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Introducing the Thrive Through Cancer Board of Directors

October 2, 2013

I am thrilled to introduce the first-ever Board of Directors for Thrive Through Cancer. The following volunteers will meet monthly through 2014 to determine the best direction for the organization.


Rose and Angel Ibarra.

Rose Ibarra, Director

After being diagnosed with Non-Hogkin Lymphoma, Rose founded Thrive Through Cancer in 2011  to help other young adults cope with cancer. Rose is a health reporter for She has been an ambassador for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and won the organization’s 2012 National Media Award of Excellence. She represented the American Cancer Society by running in the 2012 Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon six months after she completed chemotherapy. In 2013 she was named “Holy Rosary School’s Distinguished Alum” for service to others. One of Rose’s “post-cancer dreams” came true on August 3, 2013 when she married her husband Angel, surrounded by friends and family.  They live together in West Seattle with their two cats.


Amanda Rubeck, Assistant Director

Amanda started her journey with Thrive as one of the first volunteers and has been hooked ever since.  Amanda’s family has been deeply affected by cancer and most recently her grandfather who she lost to brain cancer. It was then she completely understood the importance of community support and comforting items/words in a time of struggle for positivity, hope and health. Continually she has been an advocate in her community in positions such as co-chair of fundraisers, volunteering for events and mentoring youth.  Amanda lives on Lake Union in Seattle and enjoys traveling the world, the arts and spending time with her family, friends and new kitten Norman. She is excited to be the Assistant Director for Thrive and to keep the Thrive momentum going strong, supported and filled with compassion every step of the way.


Katie O’Leary, Survivor Events Coordinator

Katie O’Leary graduated with a Social Work degree and a strong passion to help others. Diagnosed in 2012 with Hodgkins Lymphoma only increased her will to become an advocate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She has volunteered at many organizations including Lifelong AIDS Alliance, New Holly, Providence Hospitality House, and tutored at Thurgood Marshall. Interests include photography and event planning. She is a nanny of two and absolutely adores kids. She lives in Capitol Hill with her boyfriend, Joe Yang.


Siobhan Stanton, fundraising coordinator 

Siobhan Stanton was first introduced to Thrive after she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2011 at the age of 26. Through her journey with cancer she noticed a lack of resources for young cancer patients and wanted to find a way to help those suffering from cancer in her age group. After undergoing treatment she has successfully beat cancer and since then has made it her mission to help other cancer patients by providing comfort and support as well as knowledge and guidance. Siobhan has co-chaired auctions and fundraising events for various organizations and helps raise awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by annually participating in the Light the Night Walk every year. Siobhan enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends and family. She currently lives in Bellevue with her dog Isabel.


Janna Waldher, financial officer

Janna Waldher joined Thrive after reading an inspiring article in the Seattle Times about Rose Ibarra and her passion for helping young cancer patients. Immediately, Janna knew this was an organization she could whole-heartedly support. Janna too is a cancer survivor, a survivor of aggressive breast cancer. While battling cancer she earned her BS Accounting, raised two children, relocated, and lived with her in-laws, just to name a few. Janna’s devotion and compassion for young cancer patients is apparent through her deep understanding, personal struggle, and courageous personality. She is excited to be the Financial Officer for Thrive and looks forward to establishing Thrive as the go-to-resource for young cancer patients.


Brian Aylward, community outreach coordinator

Brian Aylward is a certified health education specialist at the Swedish Cancer Institute and has been working with the cancer community for many years. He provides education, support, and resources to community members throughout the greater Puget Sound. He has a passion for developing and establishing community partnerships, organizing fundraising energies, and writing educational materials. He serves on the Executive Board for the Pacific Northwest Society for Public Health Education as the Vice President Co-Chair and Membership Co-Chair and spends his time volunteering at many non-profit organizations in the Seattle area. Brian lives in Capitol Hill with his cat Sophie and enjoys good coffee, reading, cooking, practicing yoga, and traveling around the world.


Paige Pauli, digital media consultant

Paige Pauli was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma less than a week after graduating from Pitzer College in 2008, but has since been in remission after undergoing six months of chemotherapy (ABVD). Over the years she has been an active participant in Leukemia & Lymphoma Society events, fundraising thousands of dollars for research and patient support. Paige works as a User Experience Designer and Front-End Developer, helping technology startups create successful products for both consumers and businesses. She also serves as a member of the Seattle Academy Alumni Board and as a mentor for the Seattle chapter of Girl Develop It, an organization focused on empowering women by teaching them how to code.

John Albert

John Albert was introduced to Thrive Through Cancer as a recipient of a Hope Tote during his first round of treatment for colon cancer. Since then he has been excited about being involved and giving back the same kind of support he received, and then some. John is a computer programmer for Costco Wholesale, but spends a lot of his leisure time doing much of the same.

Owen Applequist

Four months after completing chemotherapy for the second time, Owen Applequist found himself atop Mt. Kilimanjaro fundraising for cancer. That experience empowered him towards two distinct goals: play outside while sucking the marrow from life and find a means to enable other young adult cancer survivors to rediscover their lust for life. After attending a First Descents camp, he was asked to return as camp director. That opportunity combined his two post cancer goals. Life, REI, and his first post-cancer full-time job relocated him to Seattle. He has spoken at Leukemia and Lymphoma annual galas and before the Boy Scouts, raised awareness for young adult cancer issues on national media and fundraised actively for both cancer and solid organ transplant causes.


Amanda Clark

Amanda Clark is a 2011 graduate of Gonzaga University. While at Gonzaga, Amanda was on the Relay for Life planning committee for four years, serving on the board of the Colleges Against Cancer club as PR and Survivorship chairs. She was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in February 2012 and received a bone marrow transplant later that year in May 2012. She spoke about how leukemia has impacted her life and represented TeamAmanda at the LLS sponsored Big Climb in March 2013 and remains active in the organization. In her free time, Amanda enjoys travelling, reading, and recently got hooked on climbing after a First Descents trip to Moab, UT. She currently resides in West Seattle.


Zach Gardner

Zachary Gardner is a native of Southeastern Ohio and graduate of Ohio University. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2012 and joined Thrive Through Cancer in 2013. He currently works as a photojournalist for the United States Army at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.


Andrea MacPherson

After undergoing treatment for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma at age 20 without anyone remotely close in age around, Andrea MacPherson made it her goal to help young adult cancer survivors connect and strive through their own treatment. She has fundraised and volunteered for several cancer organizations including the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, First Descents, and Puget Sound Blood Center. Andrea served on an advisory board for Seattle Children’s, helping design their new Adolescent & Young Adult Oncology Unit. She loves food, whitewater rafting, and traveling and lives in the Roosevelt neighborhood with her boyfriend and Boston Terrier, Judge.

Constance Nelson

Constance N. was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31. She  credits her family and friends for there support through the process. Constance was born and raised in Seattle and  graduated from University of Denver for college. She was heavily involved in nonprofits in college. While going through treatment she and her husband went house shopping and found their current home. Constance works in real estate and lives in Seattle with her husband.


Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith is a chiropractor in Seattle’s University District. As a healthcare provider, he appreciates the importance of quality of life. Similar to many, Ryan’s family has been deeply impacted by cancer.  By joining Thrive Through Cancer Board of Directors; he hopes to support the success of this organization by providing knowledge in healthcare, and his experiences as a small business owner. Ryan played baseball at Washington State University, and is a devoted fan of Seattle sports. Ryan and his wife live in Tacoma, and enjoy their two fun-loving golden retrievers.

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