Board of Directors
President – Nick Consiglio
Nick Consiglio is a founding member of LRL and his very personal motivation for putting so much energy into the organization is simple and yet profound: In 1979 Nick’s best friends Paul & Sharon Dragan’s 4-year old son, P.J., was diagnosed with cancer. “I made a personal promise to P.J. that I would never give up until the day I died in trying to find a cure for childhood cancer. P.J. passed two days after celebrating his 8th birthday,” Nick explains, “I recommitted my vow to him that I would do everything in my power to find that elusive cure.”
Nick has worked tirelessly for the past 42 years in search of that cure and remains as committed as ever to the Kids Without Cancer mission to eradicate childhood cancer. He is currently a Crew Chief on B-52D 55-0677 undergoing restoration at the Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Nick retired in 2017 from Yanfeng Global Automotive Interiors in Plymouth, Michigan as Corporate Manager, Supply Chain Logistics. He has held similar positions over the past 47 years with The Stroh Brewery Company, Ryder Transportation Management, Plastech Engineered Products and Johnson Controls, Inc.
Vice President – Regan O’Connor
“Regan O’Connor serves as our Vice President here at Kids Without Cancer. She is in business development at a global business and technology consulting company and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Her true passion lies in promoting positive change in her community and making a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer.
Regan’s commitment to the cause began early in her career when she managed clinical trials at the University of Chicago Medicine. Her experiences working directly with patients and their families fueled her drive to supporting and advocating for medical research funding. Since then, she has been committed to driving KWC’s mission to fund vital research initiatives and make a meaningful impact in the southeast Michigan community.”
Chris Olzem was attracted to Kid’s Without Cancer’s mission to eradicate childhood cancer by exploring treatment modifications and causes of cancer. Chris’ brother Gary survived childhood Leukemia, but the side effects of his treatments caused brain tumors as an adult. Through research such as those funded by Kids Without Cancer, today’s treatment protocol has been modified and improved. Gary passed away in 2005 at the age of 39 with a wife and two children.
Chris works for Oakland County in the Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs. He along with his wife Audrey and their three children live in Grosse Pointe Woods.
Assistant Treasurer – Lori Dertouzos
Lori and her family have been involved with Kids Without Cancer for several years. Having lost a childhood friend to leukemia, the cause has a special place in her heart. She is honored to be part of an organization that has been committed to raising funds for pediatric cancer research for over thirty years. Lori has worked for nine years in various financial reporting roles at Metaldyne. Previously, she worked as an auditor for Ernst & Young. She is a CPA and graduate of Albion College.
Recording Secretary – Susanne Consiglio
When Susanne moved to Michigan in 1996, she was introduced to LRL by Nick, her husband-to-be at the time. Susanne had always been healthy, no illness in her family, and she wanted to find a way to give back to a worthy organization – one whose mission focused on research. Visits to the oncology unit at Children’s Hospital in Detroit affected her most – listening to young moms and dads telling their stories, learning that their child had been diagnosed with cancer and how this suddenly changed their lives forever. These stories compelled her to do more and to remain committed to Kids Without Cancer. “Having seen toddlers that were once diagnosed with cancer and who were now teenagers in complete remission is what makes it all worthwhile for me”, says Susanne.
Susanne is a registered dietitian in private practice (Nutrition Balance – St Clair Shores, MI) counseling clients to improve their quality of life, and is also the Executive Director of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.
Corresponding Secretary – Mary Ellen Klein
Mary Ellen Klein is a founding member of LRL – she began her crusade against pediatric cancer when, in 1981 her son Danny was being treated for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). “The urgency that you feel as a parent for everything possible to be done for your child is beyond description and this feeling is what inspired me and my husband, Mike, to join resources and ideas with other like parents to make a difference! Although the mission statement of Kids Without Cancer is to eradicate childhood cancer by supporting pediatric cancer research, my personal mission has been to help provide hope to parents going through the experience of a child with cancer knowing that this little army of volunteers cares deeply about improving the future for their child.
Director of Community Relations – Sue Sargent
In June of 1993, our world changed forever when our beautiful 12-year-old daughter Chrissy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The next three months were a roller coaster that no one should have to endure. Chrissy lost her battle less than three months later. Needless to say, we were devastated. I began attending the grievance support group at Children’s Hospital of Michigan where another family mentioned Leukemia, Research, Life. My husband, Jim, and I first attended an LRL Evening of Hope Event in 1996 and have continued to attend ever since.
Initially I felt I had nothing to offer since I had no prior volunteer experience. I could not have been more wrong. I started out attending occasional meetings and now I serve as the Director or Volunteers. I feel very satisfied that I can help raise awareness and funds to eradicate pediatric cancer. We held a fundraiser “Comedy for a Cause” in memory of Chrissy on her 30th birthday; it went so well that it is now an annual fundraiser. I am amazed at how many people, including many of my family and friends, share the vision of KIDS WITHOUT CANCER and are helping us to make it happen!
Sue Sargent lives in Livonia, Michigan with her husband Jim and has a daughter Jill and two grandchildren. Sue has worked for Comerica Bank for over 30 years.
Director, Volunteers – Susan Zaffarano
Susan Zaffarano has been involved with Kids Without Cancer since 2003, after the diagnosis of her son with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Over the last 20 years she has served on the board in several different capacities, most current as Director of Volunteers. She works at Microsoft in the Healthcare and Life Sciences vertical, which focuses on how technology can advance patient care and improve outcomes.
Sue is an avid cyclist and collector of all-things-mid-century-modern – she resides in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Mike is a founding member of LRL – he began his crusade against pediatric cancer when, in 1981 his son Danny was being treated for Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). “The urgency that you feel as a parent for everything possible to be done for your child is beyond description and this feeling is what inspired me to join resources and ideas with other like parents to make a difference! Although the mission statement of Kids Without Cancer is to eradicate childhood cancer by supporting pediatric cancer research, my personal mission has been to help provide hope to parents going through the experience of a child with cancer knowing that this little army of volunteers cares deeply about improving the future for their child
Executive Director – John Smolinski
John Smolinski recently joined Kids Without Cancer as the Executive Director. With over 15 years of experience at General Motors, he has held various leadership positions in Business Development, Business Transformation, Digital Marketing, and Contract Management.
John’s personal connection to the cause stems from his family’s unfortunate experiences with cancer. For the past 7+ years, he and his wife have been actively advocating for orphans, collaborating with organizations that strive to provide children with a chance at life. During their visits to European orphanages, they witnessed not only children without loving families but also children battling cancer without hope and the support of a loving family. This profound experience has fueled John’s determination to make significant strides in the fight against pediatric cancer. Along their journey of advocating for orphans, John and his wife Anna adopted two remarkable children from Latvia three years ago, forever changing their lives. By bringing this kind of transformative change to children affected by cancer, John aims to give them the chance at life they deserve while positively impacting their families.
John eagerly anticipates working closely with communities, doctors, and scientists to drive Kids Without Cancer’s mission of discovering new treatments and cures for pediatric cancer.
President Ex-Offico – Paul Dragan (1948 – 2017)
Paul was a founding member of Leukemia, Research, Life, Inc. (LRL) and its very first President. LRL was born out of the basement of his home in Detroit. He, his wife, their family, and close friends breathed life into the organization. Through his guidance and mentorship, LRL flourished through it’s early development.
His personal motivation that directed him to start such an organization was due to the 1979 diagnoses of leukemia in his 4-year-old son, P.J. Paul poured his heart and soul into fundraising to support research as very little research was being conducted at the time. Unfortunately, P.J. passed away two days after celebrating his 8th birthday. In a living tribute to his son, Paul, continued to support the fundraising efforts of LRL throughout the years. Paul served as a member of the Detroit Police Department for 25 years and then served an additional 25 years with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (BATF). He will always be remembered as our leader as his legacy lives on in Kids Without Cancer.
Financial Advisor – Eric Fox
Eric R. Fox, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, helped establish Hampton, Fox & Associates, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in 2015 with his wife, Jaclyn Fox, and their business partner Shaun Hampton. Their team helps clients meet all of their financial goals by offering a comprehensive approach to their financial, tax, and estate planning needs.
Eric started in the financial industry in 2004 after graduating from Alma College with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Business Administration. He spent the next 11 years with a regional financial planning firm prior to opening his own independent practice in 2015.
Over the course of his career Eric has earned multiple designations that include:
Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) – As a CFP®, Eric has taken extensive exams in financial planning, taxes, insurance, estate planning, and retirement. CFP professionals are also required to complete continuing education programs each year to maintain their certification status.
Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) – ChFC® professionals have displayed a thorough knowledge financial planning, including insurance, income taxation, retirement planning, investments and estate planning.
Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) – CLU® recipients have shown the expertise to provide guidance to clients on types and amounts of life insurance, make recommendations on aspects of risk management, and expert knowledge of various insurance solutions. They also understand the legal aspects of life insurance, and assisting clients in making decisions about estate planning, including various wills and trust arrangements.
Eric grew up in Metro Detroit and currently resides in Grosse Pointe with his wife, Jaclyn, and their son. In his leisure time he enjoys spending time with his friends and family. His hobbies include fishing, hunting, bowling, golfing, hockey, and running.