Board of Directors:
Nancy is a 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.
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 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.
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 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.
Sue is a graduate of Averill Park High School, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from SUNY Oneonta and a Master’s Degree in Literacy from SUNY Albany. She served as President and Vice-President of the SUNY Oneonta Alumni Board of Directors. She has been a teacher for 27 years in the South Colonie Central School District. She is married, and she and her husband Chuck have 2 sons. Brian is a graduate of the Juilliard School in NYC and David attends the University of Notre Dame.
Kelley is a public educator in the East Greenbush Central School District. She is married, and she and her husband have 2 sons. She spends all of her time driving her sons from one sporting event to the next. In February of 2013, she was diagnosed with breast cancer which included two surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted chemotherapy. She and her entire family are very aware of how breast cancer affects families. Kelley feels very passionate about getting other women to realize how important it is to get tested and treated as quickly as possible. She is honored to be part of the CRAAB! board and will work to educate others on the importance of early intervention and how to stay positive even when facing breast cancer.
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.