WELLNESS COLLECTIVE

Dr. Vered Stearns

Dr. Vered Stearns is a Board Certified Medical Oncologist in Baltimore, Maryland and serves as Co-Director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Centers Breast Cancer Program.  Dr. Stearns received her M.D., from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (1992) and went on to complete residency in Internal Medicine (1995) and a fellowship in Medical Oncology (1997) at MedStar Georgetown University Medical Centre. It was during her fellowship at Georgetown University where she first began focusing on breast cancer. In addition to being an extraordinary clinician, Dr. Stearns co-leads the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, is the associate director for oncology for the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network, and associate medical director for Johns Hopkins Singapore. As a translational scientist, Dr. Stearns aims to further an individualized approach to the prevention, treatment and care for people with or at risk of breast cancer. Currently, she focuses on the utilization of biomarkers to predict response to standard regimens used to treat and prevent breast cancer and to introduce new approaches. Dr. Stearns became interested in oncology before she even knew what the word meant, and while her understanding of oncology has obviously grown more sophisticated, she hopes never to lose her childhood enthusiasm for improving the welfare of those afflicted with cancer. Read more about her complete professional biography

Board of Directors

Dr. Lindsay Voigt

Dr. Lindsay Voigt is a practicing chiropractor with more than 10 years experience in a multi-disciplinary sport medicine clinic at the Toronto Athletic Club. She obtained her doctorate in 2007 from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, and completed her internship at Sherbourne Health Clinic and The Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. Dr. Voigt is a licensed member of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, and of the Ontario Chiropractic Association. The majority of her practice involves treating amateur and professional athletes. In 2015, Dr. Voigt was invited to serve as Chiropractor and Tour Wellness Director for a prominent Canadian rock band. Through 2016, Dr. Voigt was responsible for overseeing the rehabilitation of the lead singer of The Tragically Hip from an aggressive regimen of cancer treatments, for his physical preparation, and day-to-day wellness through an intensive, cross-country tour schedule. This mandate included incorporating dietary modifications, medication timing, strength and cardiovascular based exercise prescription, as well as alternative medical treatment protocols such as acupuncture, soft tissue release and joint mobilizations. Despite associated difficulties, the overall success of the tour verified the positive effects that a holistic approach can have on an individual- not only to achieve goals, and perform amazing feats, but to thrive. Watching those close to you face their cancer with courage, a desire to live well and push forward with their lives inspires her everyday to do what she can to help. Healthy body, healthy mind.  Lindsay is honoured to be a part of the iRise Above Foundation team, and excited for the opportunity to share and help engage support for an important cause. 

Board of Directors

Andrea Kassem RN, OCN, CBCN, CN-BN, NBC-HWC

A Breast Care Nurse Navigator for the Baptist Health System in San Antonio, TX, Andrea Kassem is an experienced Oncology Certified Nurse and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She holds three additional oncology nursing certifications adding to her unique knowledge and experience. In addition, Andrea is an active member in a number of Professional Oncology Nursing Organizations. Andrea is passionate about working with women diagnosed with breast cancer not only to guide them through their treatment journey but to help them discover their personal strengths and optimal vision of health as cancer survivors.  Her role as a navigator allows her to provide one-on one personalized support to patients and their caregivers throughout their entire cancer journey.  A consistent face and voice through appointments, procedures and treatment, she empowers women with education and is available for 1:1 support. As a health coach, Andrea believes in constant curiosity, positivity, compassion and kindness. Through deep listening, she connects with patients and addresses and defines the critical components that women face before, during and after their journey. Above all, Andrea’s mission is to empower individuals to take charge of their health and wellness so they can live a life that is authentic, joyful and healthy.

Board of Directors

Dr. Susan Krajewski

Dr. Susan Krajewski attended the University of Guelph where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree.  She subsequently worked for a pharmaceutical company and travelled throughout Southeast Asia before enrolling in medical school.  Upon completing an M.D. at the University of Toronto, she attended residency in General Surgery at the University of British Columbia. During residency she completed a Masters in Public Health at Harvard University, with a focus on surgical disparities and access to surgical care. After residency, she completed a traineeship in breast cancer surgery in Vancouver and for the last 5 years has been working as a rural General Surgeon.  In 2013, she designed and implemented a rapid diagnostic protocol to improve wait times for breast cancer diagnosis and management. Her interests in the mission and vision of the iRise Above foundation are both personal and professional. Since she started working as a surgeon, she has seen more and more young women with breast cancer, many of whom experience difficulty in finding their "new normal" following treatment. It has been her experience that many of these women struggle to find adequate resources and supports during their breast cancer journey. Susan believes that treating breast cancer involves treating both mind and body and as such, has a keen interest in supporting the mission of the Foundation.

Advisor

Dr. Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, FASCO

Don S. Dizon is a medical oncologist and is currently the Director of Women’s Cancers at Lifespan Cancer Institute, Director of Medical Oncology at Rhode Island Hospital, and Associate Professor of Medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. He is also the founder of the Oncology Sexual Health First Responder’s Clinic at Lifespan Cancer Institute. In addition to his roles as a clinician and a researcher, he writes about the cancer experience from his viewpoint as a medical professional, husband, father, and friend for the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Connection blog and for the journal The Oncologist. His writing reflects the human and often times emotional experience of doctoring, sometimes in the most extreme circumstances. 

Advisor

Rebecca Katz

Rebecca Katz is a nutrition expert and has spent more than a decade motivating people to eat well. She is dedicated to educating individuals and communities about the power of food as medicine and nourishment, by creating meals that enhance one’s health and well-being. Rebecca completed formal culinary training at the Natural Gourmet Institute. She holds a Master’s of Science degree in Health and Nutrition Education from Hawthorn University, and has published a series of science-based cookbooks (Cancer Fighting Kitchen, Clean Soups, Healthy Mind Cookbook, The Longevity Kitchen, and One Bite at a Time). Rebecca is the Founder and Executive Director of the Healing Kitchens Institute at Commonweal in Bolinas, CA. Rebecca offers an excellent online cooking course called: Cancer Fighting Kitchen Course: Surviving and Thriving During Treatment and Beyond

Advisor

Sarah O'Leary

Acupuncturist Sarah O’Leary, L.Ac. is the owner-operator of Mend Acupuncture, an acupuncture focused group in Maryland.
Sarah began her career in Social Work. Her first exposure to acupuncture was while working in the Baltimore City prison. Acupuncture was provided daily for inmates in recovery, and often used for anxiety as well as pain management. She was struck by the power of this simple medicine. She pursued her Masters of Acupuncture and subsequently started her private practice in 2006. Sarah was born into a healthcare family; her grandparents and parents committed their professions to providing quality healthcare. The landscape of healthcare has changed dramatically in these 3 generations. Sarah’s personal mission is to bring acupuncture’s methods (patient centered, effective, non-pharmacological care for many physical and mental/emotion conditions) into the current healthcare fold.

Advisor

Katie Tovar

After completing her undergraduate degree at Elon University, Katie dedicated her early 20's to promoting health and well-being to underserved communities in Central America. She's a certified Yoga Teacher and SoulWorker through Passion Yoga School, and a RYT-200 though Yoga Alliance. In addition, she received her Holistic Health Coaching certification through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City and completed Gabrielle Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie Masterclass L1. Today Through her company lokahmotive, Katie works as a Women's Health Coach and Mindset Mentor to promote lasting transformation—body, mind, and soul. She provides holistic health solutions to women motivated to transform their lives. Her coaching style is different from other Health Coaches in the industry; rather than focusing solely on the body, she promotes complete transform - physically, mentally, and spiritually. As a result, her clients experience a complete energetic shift to their overall wellness that is ever lasting. 

Advisor

Dr. Kate Beebe DeVarney

Dr. DeVarney is a neuroscientist, and certified medical qigong teacher and wellness coach.  She is also the Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Titan Pharmaceuticals in South San Francisco, California. Before joining Titan, she was a Senior Director with Corcept Therapeutics in Menlo Park, CA. Prior to joining Corcept, Dr. DeVarney was the Senior Medical Director for Neurosciences within World Wide Human Health at Merck. Dr. DeVarney also worked at SmithKline Beecham and GlaxoSmithKline, where she held positions of increasing responsibility, primarily within the Neurosciences research and development and medical affairs organizations. Before beginning her career in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. DeVarney was a practicing neuropsychologist at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, treating patients of all ages with various neurological and neuropsychiatric illnesses. Throughout her academic and industry careers, Dr. DeVarney's research has focused primarily on addiction, neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease, mood and anxiety disorders, breast cancer, metabolic disorders and obesity. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals such as The American Journal of Psychiatry, Drug and Alcohol Dependence, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Addiction. She has presented her research extensively at the American Psychiatric Association, the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the International Society of Addiction Medicine. Dr. DeVarney holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and received her clinical training at Georgetown University Medical School, Yale University Medical School, and Graduate Hospital, and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2010, Dr. DeVarney was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer, and underwent standard Western treatments.  Soon after she started radiation, a close friend introduced her to qigong, and she quickly discovered the incredible power of this healing exercise.  Her subsequent motivation to become a certified medical qigong teacher in 2014, with Master Lee Holden, was born out of a desire to share this unique blend of Western and Eastern exercise with people suffering from serious illness.  She is the Founder and CEO of Mind Body Design, and currently teaches qigong and wellness programs to groups and individual clients.   

Advisor

Simone Nitzan

The experience of linking breath and movement in a conscious and fluid manner inspires Simone Nitzan in her practice and teaching. She believes practicing Yoga leads us to a meditative state, expanding our awareness of ourselves and creating a deeper connection within and without. Simone’s classes are a balance of breath awareness, alignment and light heartedness; bringing the qualities of both effort and ease into practice. Simone began teaching Yoga ten years ago while completing her Master’s degree in exercise physiology at the University of British Columbia. During this time Simone also worked on a research study examining the effects of exercise on the quality of life of women undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Simone is passionate about supporting people through challenging life situations whether they occur in sickness or health. Simone brings her expertise in anatomy and physiology into the Yoga room. This expertise is evident in her teaching and she combines this with her passion for Yogic philosophy. She creates a practice that can transform our lives, reconnect us to our highest truth and most heartfelt desires.

Advisor

Joy Dorsey

As a recovery coach, Joy works from a trauma-informed and harm-reduction lens which uses the bio-psycho-social approach to really meet her clients where they are at. She specializes in working with individuals and families living with addiction, as well as she works with women specifically with their relationship with food, disordered eating, and negative body-esteem. For the challenges related to food and body, Joy applies the Health at Every Size model which is inclusive regardless of size, shape, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, socioeconomic status, and cultural influences. This leads to a more holistic and compassionate approach to coaching, movement, and therapeutic practices for each client. Joy works with clients one-on-one, hosts webinars and workshops, and teaches weekly movement classes. Her work is inspired by her personal and familial experience of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, negative body esteem, and challenges with disordered eating. Joy is attending the Ontario Psychotherapy and Counselling Program in Toronto, Ontario to become a Registered Psychotherapist in the fall of 2019. She has completed 126 hours of the Professional Co-Active Coach program with the Coaches Training Institute. In the spring of 2017, she became a certified Eating Psychology Coach with the Institute for the Psychology of Eating founded by Marc David. Joy has also completed Jane Clapp’s Level I & II Movement for Trauma Certification, and Reiki Training with Dany Lyne. Joy completed the 200hr Yoga Teacher Training Program in 2006 at The Downward Dog Yoga Centre in Toronto and has been teaching since 2010. From 2017 - 2019 Joy owned and operated her own yoga studio in Brantford, Ontario called Be Moved Yoga and Wellness Centre. During that time she taught weekly classes, hosted workshops, and created her own successful Teacher Training Program and manual. In the spring of 2019 Joy was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer. As she moves through treatment she is learning more about the challenges faced by women under the ages of 50 and is using her movement, coaching, and therapeutic practices to support herself and other women. 

Advisor

Ana Alvarenga

Yoga has been Ana Alvarenga’s direct path to self-awareness and transformation from which she is developing her vital purpose in life at the same time that she connects and helps people in their search of that 'something else' they feel uncertain about. Ana started her conscious path to enlightenment in 2009 with Reiki and Yoga after studying Graphic Design, Photography, and Culinary Arts. In 2014 she incorporated Bach's Flowers Therapy, Massage and Acupressure (for a bioenergetic balance treatment) into her practice. The same year, Ana explored the pathway toward conscious eating by assisting detox and alkalization workshops. In 2015, Ana traveled to India to receive Yoga Teacher Certification for Multi-Style Yoga (Hatha, Iyengar, Ashtanga and Vinyasa). With a desire to refine her offerings, in 2017 Ana then traveled to San Jose, Costa Rica to deepen her specialty practice of Hatha yoga. In 2019 she went to Guatemala to learn Vipassana meditation, and spent 10 days of silence while learning the technique. Ana offers a conscious and serene space to practice. Departing from her Hatha yoga style foundations to a self-aware journey into the depths of the physical, mental and emotional states. Going from the breath to the visualization and affirmation of the chakras. Ana brings awareness to create Presence, to live the eternal present moment, to connect with the body and learn to listen to it. To focus on the power of intention and learn to receive from it. She also emphasizes the importance of calming the 3 bodies - the physical, the mental and the emotional. Ana encourages her students to bring consciousness over the breathing and to connect with the body through meditation, chakra awareness and/or asanas.

Advisor

Angela Howell

Angela Howell is on a mission to help make the world a better place for ALL of us! She is committed to living her “Yoga” in an authentic, integral way. Angela believes there are solutions to create more peace, harmony, connection, and love in the world. It starts with US individually choosing to have a deeper awareness, mindfulness and consciousness around HOW we are living. And HOW we are interacting with SELF, Others and Mother Earth. Angela teaches Yoga, Co-create Retreats and offers Reiki and Ayurvedic massages as a way to hold true to her life mission. To Angela, Yoga is a way of experiencing life, being fully awake, aware,  loving, authentic, truthful and present in all that she does. Angela believes in living your Sat Nam - truth being identity. 

Advisor

Julia Przybilka

MOVEMENT creates CHANGE - BREATH creates CONNECTION - BALANCE creates HEALTH - GRATITUDE creates JOY.
Julia Przybilka is passionate about sharing her experiences. This includes not only teaching and educating but also her approach to life - she calls herself a radical life lover - her goal is to inspire everybody she gets in touch with to live authentically and healthy. Her tool to achieve this is to create holistic movement experiences and encourage to be kind to oneself while practicing. Nothing better than JOYful exercising because it will become part of your life and wellbeing, something you don't want to miss anymore in your daily life – it is as simple as this: If it MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD you will KEEP ON DOING IT! Julia is a GLOBAL MASTER TRAINER
FOR BODYART-TRAINING, INTERNATIONAL PRESENTER, MANAGING MEMBER BAA, BODYART AMERICAS AND BAM, BODYART MEDIA, FOUNDER OF PURA VIDA WELLNESS RETREATS, and GROOVE FACILITATOR!

Advisor

Diane Bruni

Diane Bruni has been practicing yoga for 40 years, teaching students for 25 years, and training teachers for nearly two and half decades. Diane was the first Ashtanga yoga teacher in Canada. She co-founded the Downward Dog Yoga Centre, and hosted an internationally aired television series called Breathing Space Yoga. In 2012 Diane was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Everything changed in that moment. Diane took that life altering news and made decisions in her life, decisions she had been putting off. Leaving a business that was causing stress, she went on to create a new studio, one that resonated with her current beliefs and interest in the field of yoga and wellness. During this time of recovery and healing Diane developed a program for women who have had mastectomies, this program has helped her eliminate all side effects from her surgery. It includes self massage, mediation, somatic movement and yoga. Cancer is scary stuff, the emotional energy that comes with a cancer diagnosis can also be an incredible motivator to create change in ones life. Transformation is a process that takes place over a lifetime, monumental moments all play a role, and learning how to channel and transform the energy of any event into something positive is a skill that we can all learn. A little bit every day, every thought, every action brings us closer to creating the life we dream of. Diane is honoured to be part of the iRise Above vision and hopes her experience as a woman affected by breast cancer is an inspiration for all women dealing with this disease. She looks forward to meeting the women who will become a part of this incredible life changing expedition into wholeness. 

Advisor

Jane Clapp

Jane Clapp is a feminist embodied resilience expert. She believes that we are all healing from some past hurt or loss. That doesn’t mean we're broken. In fact, our past struggles, traumas or health issues don’t have to be a life sentence. Jane believes we have the power to free ourselves from the shackles that limit our joy and fulfillment. While it is widely accepted that mindfulness is necessary to shape the body, she asserts that the body is one of the most powerful alchemaic tools for shaping the mind. As a practitioner in the health industry for two decades, Jane’s approach is to combine holistic personal training with tension and trauma healing to help her clients gain strength, mobility, and energy. As the founder of Urbanfitt, Jane has helped more than 1000 clients improve emotional and nervous system regulation, positively shift neuroplasticity and release somatized stress and trauma. Through her revolutionary coaching sessions and workshops, Jane will ensure that you not only feel better, but truly realize your full potential for contentment and happiness. She is an experienced and illuminating speaker, widely consulted media expert and internationally recognized author. Jane is thrilled to support the mission of the iRise Above Foundation, offering scholarships to women entering in the program so they can uncover their warrior and offer purpose as an antidepressant during and post cancer treatments. 

Advisor

Corrie Gallant

Focus, drive and compassion are driving forces when facing Cancer. They are also what motivates Corrie to push for change and encourage ongoing conversations about women’s health and safer beauty products. Corrie has had loved ones, clients and children in her life that have been affected by Cancer. She has watched first hand, and observed how this disease affects people mentally, physically and emotionally. Corrie focuses her oncology and medical esthetician background to provide safer, cleaner cosmetic options and treatments at her spa for all women. This makes a difference for those going through treatment and even if it is for one day, it makes a difference emotionally for them. She pushes for change in Canada and the United States, and has even accompanied Beautycounter activist Lindsay Dahl to Washington, DC to drive home this important issue. Volunteering her time with the Look Good Feel Better Association, and being a Cosmetic Advisor with Camp Oochigeas, Corrie knows that when someone is going through treatment, what they see on the outside can affect how they feel on the inside. When patients look and feel confidant in their own skin, they can move mountains. Corrie has seen that there is a gap in aftercare programs available once the diagnosis is being treated or has finished treatment, her passion knows no limits and has used this knowledge, research and experiences to create The Beauty Barn Project and to keep connecting the mind, body and spirit. As an Advisor for iRise Above, Corrie will deliver this focus, drive and compassion to continue to lift other women on their journeys, share stories, and be an advocate for change in the beauty industry.    

Advisor

Kim MacDonald

Kim MacDonald is an award-winning broadcaster who has been delivering the weather to Canadians across the country on The Weather Network for 20 years. She is married with two daughters and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. In December 2016, Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer. She spent most of the next year undergoing treatment including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. She documented the entire journey in a blog called "Weathering Cancer" (www.kmacblog.com)  She also discussed her experience in a radio talkshow during a segment called "Kim has Cancer" Today, Kim is in remission. She has returned to her work on television and continues to be an advocate for breast cancer awareness and research funding. She is a spokesperson for the Breast Cancer Society of Canada.

Ambassador

Chris Militello

Chris Militello believes that "bicycles can change lives." Chris opened Arrow Bicycle in 2008 just outside of Washington, DC in the progressive community of Hyattsville, MD. He is a USA Cycling trained mechanic. He intimately worked with the Israeli Cycling Federation at the 2015 World Championships in Richmond, VA. Chris spearheaded the mechanics program for The Snow Valley Pro Cycling Team as well as The Rite Aid Pro Cycling Team. Along with his wife, Chris is also the coach of the Prince George's County Special Olympics Cycling Team. His love for cycling is infectious, and he wants everyone to share his experience. Joining the iRise Above team allows Chris to share his insatiable passion for cycling, thereby helping to create a healthier terrain in the young women's lives that the foundation serves. Chris's mother Susan was once a young woman affected by breast cancer in her 40s, and is now thriving, making the mission of the iRise Above Foundation a goal close to his heart. Chris is eager to help young women affected by breast cancer thrive as they open a new chapter of health and wellness in their lives. 

Expedition Coordinator

Please reload