Meet the compassionate and hard-working staff at Jacob’s Heart. We are a committed and inspiring group!
Lori started Jacob’s Heart in 1998 when her friends’ son Jacob was diagnosed with Leukemia. Prior to founding Jacob’s Heart, she was a bilingual educator for 13 years. Serving as the first Executive Director of Jacob’s Heart, Lori developed and secured sustainable funding for all of the programs that continue to support families of children with cancer.
In 2002, in response to a crisis in public health services for children with serious illnesses, she co-founded the Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition, and served as Executive Director for eight years along with Devon Dabbs. There, she built a state-wide coalition dedicated to improving care for children with life-threatening conditions, spearheading several healthcare policy initiatives including the enactment of the Nick Snow Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Act of 2006. This landmark legislation, along with provisions included in the Affordable Care Act, creates an entirely new hospice and palliative care service delivery model for children with cancer and other life-threatening conditions in California. The service delivery model created by Jacob’s Heart was key to the design of the legislation and ACA concurrent care provision.
Lori returned to her leadership role at Jacob’s Heart in 2013, improving services to an increasing number of children with cancer and their families.
Lori’s awards include Oprah Winfrey’s “Use Your Life Award,” California Association of Non profits “Achievement in Innovation” for development of creative, successful program strategies (2007), the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium Palliative Care Award for “outstanding leadership, commitment, and advocacy in improving end-of-life and palliative care for children and their families” (2007), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Award of Excellence” for the Western United States for an organization that has best “identified community needs for better care near the end of life, advocated for health system changes to bring about better care and developed and effectively implemented specific projects to do so” (2004). In 2008, Lori was named Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce Woman of the Year. In 2014 , she received a “Community Hero” award for the Community Assessment Project of Santa Cruz County and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Red Cross.
Lori is currently studying at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program with emphasis in Strategic Frameworks for Nonprofit Organizations and Exponential Fundraising. She earned two Bachelors Degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles and a post-graduate degree in Bilingual Education from the University of Maryland and the Univerisidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain. You can reach Lori at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liz Garcia is a graduate from the School of Social Work from San Jose State University and an End of Life Nursing Education Consortium trained trainer in bicultural pediatric palliative care. Liz’s philosophy of family support is to serve as a guide, accompanying families through the medical system, helping each family member find power and strength within themselves.
Liz has interned with the Community Action Board, is a member of the South Monterey County Regional Collaborative and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Group of Monterey County. Since joining Jacob’s Heart in 2013, she has performed nearly every family service function at the organization from coordinating transportation, family gatherings and celebration events, support groups, counseling and case management, “Art from the Heart” and the “Heart to Heart” programs, grocery deliveries and supervising volunteers. Most importantly, Liz ensures that monolingual Spanish-speaking families have the information and support they need. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Norma Anaya serves Jacob’s Heart families who lose a precious child to cancer or other circumstances in memory of beloved, Cecilia Anaya, who died at age 11 from cancer. Now, Norma and her entire family organize support groups, individual and family counseling, family celebrations, remembrances and legacies. In addition to organizing the grief support program, Norma is the Family Support Specialist for children with cancer and their families living in San Benito and South Santa Clara Counties, providing home visits, case management, resources and support.
As a bereaved family member herself, Norma brings her experience, strength of character and love for children and families to her work. Norma is certified as in bicultural pediatric palliative care and bereavement support through the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium. Norma can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One week before her 14th birthday, Mariela Medina was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma. Throughout the many years of treatment, three relapses and a stem-cell transplant, Mariela and her family received essential support from Jacob’s Heart. It is with
a spirit of gratitude and a desire to share her own experience that Mariela has returned to Jacob’s Heart as a happy, healthy 25 year-old. According to Mariela, “Knowing the challenges of a child with cancer, because I have lived it first hand, has helped me help families with the daily challenges of an ongoing treatment and life after it. ”
Mariela provides support and mentorship to teens with cancer and organizes fun, meaningful teen activities. “Being a teen with cancer is very different than it is for little kids, we know what’s going on – we need honest conversations and information from people like Mariela who understand what we are going through.” (from a Jacob’s Heart teen).
Like her colleagues at Jacob’s Heart, Mariela is a bicultural “trained trainer” in the art and practice of pediatric palliative care and bereavement through the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium. Mariela can be reached at email@example.com.
Bailey is a key member of the Jacob’s Heart team, ready to cheer us up, make us smile and give love and happiness to everyone she meets. She has earned her PhD: Profoundly Happy Doggie Degree.