagnosed with aggressive triple negative breast cancer just one week after her 28th birthday. Fortunately, Kristin’s case was caught very early, and a treatment regimen of chemotherapy and surgery left her disease free. Kristin merged her graduate education in immunology with her passion for advancing cancer therapy and now works at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to develop immunotherapy treatments for ovarian cancer patients. She joined the Rivkin Center team as a CanCan Instructor and Facilitator to raise awareness about the value of early detection and to empower others to be confident self-advocates with respect to healthcare.
Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27. Her research focus had always been HIV, but after her diagnosis, she was fortunate to find a job working in breast cancer research at Cancer Prevention Institute of California. Working with CanCan seemed like a natural fit since she found her malignant lump while doing a self-breast examination. Fortunately, her mother suggested she consult the doctor who diagnosed her with Stage 1 breast cancer. Helen’s motto is, “a woman’s genius is her intuition” and her goal is that every women she educates adopts the same motto.
Becoming a CanCan breast and ovarian health instructor for The Rivkin Center has brought Claudia’s work full circle. Claudia has been a health advocate and dance movement specialist for over 25 years and teaches a specialized movement and exercise program to breast cancer and other cancer survivors.
Elizabeth, PT, PA-C, BCC, is a certified life coach, wellness educator and community developer. She started her health career in physical therapy, then trained in primary care medicine, surgery and rehabilitation medicine. She now works with teens, young adults, physicians and emerging and established leaders in diverse professions and organizations, with a strong interest in keeping women healthy.
Lauren is the CanCan health educator in the sunny, bustling Los Angeles area. Lauren is a proud ‘Triple Bruin’ finishing her UCLA undergraduate career in 2012 and currently pursuing her Masters in Public Health and Masters in Social Welfare at UCLA. While a CanCan student ambassador in 2015, Lauren was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and used the CanCan tools to be a self-advocate for her own body. Lauren is ecstatic to empower LA communities to advocate for their health and to promote early detection of breast and ovarian cancer, aka the lady cancers.
As the Fitness and Wellness Director at the Peninsula Jewish Community Center Vicki’s primary objective is to design wellness programs that address the needs of her community. In 2012 Vicki designed a post operative breast cancer exercise program. As an instructor working with patients every day, Vicki is well aware of the complications derived from breast cancer. Vicki is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine holding 4 certifications – Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer, Exercise is Medicine, Health Fitness Director, and Exercise Physiologist. She is also a certified Breast Cancer Exercise Trainer through the Pink Ribbon Program, and is a Cancan Health Instructor and Survivor for the Rivkin Center.
Sarena Perez is a stage III ovarian cancer survivor who is considered medically “cured” since being cancer free for 5 years. While going through treatment, Sarena started her own support group for women in her area under the age of 40 also fighting cancer. She is a full time student hoping to transfer to UC Berkeley in the spring of 2020 to complete her baccalaureate in psychology. She hopes one day to become a therapist who serves the AYA cancer population. Sarena is passionate about educating women about their cancer risk and in her free time enjoys traveling the world and hanging out with her long-haired dachshund, Pierre. Sarena is based out of Oakland, CA.
MEET OUR CANCAN FACILITATORS
Katrina is an eight-year, three-time survivor of breast cancer. Her mother and aunt had breast cancer, her sister is a four-year survivor and a cousin has been in ongoing treatment for the past three years. She is the mother of four children (two biological and two adopted). She taught herself how to work, repair and build computers in the early 70’s and ran a computer lab for a non-profit for many years. She is a peer counselor for other breast cancer survivors. And like the hurricane she loves being forceful in telling women to get their mammograms.
Julie attended UW nursing school, after she worked 12 years in acute care (med surg/labor and delivery/critical care) at UW Med Center. Following that, she worked 20 years in the medical device industry in varying roles of sales, sales support, educator, medical liaison and research. In October 2015, Julie was diagnosed with Stage 3C ovarian cancer after it was discovered during an MRI for a groin injury. She underwent debunking surgery and 6 rounds of chemo ending in March 2016. Julie is now NED and has returned to all the activities of her life before cancer (e.g. cycling and hiking). She feels great and is excited to be involved in efforts to educate women about this disease.
Gail Fay is a freelance editor/writer as well as a reader, exerciser, nature lover, photographer dabbler, sports fanatic, dog person, and two-time ovarian cancer survivor. After a life-changing week at an Epic Experience camp for adult cancer survivors, Gail decided to start giving back in the cancer community. She’s now an Epic Experience volunteer, both at the adventure camps and as the wordsmith of all things written. In October 2017, Gail joined the CanCan team as a facilitator at UCLA, her alma mater.
Stacy is a Bay Area native and health education advocate. In her 27- year career, she’s worked as a communicable disease intervention specialist, wellness coach, and now as a training coordinator for homecare providers. Her mother lost her battle with breast cancer at age 48. Starting at age 30, Stacy began annual mammograms and hoped to make it to her 50th birthday, breast cancer-free. However, in 2012, at age 49, Stacy was diagnosed by “routine” mammogram and lumpectomy with Stage O breast cancer. Fueled by her mother’s legacy and with the support of family, friends, and an amazing medical team, she chose to undergo BRCA testing, bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. Stacy believes every person’s journey is their own. Her mantra, “knowledge is power” inspires her to educate and support others to know their options making their health decisions with information, confidence and grace.
Michelle was diagnosed with stage 0 (ductal carcinoma in situ) breast cancer at the age of 37. Her breast cancer was detected through early mammogram screening, which she advocated for because of her family history. Her great aunt passed away from breast cancer and her mother is also a breast cancer survivor. Michelle is grateful that early detection saved her life and she hopes that her story will help other women know the importance of their family history and take a proactive approach to their healthcare.
Kristin House was diagnosed with Stage 2+ breast cancer 2 months after her 38th birthday. At that time she was a single parent of nine-year-old Henry. She had a long, rigorous course of treatments including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and breast reconstruction.
During her early her treatments, Kristin said she would ‘kick cancer to the curb’ and she did. Now seven+ years past her diagnosis and treatment, she is healthy and active. She works as a Paralegal, has her own small clothing design business and is raising a teenager!
Kristin works with CanCan to educate and inspire, to dispel the myth and fears about breast cancer and, most importantly, to support women of all ages to know their bodies, be their own best advocates in all ways, including healthcare and finding life balance.
Jessica is originally from a small town in northern Alabama. She is an Air Force veteran and now a senior at Arizona State University. Jessica served 6 years as an Aircraft Structural Maintainer for the F-16 fighter jet and have been all over the world. She decided to separate from the military in 2016 to pursue medicine. Jessica is currently a Health Sciences major and plans on pursuing a career in trauma surgery. Her mother died of breast cancer when she was only 9 years old. In 2014, Jessica decided to have genetic testing and found she was BRCA 2 positive. After considering many options, Jessica decided to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy at the young age of 24. Her personal breast cancer risk went from 98% down to less than 5%. Jessica knew that she could not let breast cancer stop her from fulfilling her dreams of becoming a surgeon so she took a drastic, proactive step. Jessica is passionate about showing other women in her shoes that no matter what their risks may be, they are still in control of their future and can take proactive action against cancer.
Emily was breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter for the last time; two hours later she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32. Emily, a BRCA1 gene carrier, finished her treatment in 2007, and gives back through CanCan and The SCAR Project, which she is featured in. You can learn more at www.scarproject.org. Emily feels empowered by working to educate others about the risks of breast cancer and to bring awareness about the realities of the disease.
In 2009, Marcy participated in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer as a way of honoring her mother who passed away from Ovarian Cancer at the age of 65. It was at that event that she felt a fake lump in a fake, rubber breast. Three years later, after a routine mammogram, she was diagnosed with Stage Zero DCIS. She had a lumpectomy with radiation. Six months after completing radiation, she found a lump in her other breast. Upon learning it was Stage 2 invasive breast cancer, she decided to undergo a bilateral mastectomy. She recovered quickly and credits her good health to early detection and excellent health care. Her goal is to educate other women of the importance of knowing their own bodies and being their own medical advocates.
Heather was diagnosed with breast cancer at 41. She is a mother of two beautiful boys, ages 6 and 2. After nursing her oldest for almost three years, she was surprised by the problems she had nursing Chase his first 6 months. In January of 2008, when Chase was six months old, she found her lump while rubbing out recurrent plugged milk ducts. After weeks of research and a crash course in cancer study, Heather was happy to learn that while her cancer was invasive, it was slow growing and non-aggressive in form. She had a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy. The support that came pouring in during her cancer journey has fueled her to give back as often as she can. She’s walked the Komen 3-Day walk, loving her time with CanCan and enjoying all the playful adventures that two young boys bring to her life.
In 2011, Sachia was looking for a 5K to race as motivation to keep running; she had no family history of cancer or connection to the Rivkin Center. She found the Swedish SummeRun and has captained a team ever since. Six years after her first SummeRun, her gynecologist felt a mass during a routine gynecological exam. She had no symptoms other than minor bloating and dull low back pain. Following an ultrasound, CT scan, and hysterectomy, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, stage IIA. In July 2017—three weeks after her last chemotherapy treatment—Sachia walked the SummeRun, still team captain of Team MidCentury Modern. She is motivated to spread the word that cancer doesn’t just happen to “other people,” and that regular medical screenings can save your life.
Nancy was 35 years old and the mom of two boys, ages 5 and 6 ½, when she was diagnosed in December of 2007 after finding her own lumps. With a common but more aggressive form of breast cancer she underwent several months of treatments including chemo, mastectomy and radiation, and like many women, had no family history. Her goal is to educate others on breast cancer health and remind everyone to enjoy life and appreciate its treasures.
Michelle is a breast cancer survivor of five years. She found her cancer at age 44 through mammography, and luckily, it was still in 0 stage. She received a lumpectomy and eight weeks of radiation and became a yoga and mat Pilates instructor.
In 2008, Ilyse attended a CanCan party and began performing monthly self- exams. Three years later, at age 41, despite having no family history, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She continued to work full time at Microsoft, raise three children, and run a half marathon while undergoing a unilateral mastectomy, six months of chemotherapy and three reconstructive surgeries. She credits her current good health to early detection, and wants to educate other women so that they can have the opportunity for the same successful outcome.
When Jeanna turned 40 she was determined to walk her first Susan G. Komen 60 mile 3day in honor of her Grandmother who passed away from breast cancer. Within 2 weeks of completing the walk, during a self-exam she found that something didn’t feel “right” in her left breast. At her annual doctor appointment, her doctor felt the lump that she was feeling and sent her right away for a mammogram which was immediately followed by a biopsy. On Halloween 2012, while in the middle of a 3rd grade class party for one of her sons, she got the call that no one ever wants to get – the biopsy came back positive for breast cancer. Luckily it was found early enough for her to be a candidate for a lumpectomy and with her negative BRCA testing and low scoring “oncotype” testing, she escaped the devastation of chemotherapy. She completed 8 weeks of radiation and is now receiving hormone therapy. She has since been very vocal in her local community, especially within her boys’ schools (now ages 10 & 13) sharing how imperative early detection is and urging women to have their mammograms AND to do regular self breast exams. She’s excited and grateful to be a part of CanCan, inspired to spread the word about early detection and to empower women with valuable, life-saving information.
MEET OUR CAMPUS AMBASSADORS
Washington State University
Bella is a junior at Washington State University majoring in Biology with a minor in Psychology. This past year breast cancer greatly impacted her family when her grandfather was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer which motivated Bella to become an advocate in taking care of one’s own health. She is looking forward to working as an ambassador this year to educate her fellow Cougs on breast cancer awareness and provide them with the education to support their health. Whenever Bella isn’t working or studying she enjoys camping and surrounding herself with friends and family.
University of Washington
Gabby is a Junior at UW studying Public Health. Gabby heard of The Rivkin Center her freshman year after her sorority had a CanCan party, and she enjoyed how easy and fun it was to learn about her body and women’s health! Gabby applied to be a Campus Ambassador because she is working towards a career in the healthcare field and believes that education is crucial to bettering people’s lives. This year she am looking forward to attending all the CanCan parties that she coordinate so that she can see the work she has in and watch how an event like so can educate and positively impact college students at UW.
University of Utah
Nursing, minor in Pediatric Clinical Research
Sarah is a sophomore at the University of Utah. She is pursuing a degree in Nursing and a minor in Pediatric Clinical Research. Sarah has always been passionate about women’s health, especially because of her experiences with cancer and how it has affected many of her family and friends’ lives. Sarah is very involved on campus and in the community and saw CanCan as the perfect opportunity to reach out and make sure women know how to live their healthiest and happiest lives.
Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology
Isabella Shahmirza, commonly known as Izzy, is a third year at UCLA studying Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, with a minor in Spanish. Izzy is extremely passionate about the oncology field, initially being inspired by her mom who is an oncology nurse. Izzy is super excited to be one of the CanCan Ambassadors for UCLA; seeing a cancer-free world motivated her to become an Ambassador. She knows that education is a key factor to bring awareness to a disease that affects too many people! She wants to educate women and men, as well as get educated herself, about ovarian and breast cancer to hopefully decrease the number of those diagnosed and to motivate others to take their health into their own hands. Izzy loves to spend time with her family and friends, as well as her dog Toby, play sports, especially basketball, explore the outdoors, and she loves to smile:)
University of Utah
Business Management, Anthropology
Paige is a sophomore at the University of Utah studying Business Management with a minor in Anthropology. Paige is from Southern California and is from a big family. She enjoys snowboarding, kickboxing, surfing, and yoga. She is in the Women in Business Club and Pi Beta Phi sorority. She has a passion for women’s and children’s health. Paige was drawn to CanCan because although not personally affected by cancer she has had family members and close friends that have survived, been diagnosed, or been lost to breast cancer. So when she saw this position, it was something that hit too close to home to not apply. Paige couldn’t be more excited to combine her passion for women’s health and education into one and help women in Salt Lake become more informed about their bodies.
University of Oregon
Frances is a junior at the University of Oregon, studying advertising within the School of Journalism and Communication. She has always been interested in the medical field, and loved her time as a University of Washington Medical Center volunteer. She spent most of her time in the Emergency Room and on assignment at the Reproductive Care Center. As a Seattle native, she is a huge supporter of Swedish Hospital and is proud to say that she was born in the same building as the Rivkin Center! She can’t wait to join the CanCan team and spread awareness to the University of Oregon community about women’s health.
Washington State University
Criminal Justice and Political Science
Taylor is a senior at Washington State University majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in Political Science. Although not directly affected by cancer, she is aware of the devastating impacts it can have on those she knows around her. Ever since freshman year of college, the CanCan party is one she has looked forward to every year. So, when the position opened up, she knew it was her opportunity to make a difference in the Pullman community. Taylor is so excited to be a part of such an amazing organization. When Taylor is not studying or working, she is involved in her sorority, spending time with family, or attending concerts with friends!
Biology and Global Health
Larissa is a third year Biology major and Global Health minor. She is interested in pursuing a career in women’s health which is why the CanCan program really interested her. She had never been apart of something like the CanCan program before but the mission really resonated with her desire to spread self-advocacy. She is excited about having the opportunity to not only spread knowledge and awareness on campus but to also empower other women.
University of California, Berkeley
Molecular and Cell Biology and Neurobiology
University of Arizona
Human Biology and Society
Jessie is currently a junior at the University of Arizona. She is majoring in Public Health and Minoring in Special Education with an Emphasis in Deaf Studies. Jessie first heard about CanCan while attending a party on campus. Having grown up in a family where cancer was rarely talked about, she immediately fell in love with CanCan’s mission. Jessie truly believes that knowledge is the best preventative measure. She looks forward to educating a diverse audience at the University of Arizona on the importance of prevention and early detection through self-advocacy and awareness. In her free time, Jessie enjoys working out, traveling and watching Netflix.
Arizona State University
Biology and Society
Rainey Horwitz is a Senior student in Barrett, The Honors College at ASU majoring in Biology and Society. She a pre-med student (recently look her MCATS) that is involved in on campus women’s reproductive health historical research with The Embryo Project. She is a Kappa Alpha Theta member and will be graduating in May 2018! Rainy loves how the Cancan educators make complicated and intimidating medical concepts extremely accessible to all audiences! Cancan has given her the opportunity to spread awareness of reproductive health issues in her community, something that she hopes she can continue into her future career!
Arizona State University
Biological Sciences with a concentration in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
Pnina is a sophomore at Arizona State University, pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and aspires to attend medical School. She heard about CanCan through her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta. Her passion for women empowerment was her drive for getting involved with CanCan and remains to be the drive for her ambitions in everyday life. She is a strong believer that women deserve to be respected and heard in every aspect of life, especially healthcare. She is very excited to be part of the team and raise awareness on the ASU campus.
University of Colorado, Boulder
Neuroscience and Psychology
Katelynn is a sophomore at the University of Colorado Boulder studying Neuroscience and Psychology on the Pre-Med track. She is from Chicago, Illinois and enjoys skiing, ice cream, and playing with her dogs. Katelynn first heard about CanCan through her sorority, Alpha Phi, and her passion for helping others as well as her family connection to the cause has driven her to become a CanCan ambassador for her school. She believes this organization is important because it raises awareness and evokes conversation about topics that affect so many people today. With CanCan, she hopes to continue raising awareness in a fun and effective way so that women can lead healthy and happy lives.
University of Arizona
Elena is a proud Wildcat at the University of Arizona (Bear Down!). She is originally from Los Angeles, CA and loves the adventure of the southwest. She’s currently a junior studying Public Policy with a minor in Environmental Studies. Elena became a CanCan ambassador because she believes that education and supportive communities are the first steps in beating all forms of cancer.
Rhiannon La Londe
Washington State University
Nursing, minoring in Psychology
Rhiannon is a junior at Washington State University majoring in Nursing with a minor in Psychology. She is from Monroe, Washington and in her free time enjoys running, playing with her dogs, and spending time with friends and family. Rhiannon first heard about the CanCan program through her sorority, Gamma Phi Beta. She looks forward to being a Campus Ambassador and helping educate fellow Cougs on risks, prevention methods, and signs and symptoms of ovarian and breast cancer.