The Herd

Here are our authors – we love them, you should too!

Jennifer Anand

Survivor, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Meet Jen Anand. Every week Jen will be providing a new tip or two on approaching life during and after cancer to help inspire others. Jen was diagnosis with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January 2012, followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments for 8 months...View Posts by Jennifer Anand

Mallory Casperson

Survivor, Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Mallory is the CEO and Founder of Lacuna Loft. She has an MS and half a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During her Master’s and PhD, Mallory worked with the Air Force Research Lab as well as NASA on high temperature metal fatigue experiments and simulations...View Posts by Mallory Casperson

Nick Giallourakis

Brother and Advocate

Nick is the Executive Director of the Steven G AYA Cancer Research Fund and President/Co-Founder of Elephants and Tea.

View Posts by Nick Giallourakis

Marloe Esch


Marloe Esch, RN, BSN, Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN), and young adult cancer survivor, graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Nursing (Go Badgers!) in 2008...View Posts by Marloe Esch

Angie Giallourakis

Caregiver, President of Steven G AYA Cancer Research Fund

Angelike (Angie) Giallourakis has a Ph.D. in Special Education and a M.ED. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Kent State University.

Prior to her son Steven’s first cancer diagnoses in 2006 she was a college professor at Cleveland State University where she taught future special educators about the importance of being a family centered educator when meeting the needs of children with disabilities...View Posts by Angie Giallourakis

Urska Kosir


I am a PhD student in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. My doctoral work focuses on the psychological adaptation of young cancer patients and survivors. I am exploring the mechanisms of psychopathology and resilience in young survivors to answer questions such as why some survivors do better than others in survivorship...View Posts by Urska Kosir

Mette de Fine Licht


Teenage cancer survivor, author, blogger and speaker Mette de Fine Licht has written 10 books, including the memoir, Willpower Girl — A Teenager’s Trek Through Cancer. The book is a rare insight into a teenage cancer patient’s mind with all the fear, doubt and longing for a normal teenage life...View Posts by Mette de Fine Licht

Hannah Starkey

Survivor, Hodgkin's Lymphoma

In September of 2018, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 24. I quickly found myself unable to cope and accept my illness. I wanted to know more about what other young adults experienced...View Posts by Hannah Starkey

Danielle A. Cloakey

Survivor, Neuroblastoma, Stage 4

When I was 15 and a half months old, I was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, and given only a 10-40% chance of living until my 6th birthday. After 2 major surgeries, chemo, and radiation, when I was two, I came down with viral encephalitis...View Posts by Danielle A. Cloakey

Amelia Baffa

Young Adult Cancer Nurse Navigator

Amelia Baffa is the Angie Fowler Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Nurse Navigator at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. Ms. Baffa is responsible for care coordination, onco-fertility preservation, program and service line development, patient and staff education, AYA research, and program funding...View Posts by Amelia Baffa

Matthew S. Newman

Survivor, Brain Cancer, Anaplastic Astrocytomas

Matt appreciates all the moments with his family, lives in the now, and is eternally thankful for his beautiful wife, Rebecca, and three healthy children. His doctors did such a good job that Matt has no scar...View Posts by Matthew S. Newman

Ryan Fuson

Survivor, Testicular CancerView Posts by Ryan Fuson

Kirsten Efremov

Survivor, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)

On November 20th of 1998 at the age of 10 I began my cancer journey. I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). I did 3 years of intense chemo and finished treatment November 2001. One year later November 22 2002, I relapsed with ALL...View Posts by Kirsten Efremov

Megha Agarwal

Survivor, Breast CancerView Posts by Megha Agarwal

Sarah Bartosz


Sarah Bartosz is the President of the Gold In September (G9). G9 is dedicated to growing awareness, inspiring action, and funding research for childhood cancer. Pediatric cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease of children in the U...View Posts by Sarah Bartosz

Pat Taylor

Caregiver, Advocate

Pat Taylor became an AYA cancer awareness advocate when her daughter, Sara, age 23, was diagnosed with cancer back in 1997. Addressing the lack of support resources for young adults and their caregivers, Pat and Sara produced and distributed two films, “Sara’s Story” and “Chasing Rainbows Young Adults Living With Cancer”, and,

View Posts by Pat Taylor

JoAnna Barker


JoAnna Barker is a 20- something who defeated cancer and wrote a book about it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and then you’ll find multiple references to books and movies that she some how related to cancer...View Posts by JoAnna Barker

Samantha Krizo

SurvivorView Posts by Samantha Krizo

Samantha Martin

Survivor, NeuroblastomaView Posts by Samantha Martin

Olivia Clarke

Survivor, Breast Cancer

I’m Olivia Clarke and I’m a cancer survivor. ​I almost knock on wood every time I say those words because I’m always afraid my cancer will visit my doorstep again. I experience moments where I feel like a rock star and moments where I wonder if every new ache or bump is a sign of cancer coming back...View Posts by Olivia Clarke

Rachel Mihalko

Survivor, Hodgkin's LymphomaView Posts by Rachel Mihalko

Vickie Buenger

Caregiver, Neuroblastoma

Vickie Buenger grew up in various small towns in Texas, including College Station and Alvin. She serves as Clinical Professor at the Mays Business School with a joint appointment to the Professional Program for Biotechnology at Texas A&M University...View Posts by Vickie Buenger

Toba Wolf

Patient, Breast CancerView Posts by Toba Wolf

Nancy Sonmyxay

Patient, Breast CancerView Posts by Nancy Sonmyxay

Liz Kennish

Caregiver, Hodgkin’s lymphomaView Posts by Liz Kennish

Peter King

Survivor, Bowel CancerView Posts by Peter King

Mariah Forster Olsen

Survivor, Neuroblastoma

Mariah Forster Olson was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 1980 at the age of one, and as a result, she has many different medical conditions and late effects. She received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science degree and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and lives in La Crosse, Wisconsin with her husband, Troy, and their two cats, Holly and Isaac...View Posts by Mariah Forster Olsen

Sabrina Shelton

PatientView Posts by Sabrina Shelton

John Kirk


John Kirk is a popculture journalist, who immerses himself in the world of Star Trek, super-heroes, and everything a fan of nerdculture would love. John has interviewed many of the creators and personalities who live in this world and whose work can be found in publications like the Eisner Award-winning comics journal, BACK ISSUE, and websites like Trekcore...View Posts by John Kirk

Nick Hudson

Advocate and Bone Marrow DonorView Posts by Nick Hudson

Steve Giallourakis

Survivor - Osteosarcoma, AML and Patient - Sarcoma, Renal Cell CarcinomaView Posts by Steve Giallourakis

Amy Correa

Survivor, Breast Cancer, Stage 3 Triple Negative

I am a young breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed with Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer. I currently reside in San Diego, California and was born and raised in northern California. I am a degreed nutritionist who graduated from San Diego State University with a focus in Food and Nutrition...View Posts by Amy Correa

Alyssa Wilson

Breast Cancer, BRCA 1 Triple Negative

My name is Alyssa and I was diagnosed BRCA 1 triple negative stage two at 26 years old. My diagnosis came March 29th 2019. The same week my boyfriend and I closed on our house, two weeks before my birthday and in the midst of grad school...View Posts by Alyssa Wilson

Shannon Fitzgerald


Shannon Fitzgerald MS RDN LD, is a school based dietitian in suburban Cleveland. She is the founder of FIT KID TEXT. She teaches yoga and is passionate about healthy living; aiming high and true. Friends, family and especially her four young adult children are her heart and soul...View Posts by Shannon Fitzgerald

Beth Peck

Survivor, Breast Cancer, Stage 3 Triple Negative

Beth “Vi” Peck shows her “vivacious” personality as well as her extensive background in non-profit management and leadership in everything she does. She has experienced the transformational work Project Koru provides to young adult cancer survivors firsthand, because she is one...View Posts by Beth Peck

Dan Dean

Survivor, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, Stage 4

Dan is a 15-year survivor of stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Recognizing that few resources exist geared specifically toward men affected by cancer, Dan founded Cancer Dudes to bring men of all ages together to lead amazing, impactful lives after a cancer diagnosis...View Posts by Dan Dean

Sam Rose

Patient, Lynch SyndromeView Posts by Sam Rose

Kim Buff


Kim is the Founder & Executive Director of Momcology, a community-building nonprofit organization committed to supporting caregivers of children diagnosed with cancer through innovative peer-based programming...View Posts by Kim Buff

Allison Breininger

CaregiverAllison Breininger has been caregiver to her husband, Sean, since 2011, when he was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia. High school sweethearts, the two had been married for 9 years at the time of diagnosis, and had brought their toddler, Maya, home from Haiti, just one year earlier...View Posts by Allison Breininger

Elizabeth Jenkins

Lung Cancer, Stage IV

Elizabeth was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer in July 2017. Over a period of 14 months the cancer spread to her hip, lymph nodes, and brain. As a result of these seemingly overwhelming obstacles her spiritual life was transformed into a deeper and more intimate level...View Posts by Elizabeth Jenkins

Benjamin Rubenstein


Benjamin is the author of the Cancer-Slaying Super Man books...View Posts by Benjamin Rubenstein

Lynda Wolters

Survivor, stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)

Lynda was diagnosed with stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) in August 2016. She was told the average life expectancy was 5 years with a 20 month average “remission” time if remission could be reached...View Posts by Lynda Wolters

Ramae Hamrin

Patient, Multiple MyelomaView Posts by Ramae Hamrin

Nancy Ferro

CaregiverView Posts by Nancy Ferro

Lindsay Crawford

Patient, Multiple Myeloma

Lindsay Crawford, MD is an assistant professor, Dept. of Orthopedic Surgery at University of Texas Houston McGovern Medical School.

View Posts by Lindsay Crawford

Krysten Ford


Krysten is the CEO for Cancer Warriors Alliance. Krysten has been a caregiver since 2004 and has a background in justice studies, behavioral health, social work, and accounting. She has been very passionately advocating for the cancer community going on four years now...View Posts by Krysten Ford

Matthew Englander

Patient, Brain CancerView Posts by Matthew Englander

Rebecca Myers

Survivor, Breast CancerView Posts by Rebecca Myers

Mary Beth Collins


Mary Beth Collins, author of the blog Survivorship Matters posted on, is a parent advocate with a son who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 1999, and juggles a number of chronic side effects from treatment...View Posts by Mary Beth Collins

Mickey Kesselman

CaregiverView Posts by Mickey Kesselman

Hope Nesteruk

Patient, Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Hope lives just outside Baltimore, MD with her husband and two dogs, Zoe and Sandy. By day, she works in injury prevention for the federal government. In her free time, she enjoys kayaking the Chesapeake Bay, hiking with the pups, sewing costumes, and visiting palm trees whenever possible...View Posts by Hope Nesteruk

Marquina Iliev-Piselli

Survivor, Breast Cancer

Marquina Iliev-Piselli is a Digital Marketer and the Founder of, which aims to help authors feel empowered, not overwhelmed, by marketing. Originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan, she has a Masters from Columbia University in Instructional Technology & Media...View Posts by Marquina Iliev-Piselli

Justin Birckbichler

Survivor, Testicular Cancer

Justin Birckbichler is a men’s health activist, testicular cancer survivor, and the founder of In November 2016, he was diagnosed with stage II testicular cancer at the age of 25...View Posts by Justin Birckbichler