Oligo Nation Virtual Inspiration Event
The Oligo Nation Inspiration Event celebrates doctors and leaders in the brain cancer research space, recognizes courageous individuals who are battling brain cancer, and shares some of the exciting medical breakthroughs on the horizon. Proceeds from this event will help Oligo Nation fund the critical research needed to help fight brain tumors.
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To many, Heather Thomson is an adored reality star from the hit Bravo reality series, The Real Housewives of New York City, but what many don’t know is that she is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and recently launched her nutritionary and beyond fresh organic nutrition brands, developed to educate and support people making positive and sustainable changes impactful to their health and wellbeing. The real Heather wears many hats, including inventor, entrepreneur, designer, philanthropist, speaker, athlete and avid adventurer.
Heather says, “by utilizing over 25 years of hands on experience, building businesses, working with high-profile celebrities and being on RHONY, in contrast with my exciting endeavors as an adventurer and philanthropist – I take a unique approach to leadership, teamwork, trust, confidence, wellness, nutrition, and inspiration. As a health coach and founder of Beyond Fresh, Heather focuses on a holistic, science-based, easy-to-follow approach to nutrition that can help you lose weight and prevent disease. Heathers recent adventures include: An off the grid expedition to Patagonia, a 16 day, 21,000’ ascent in Nepal’s Himalayas and the summiting of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.
As a wellness presenter, Heather has delivered keynotes for Fortune 500 companies, joined various panel discussions as an expert on news channels from CNN to MSNBC, as well as holding health and wellness retreats with partners such as, Miraval Spa and Resort, Canyon Ranch, and Hilton Head Health.
Lisa M. DeAngelis, MD
Lisa M. DeAngelis, MD, is Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK). She oversees all clinical services, research, medical education, and multi-center collaborations for MSK, including the 500-bed Memorial Hospital, 13 outpatient facilities in New York City, and seven regional care sites across New York and New Jersey.
Dr. DeAngelis is an internationally recognized expert in brain cancer and the neurological complications of cancer treatment, including cognitive impairment and stroke. During her thirty-year tenure at MSK, she served as chair of the Department of Neurology from 1997 to 2018, and co-founded MSK’s Brain Tumor Center, where experts from across MSK work to bring new discoveries from the lab to patients as quickly as possible.
Dr. DeAngelis’ own research has focused on primary brain tumors and she has led several clinical trials that investigate new tumor therapies. She also helped develop the current regimen to treat primary central nervous system lymphoma.
She is the author of more than 300 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 130 book chapters and has written or edited eight books. Dr. DeAngelis is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. She is a fellow of the American Neurological Association (ANA) and former Vice Chair of the Board. She is also a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), which in 2019 awarded her the organization’s highest honor, the Wartenberg lecture.
Dr James Perri is a 48-year-old emergency medicine physician residing just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina with his 16-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter. James grew up in Manalapan New Jersey, not far from the shore and New York City. After high school, James went on to attend the University of Notre Dame with two of his best friends since elementary school and current Oligo Nation board members Pat Hanlon and Mike Masone.
After graduating from Notre Dame, James returned to NJ to attend medical school. During his second year of medical school (24 years ago) he began having seizures. An MRI revealed a mass in the temporal lobe of his brain. James had surgery to remove the mass at Mass General, and pathology trooper revealed an oligodendroglioma.
Despite the surgery and diagnosis, James was back working in the hospital in less than ten days. He has since received follow-up care at Memorial Sloan Kettering and has been under the treatment of Dr. Lisa DeAngelis for over 20 years. During that time, he had a few rounds of chemotherapy, two rounds of radiation, and two more brain surgeries. The two surgeries were performed by Dr. Kevin Judy at the University of Penn and last year at Thomas Jefferson Hospital.
During this journey, about ten years ago his family and friends founded a 501c3 charity- Operation Oligo Cure- to raise money specifically to fund a definitive cure for oligodendrogliomas. This year Operation Oligo Cure and Oligo Nation decided to merge their operations and strengthen their chances to find a cure for this lethal disease.
Elizabeth Schille, RN, OCN
Elizabeth Schille has been working in the department of neurology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for 20 years. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and received her BSN at Wagner College in Staten Island.
Liz always had a passion for health care and when she received the opportunity to work at MSKCC after graduation she knew this would be a lifelong career choice. She holds an Oncology Nursing Certification degree and has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She has dedicated her career to caring for neuro-oncology patients and their caregivers working to make a difference in battling brain cancer and improving cancer care.
Liz currently lives in NYC with her husband and their golden retriever King. She speaks Norwegian and enjoys spending time in nature, taking long walks, listening to music and traveling.
Cristy Lucke moved to New York City with her husband and their two sons in February of 2016. Three months after their move, Cristy’s husband awoke to her having a grand mal seizure in her sleep and called 911. A CAT scan quickly discovered a large mass on her right frontal lobe of her brain. Under the care of Dr. John Boockvar Cristy was diagnosed with an oligodendroglioma. Thankfully, the tumor was removed successfully, and no further cancer treatment was recommended at that time.
In January of 2018, Cristy attended an intense bootcamp called Flatiron School to start a new career as a software developer and was hired as a software developer for JP Morgan Chase later that year. A few months after starting her new job, Cristy experienced a resurgence of low-level seizure activity and sought treatment again from her previous epilepsy doctor, Dr. Derek Chong.
A year later, Cristy got the dreaded call that she should make an appointment with oncologist Dr. Deborah Gruber immediately because the tumor had returned in the same spot. She met with Dr. Boockvar, and this time, the brain surgery was followed with chemo-radiation and 6 rounds of chemo that were completed in June of this year. Cristy is a true warrior.
Eric Mulkowsky is a proud father to his 14-year-old daughter, Abby. He was born in New York City, and grew up in New Jersey where his parents, brother-in-law, niece and nephew still reside. Eric’s professional career involves working with non-profit and for-profit organizations to improve their strategies and effectiveness.
In 2014, Eric’s family got the tragic news that his younger sister Mara had a deadly brain tumor. Despite terrific care and a heroic battle, Mara passed away only 18 months after her diagnosis. In late 2017, Eric collapsed in his office, and was transported to the hospital. Later that day he was diagnosed with oligodendroglioma. Eric underwent surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy performed by Dr. Lisa DeAngelis and her colleagues at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. This care and treatment have been lifesaving for him.
Eric is grateful to have such fantastic care and support from his family, friends and medical team, and also feels blessed to be part of a community of those living vibrantly with oligodendroglioma and benefiting from the hard work and generosity of those fighting to create life-enhancing treatments and, hopefully, a cure.
Jodi Kaye is a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. She lives in the West Village in what she considers the best city in the world. Jodi is also living with oligodendroglioma, a slow-growing and currently incurable disease. Her brain cancer journey began ten years ago when a tumor was found on her left temporal lobe. She quickly had surgery, followed by two rounds of chemotherapy which lasted two years. This was followed by seven weeks of radiation. Six years later Jodi heard the dreaded words from her doctor, “I see growth.” She faced another round of chemo and radiation. Thankfully now the tumor is stable.
To help fight his terrible disease, Jodi started Team Courage with her closest friends to help raise money to fight oligodendroglioma. When Team Courage grew Jodi and her team joined forces with Oligio Nation’s founder, Brock Greene. Jodi was unsure if they should hold their Oligio Nation annual event this year with everything going on in the world. However, she realized that cancer wasn’t taking a break, so neither should they.
Jodi’s life expectancy post-diagnosis was 10 years which is why she is so committed to working towards finding new and better treatments to fight brain cancer, as well as ultimately finding a cure. Jodi was honored to join the board of directors this year of Oligo Nation, with her dear friend Alyse Mandel, and wants to continue to give back to the oligodendroglioma community that has given so much to her. Hope is what keeps Jodi going and she will continue to work hard in hopes of finding a cure as it is her mission to say alive for her children and family.
Alasdair Nichol is Chairman and Director of Fine Art at Freeman’s. After being within the same family for six generations, the company was acquired by Mr. Nichol and two colleagues in a friendly management buy-out in 2016. Alasdair joined Freeman’s in 1999. As an auctioneer of almost 30 years, has sold many significant collections, including the George D. Horst Collection of Fine Art, and numerous works that set new world auction records. He was instrumental in establishing Freeman’s departmental fine sales and has spearheaded the company’s mission of showcasing single-owner collections.
Mr. Nichol was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He studied Fine Art at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen. He later graduated with a Master’s degree from the University of Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland. In 1985, he embarked on his career in the auction world in Edinburgh. He later moved to Glasgow, where he organized the first sale of Scottish Contemporary Art at the world-renowned Glasgow School of Art. He subsequently moved to a flagship saleroom in London where he specialized in Modern & Impressionist Art before transferring to New York as Head of Fine Art in 1997. Since 1998 he has been a familiar face on the top-rated PBS television program Antiques Roadshow.
Steven & Karen Harrison