Parent Advisory Council

The Hope for Henry Parent Advisory Council comprises parents of children kids who have had or currently have a chronic illness or who have experienced extended hospitalizations. This council provides Hope for Henry with input to improve existing Hope for Henry programming and develop new, innovative projects and ideas that enhance the pediatric patient experience at hospitals nationwide.

Heather Burneson

Heather works directly with blood cancer patients and caregivers to provide support through programming, services, and financial assistance. In addition, she is the LLS contact for the regional hospitals, clinics, and health care professionals. Heather was introduced to Hope for Henry when her 16-year-old son, Henry, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and admitted to Children’s National in January 2015. Throughout Henry’s 9 months in the hospital, Hope for Henry adapted their programming to suit a teenager’s interests. Although Henry died in October 2015, Heather is grateful to Hope for Henry for the memories of the smiles they created for my son.

June Carter-Watson

June Carter-Watson is the mother of RyAnn Watson who is a member of Hope for Henry’s Patient Advisory Council/ICAN Chapter. June’s daughter has been to every hospital in the DMV and June looks forward to continuing to offer her advice and experience as a parent with hopes of making the hospital experience better for other families.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven L. Coffee

Colonel Coffee oversees human resources operations for a 1,500+ joint military and civilian defense cyber organization. Colonel Coffee was introduced to Hope for Henry in 2012 following his eight-week-old son Steven II’s liver transplant at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Colonel Coffee has multiple degrees, most recently a Masters degree from Georgetown University in Clinical Quality Safety and Leadership.

Cathy Conger

Cathy manages Hope for Henry’s relationships with child life specialists at hospitals across the country. She was introduced to Hope for Henry in 2017, when her son Reilly was a leukemia patient at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. After Reilly died, Cathy joined Hope for Henry’s Parent Advisory Council in 2018. When the Program Manager position at Hope for Henry became available in December 2020, Cathy welcomed the opportunity to use her MBA and non-profit project management experience to further Hope for Henry’s mission.

Megan Dinopoulos

Megan retired from teaching in the fall of 2019, at which time she hoped to spend time giving back to the organizations that supported her son and her family during his cancer treatment. Her son, Evan (Age 21), was diagnosed with APML Leukemia at age 13. Evan received treatment at Children’s National. The pandemic slowed down Megan’s plans a bit, but she is excited and anxious about becoming more involved with Hope for Henry.

Melissa Golden

Melissa is a Registered Nurse who currently works as a Clinical Patient Advocate. It is an honor to be on this committee.

Joyce Kammerman

Joyce is the mom of three, including a son who is a brain cancer survivor. When her son was diagnosed in 2012, she vowed to do her part so that no other family would have to endure the brutal treatments, endless hospital stays, separation of families, and loss of childhood, not just for her son battling cancer, but also for her two young children sometimes hundreds of miles away from where her oldest was receiving treatment. It was while her son was still in the PICU following brain surgery that their family was introduced to Hope for Henry, who extended what would become a lifeline in the form of an iPad that got her son through the next 18 months with music, games, movies, and FaceTime. Hope for Henry also provided wonderful special events that brought smiles to the faces of kids and adults alike that broke up the sad monotony of hospital stays. Her son is now a Hope for Henry volunteer and member of the Patient Advisory Council. Joyce is also the owner of Hands and Heart CPR and First Aid Training, as well as being a substitute teacher and avid hockey fan, player, and hockey mom.

Nikki McCarthy

Nikki founded Sam’s Fans in 2015 six years after her daughter Sam passed away from complications from a bone marrow transplant to treat Fanconi anemia. Because of the profound impact music therapy had on Sam, Nikki started an organization dedicated to supporting and enhancing music and art therapy programs that serve seriously ill children and their families. Sam’s Fans is affiliated with six of the seven Ohio Children’s Hospitals as well as camps for sick kids and one hospital in Florida. Nikki and Laurie met through shared circumstances and developed a friendship where they continue to support one another personally and professionally.

Keli Mazzuca

Keli was introduced to Hope for Henry when her son Mason was in active treatment for T Cell Leukemia at Children’s National in DC. Keli and Mason enjoyed many Hope for Henry events and it was the rewards program that got Mason happily through his bone marrow transplant. Keli vowed, after Mason’s passing in March of 2018, she would continue to give back to the organizations who supported Mason throughout his journey. She is honored to continue to be a part of Hope for Henry’s mission. /p>

Jess Murray

Jess has been a child life specialist for 10 years and has worked closely with Hope for Henry over that time in the roles of Hope for Henry Child Life Specialist at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Child Life Consultant at the Hope for Henry headquarters. After leaving in 2020 to spend more time at home with her twin daughters, she has remained active with Hope for Henry on its Parent Advisory Council and Child Life Team of Innovators.

Sue Schiffman

As a mother of two beautiful daughters, Sue was introduced to Hope for Henry when her youngest, Julia, was receiving treatment for Rhabdomyosarcoma at Children’s National in Washington, DC. Sue’s family immediately understood the power and impact of Hope for Henry when they were introduced to Carolyn Fung, the Child Life Specialist assigned to the family. Carolyn’s support and the Hope for Henry programs were instrumental to the entire family, as well as Julia successfully completing treatment each week.

Amy Shields

Amy is the mother of three teenage boys. When she is not driving them to school or sports practices or working with her husband at their Annapolis based Property Management business, she is doing what she really loves, giving back. Amy was first introduced to Hope for Henry when her youngest son, Sully, was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma in 2014. Hope for Henry’s programs, especially the Super Path to Super Duper Better, brought life sustaining joy to Sully and helped make the hardest part of his life a little easier. In addition to Hope for Henry, Amy also sits on the Board of Directors for the Mason Strong Village, on the Board of Trustees at St. Anne’s School of Annapolis and participates in as many childhood cancer fundraising events as possible.

Rose Simpson

Rose is an Adult Oncology Nurse who was introduced to Hope for Henry in 2020 when her daughter, London (8), was diagnosed with Leukemia. Her next-door neighbors at Children’s National reached out to Hope for Henry to support the family as they struggled through the traumatic first year of treatment. Rose wants other parents to have access to the Super Rewards for Super Kids program and other initiatives so families can bond with their child through this journey instead of fighting for each step of the necessary therapy.

Lynette Smith

Mother of Jordyn Smith

Trudy Vincent & Rick Shapiro

Trudy Vincent and Rick Shapiro live in the Washington, DC area. Trudy runs the federal relations office for the University of Chicago, and Rick is a management consultant. Abby was their 16-year-old-daughter. She was a high school junior, an excellent student and a competitive swimmer who planned to swim collegiately. They came to know and rely upon the services of Hope for Henry at MedStar Georgetown when Abby was hospitalized with osteosarcoma in the spring of 2015. The Hope for Henry child life specialists provided her valuable information and guidance on medical procedures, helped her cope with the anxiety and stress of being a hospital patient, and provided her ongoing opportunities to take respite from being a patient to have fun and enjoy herself. Abby passed away in September 2015. Rick and Trudy were honored to join the Parents’ Council in February 2020.