Meet the compassionate and hard-working staff at Jacob’s Heart. We are a committed and inspiring group!

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Lori Butterworth, Founder and Executive Director *

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

Dr. Lily Rich, PsyD  – Director of Clinical Counseling Services

“My passion comes from connecting with my clients and watching them move from loneliness and fear to hope, connection and confidence through the work that we do.”

Lily Rich volunteered at Jacob’s Heart during her first year of college and helped grow our programs back in 1999. Inspired by what she learned at Jacob’s Heart, Dr. Rich went on to receive her doctorate in clinical psychology from Argosy University in 2008 and has been working with clients in the San Francisco and Santa Cruz areas since 2009. In 2012 she transitioned from a position at Mills Hospital where she worked with seniors, adults and adolescents through her program, Healing at Home. Dr. Rich returned to Jacob’s Heart in 2015 to serve as a clinical psychologist and direct our counseling services. She and other counselors can be reached at

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Liz Garcia BSW

Liz Garcia BSW, Director of Family Services *

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

Anabel Diaz – Bicultural Program Coordinator *

Anabel Diaz not only spends her days coordinating programs and services for Jacob’s Heart families, she also serves as Youth Mayor for the City of Watsonville and the Youth Violence Prevention Task Force for Santa Cruz County. At Jacob’s Heart, Anabel coordinates transportation, grocery deliveries, hospital care packages, family gatherings and celebration events. All this while supervising teams of high school and college volunteers. Most importantly, Anabel makes sure families have all of the information they need about their appointments, schedules and services. She also supports families participating in “Art from the Heart” and the “Heart to Heart” programs.

Anabel was honored with the “Cesar Chavez Award” for 2015 for her commitment and service in the Central Coast community. She can be reached at

Anabel Diaz
Norma Anaya

Norma Anaya – Bereavement Coordinator and Family Support Specialist *

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

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Mariela Medina Bilingual Family Liaison and Teen Group Coordinator and Mentor *

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

Janet Krupa – Program Manager for Full Hearts Groceries and Nutrition and Caroline’s Closet Programs, Volunteer Coordinator

Janet came to Jacob’s Heart as a volunteer and quickly grew to love the children, the staff and the compassionate care she found at her beloved, “Jacob’s.” She skillfully organizes our grocery deliveries to families, arranges for new school clothes and gifts to be delivered to the children and families, and make sure our volunteers are ready and inspired to work.

Janet is “officially retired” but reignited her love for meaningful work at Jacob’s Heart. She is available to drive families to treatment when needed and make sure every family has the supplies they need to make a difficult situation a bit more enjoyable for children.

Janet Krupa
Bailey PhD

Bailey PhD *– Director of Smiles, Play and Happiness

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.

 members of our board and staff who are family members of a child with cancer, are bereaved by loss of child or have survived childhood cancer or a life-threatening condition themselves.

If you would like to join our team, check with us for employment and volunteer opportunities.

* indicates bilingual or bicultural

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