Board and Staff

Board of Directors:


Wanda Burch

Breast cancer survivor. She is the author of She Who Dreams (her healing journey) as well as numerous articles on the healing power in dreams. In the 1990’s, Wanda was a volunteer for the Cancer hot-line and the H&R Bloch Foundation as well as a “Wish Grantor” for the Make-A-Wish Foundation which is a continuing interest. She is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau and has participated in the National Cancer Survivor Day Foundation since 2004. Wanda has presented workshops both nationally and internationally, including the Adirondack Arts and Healing Retreat from 2003 to the present and the CRAAB! workshops on guided imagery/creative visualization which is ongoing.

Francine Frank

Professor Emeriti of Linguistics and Women’s Studies and is a former Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University at Albany, SUNY. She too is a survivor of breast cancer. She participates in numerous organizations in and around the Capital District. Currently, she is the secretary/treasurer of the Millay Colony for the Arts and is a past president of the Torch Club of Albany. Besides sitting on the board of CRAAB!, Francine is a board member of the Capital Repertory Co., the Capital Region Center for Arts in Education, the Capital Chamber Artists, and the Neighborhood Resource Council. For CRAAB!, Francine helps edit the newsletter and assists in writing grant proposals. She makes it a point to attend NYSBCN Advocacy Days with other CRAAB! members.

Brenda Ginardi

Another member of the current CRAAB! board who has had breast cancer. She is a retired high school English teacher. About half of her weekdays are devoted to babysitting for three of her grandchildren, but she finds time to volunteer at her church as secretary of the ARC (Amity Reformed Church) Angels and is a member of an organized book club. As a member of the board, Brenda has written articles for the newsletter as well as help edit the newsletter. She has staffed CRAAB ‘s information tables at events and has participated in fund raisers for the organization.

Nancy Guest

Another former teacher on the CRAAB! board who is retired from a lengthy
career as an elementary school teacher. She is a volunteer for the Albany affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. When in Albany, Nancy attends St Peter’s Episcopal Church. She is also an active member of the Mary Washington Alumni Association and the South Colonie Retired Teachers Association. When Nancy is in residence in Vail, CO, she volunteers at the Vail Medical Center and for Bravo. Nancy helps write and edit the CRAAB! newsletter as well as brochures and informational flyers. She participates in fund-raising walks, health fairs and CRAAB! educational programs and events.

Janet Hotis

Also a retired elementary school teacher and has served as the president of the South Colonie Retired Teachers Association for the past several years. An avid reader, Janet organized a book club after she retired and is the club’s facilitator. Janet has written and edited brochures, pamphlets and educational materials for CRAAB!. Janet was personally touched by cancer when she was a primary care giver for a family member who eventually succumbed to the illness.

Amy Jones

Amy is an alum of Siena College and first became involved with CRAAB through her work on the Pink Zone game steering committee.  She has a Masters of Public Health from the University at Albany, and has a background in community health education and promotion. She is excited to bring her passion for health promotion to support CRAAB and help women in her community.

Claudia Longo

Retired from a long career as a child care specialist. It’s a good thing, because she is the grandmother of twelve and devotes considerable time to helping care for her grandchildren. She is a fund-raising volunteer for Catholic Charities of Saratoga County and is a former member of the Parish Council of St Edward the Confessor Church where she was also a religious education instructor. Claudia helps staff CRAAB! information tables at health fairs and frequently assists in fund-raising activities. She has also attended many NYSBCN Advocacy Days with other board members.

Margaret Roberts

Margaret Roberts has a master of Fine Arts degree. She is president of Pen & Palette, a non-profit organization that uses the arts to raise awareness of cancer care issues and foster personal expression of cancer survivors. Margaret was also one of CRAAB’s founding members and its Director for two years. She became involved in cancer awareness and advocacy after both of her sisters died from different forms of cancer; one sister (a non-smoker) had lung cancer, and her other sister, Susan, had breast cancer. As her sister Susan’s primary caregiver, Margaret became intimately aware of the complexities of breast cancer. She has devoted herself and her artistic talents to helping survivors “cope through creativity.” In 2003-2005 participants in the art workshop program created a play, “Alive, Alive, Oh!” Margaret has received numerous grants and awards to advance her work.

Bonnie Spanier (former Board member and now consults on research)

Consulting scientist, Bonnie Spanier, Ph.D., was a founding member of CRAAB! She is an Associate Professor in the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Albany. Her doctorate from Harvard University was in Microbiology and Molecular Genomics, and she has done research on the molecular biology of viruses that infect animals. Bonnie has attended the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s Project LEAD training and Advocacy Training, and the Department of Defense Era of Hope Conference.

Executive Director: Debbie Marchesini

Debbie Marchesini has a B.S. degree in Engineering Technology from Kansas State University and a Master’s degree in Business from The University at Albany. Her involvement with breast cancer began when her grandmother was diagnosed with the disease in the late 1970’s. In recent years, an ever-growing number of her friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer at various stages of the disease. Her work with CRAAB! enables her to share information about breast cancer treatments, options and most important, prevention, with other women of her age group.

President: Diana Sponable

Diana Sponable is a breast cancer survivor and mother of three school age boys.   She joined CRAAB! in 2008 and is active in numerous CRAAB! programs.  Diana is Purchasing Specialist at Capital District Physician’s Health Plan.   She is active at Our Lady of the Assumption Church, serving as a religious education instructor for over 10 years, and involved in several community events.

Vice President: Joan Sheehan

Joan is a retired South Colonie elementary school teacher. She was a founding member of this grassroots organization serving the greater Capital Region providing education, advocacy and support to breast cancer survivors, their care givers and the general public. Joan counsels newly diagnosed women and serves on several cancer related boards. Joan is married to her husband Jim and they have three daughters, 2 grandsons and 3 step grandchildren. She is a member and secretary of Hope in the Boat, a breast cancer dragon boat racing team. Joan taught religion and was a wedding minister at St. Francis de Sales, now Christ Our Light Catholic Church. Currently she serves as a Eucharistic minister and also visits Catholic residents at Daughters of Sarah Nursing Home to say the Rosary and conduct a prayer service.
As President, she serves as liaison to the office staff and oversees operations. She also conducts a peer telephone support hotline for Lymphedema patients, is CRAAB’s representative to the Albany,Rensselaer and Schenectady County Healthy Living Partnerships, and is active in numerous community organizations.

Treasurer: Sally Heritage

Retired after 35 years of teaching in South Colonie her focus has been taking care of her grandchildren three days a week. She received her B.S. degree from Springfiled College and her Masters from SUNY Albany. During her teaching career she taught gifted and talented for 11 years. After her retirement she continued teaching as the enrichment math teacher one day a week. As treasurer of her church for ten years she was responsible for developing an annual budget and overseeing each line item as well as paying all the bills. Now she runs the food cupboard at her church and mentors young mothers. She is also involved in raising funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Association. She has witnessed the courageousness that many of her good friends have showed who were diagnosed with breast cancer as well as her mother in law who had breast cancer in 1954 and fortunately also was a survivor.

Secretary: Michelle Ray

Michelle Ray is a Child Welfare Education Specialist in the Professional Development Program at Rockefeller College (University at Albany). She has been an active CRAAB! member since 1997, and one of her main concerns is environmental links to cancer. She is a member of Colonie Pesticide Watch, and has participated in the New York State Breast Cancer Advocacy Day, Earth Day Lobby Day and other environmental conferences.

Newsletter Editor: Cara Anaam

Cara Anaam brings over 30 years experience as a writer and editor to her position as CRAAB!’s newsletter editor. She says, “My interest in and passion for envisioning the environment as a healthy place for us to live and raise our children and grandchildren finds expression in newsletter articles on environmental issues. We’re highlighting personal and societal behaviors that promote good health as well as ways to protect ourselves from factors implicated by research in the development of breast cancer.”

Program/Outreach Coordinator: Kelly Primeau-Fahey

Kelly has an extensive background in advertising design and print production on both the ad agency and publishing sides. In her words, “There is no process in business that creates more value than communicating new ideas.”  Kelly’s diverse combination of design skills and problem-solving abilities in Web,multimedia and print enables her to organize complex information into easily understood components. Her approach is results-driven and simple: to understand what the client’s audience expects, then go one step further.  She has built her career of over 20 years working with non profits, supporting their marketing and fundraising departments and programs. Additionally, she has helped on a fundraising committee for more than fifteen years, helping her mother, a breast cancer survivor of 20+ years, to raise more than $100,000 for St Jude’s Cancer Research Center in Boston.