Judy Goldberg Davanzo | Founder & President
I am a mother of two, a wife and a second time breast cancer fighter. In August 2001, at the age of 32, and after my first child turned 1 year, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer. I went through a double mastectomy and 8 rounds of chemotherapy. After about a year, hair loss and medically induced menopause, I became a survivor. 5 years later I was deemed cured!!
Having worked in marketing with Whole Foods Market while ill, I decided to take time off to spend with my daughter and husband and figure out who I now was and what I wanted to do. I graduated from college with a degree in teaching and had taught in the Baltimore County Public School System for 6 years before going into marketing and events. This prompted me to go back and do some educational work with the Baltimore County Health Dept. Here, I began teaching courses to female inmates.
In February, 2006, to the amazement of my breast surgeon and oncologist, I delivered a healthy baby. Now, 39 years old, I wanted to try my hand at being a stay at home mom. As much as I enjoyed this, I always found myself drawn back to work.
In addition to teaching, I assisted in producing a movie which was selected for screening at the Sundance Film Festival. After returning from the film festival in Utah, 11 years after initially falling ill, a routine medical test showed that I now had Stage 4 Terminal Breast Cancer, and it had found its way to my liver. Naturally, I assumed there was a mistake and had my blood tested again. Unfortunately, there was no mistake. Today, because so much of my liver is covered in tumors, my situation isn’t operable nor is a transplant a procedure I can have.
In trying to find a way to cope with my recent diagnosis and knowing that I don’t have a lot of time left, I’ve needed to find a way to still contribute to society, imprint what I think are important values to instill upon my children; especially when faced with situations that are out of our control, and leave behind an idea that will make an impact and better people’s lives. That’s where CaringOn comes in.
CaringOn allows advanced-cancer patients to say “thank you” to their caregivers by giving them a gift. Patients tell us who their caregiver is and what they would like to gift them. And CaringOn does our best to make this personal gift happen!
I believe that CaringOn will have a positive and substantial impact on our society and in the way that we take care of each other when terminal illness happens. I believe that it is important for you to understand my personal journey and how that led me to this endeavor. If asked what have I learned from having cancer; I would say that everyone has a “fight to fight.” Often, through the love they give, caregivers share in the patient’s battle scars and wounds.
Through your donations and support, CaringOn gives caregivers much needed rest and lets us say to them, “thank you” – for they too are survivors and heroes!
Lee Kappelman | Co-Founder/Vice-President
Why I co-founded CaringOn
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I realized that I felt terribly alone and shockingly mortal, but I was also very blessed. I was blessed because I was surrounded by my husband and my family who took great care of me – and for that I am eternally grateful. Their love and their belief in me and my capacity to get well helped me to heal and transformed my fear into faith. It is because of their precious caregiving that I decided to join Judy in creating Caring On and to thank other caregivers who, like them, bless our path and walk with us on our journey out of darkness into light. I dedicate my work in Caring On to them and to my mother, Joan Marilyn Kappelman, the greatest caregiver I will ever know.
Lee Kappelman has a 30 year business and nonprofit career that has concentrated on service to arts, culture and media organization. She has supported nonprofits and their Boards in diverse roles, including service as interim CEO, chief development officer, capital campaign manager, etc; driven results in fundraising consulting engagements for annual, capital and endowment campaigns; and managed a national nonprofit executive search practice. Lee previously was the chief advancement officer at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, held senior executive positions at CBS Television and King World Entertainment, and was a literary agent with Agency for the Performing Arts and the Renaissance Literary Agency in Los Angeles and New York. She holds a B.F.A. with honors from Boston University and an M.A. with honors from New York University.
Susan has a BS degree in finance from the State University of New York at New Paltz and has worked in various industries including publishing, technology and education. She served for seven years as the Director of Student Financial Services at Stevenson University. Susan left Stevenson in 2011 to be a full time mom. She lives in Timonium with her husband and daughter.
After leaving Stevenson University, Susan was able to commute to Northern New Jersey and be a caregiver for her brother during his treatment for stage 4 throat cancer. Today he is cancer free and doing well.
Susan herself is a cancer survivor. She was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 24. She had treatment and was cancer free for 10 years until it returned in her lymph nodes. Since her second surgery, she has been cancer free for 13 years.
“The CaringOn Organization is the perfect fit for me and exactly what I have been hoping to find for my next endeavor.” “My transition into the organization has been seamless, and the energy around this brilliant concept is electrifying”.
Thank you for supporting CaringOn!
Your support is important to the CaringOn programs. Only through your donations are we able to mindfully provide the gifts you send, through us, to caregivers. Without the support from the greater community we would not be able to give the gift of gratitude to caregivers who deserve recognition. A special thank you goes out to the individuals, businesses and organizations below.