Board Members

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Jon Sinder – Partner, Crown Liquors

Why is the Caroline Symmes Endowment important to you?

Given my personal relationship with the Symmes family, I got an up-close experience of what it’s like to experience the pain of losing a child.  Although I don’t claim to fully understand the depth of that pain, I thought as least I can try to do something to lessen the chance it happens to another family.  This endowment is clearly dedicated to the treatment and potential cure of many pediatric cancers.

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Brian Holmes, Vice President of Cardiac and Vascular Group Corporate Sales, Medtronic, plc.

Why is the Caroline Symmes Endowment important to you?

Nearly my entire career has been spent in healthcare delivering unique and life-saving technologies. Clinical research and collaboration with physicians, researchers, academia and industry are the life blood of breakthrough therapies. The need related to pediatric cancer research is apparent and significant. Nearly everyone has been touched by cancer in their families, however it is even more tragic when it affects a child whose life is just beginning and blossoming. Through our efforts, we can truly make a difference for these patients, families and our communities. Please join us on the journey as I assure you it is a worthwhile mission and both meaningful and gratifying. Let’s share the blessing of life and a healthy wellbeing!

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Joey Mervis, Endowment Advocate

Joey currently studies Vocal Performance at NYU’s Steinhardt School, with double minors in Producing and the Business of Entertainment. He is a proud graduate of North Central High School in Indianapolis. He first became involved with the cause when he directed the 2017 North Central Lip Dub, which raised over $21,000 for the Caroline Symmes Endowment.

Why is the Caroline Symmes Endowment important to you?

When we were planning the Lip Dub, we knew we wanted to find a cause that would inspire people and help bring about change. The Symmes family has taken something harder than we could ever imagine and used it to provide hope for so many other families. After learning about their selflessness, I felt like I had a responsibility, in the best sense of the word, to do whatever I could to help. Once the video was released, it was clear to me that it was just the beginning of an exciting partnership, and I feel very grateful for every step we take towards funding a cure.

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Tara Moore

Tara Moore started working in the nonprofit world after graduation from the School of Informatics at IUPUI. She currently works as the Marketing & Communications Specialist at USTA Midwest, where she is responsible for the conceptualization and creation of marketing projects for the organization.

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Andrew Thornton – VP & Corporate Banking Officer, The National Bank of Indianapolis

Andy Thornton has more than 20 years of experience in the banking industry. He began his career with Bank One, followed by Regions Bank. He then joined The National Bank of Indianapolis in 2007 and is VP and Corporate Banking Officer. Andy is President of the University Club of Indianapolis, serves as Treasurer for the Volunteers of America of Indiana, Random Acts of Flowers and The Woodstock Club. He is a former Treasurer of the Penrod Society.

Why is the Caroline Symmes Endowment important to me?

More families than not have been touched by cancer and unfortunately, my family is no exception. However, it was not until volunteering at the Riley Cancer Prom that pediatric cancer really grabbed my attention. I unexpectedly ran into a client whose daughter was one of the many kids in the room that were battling this terrible disease. This chance meeting really hit home that it can happen to anyone, including kids. I never had the pleasure of meeting Caroline, but I hope to utilize my financial background and contacts to help move the needle for the endowment and in turn pediatric cancer research.

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Gene Sponseller, Board Member Emeritus.

Gene retired from from Sofamor Danek, a Division of Medtronic, in 1999. During his career the company had many names (Warsaw Orthodedic, Danek, Sofamor Danek and finally Medtronic) and Gene held many positions such as General Manager, Sales Manager, V.P. and General Manager of Operations and President of Manufacturing.

Gene graduated from Plymouth High School in 1974. He then attended IUSB and IU-Bloomington from 1974-1981 concentrating his studies on Chemistry and Business.

Gene splits time in Zionsville, IN and Melbourne, FL with his wife of over 30 years Sharon. The couple have 3 children, (Brittany Pavey, Eric Sponseller and Stephen Sponseller) all living in the Indianapolis area.

Gene is currently on the Board of Directors of Perfinity Bioscience, a West Lafayette life science testing company. He also served 2 terms on the IU Varsity Club helping raise funds for IU athletics.

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Roxanne McGettigan, Director of Donor Relations

Roxanne has been working with non-profits for the last twenty years. After attending Austin College in Sherman, Texas, Roxanne put her education in sociology, psychology, and communication to work for the good of others. She is responsible for building and maintaining rapport with our current donors while also reaching out to other potential people interested in contributing to the amazing work the endowment is doing for pediatric cancer research. It’s her goal to increase the Caroline Symmes Cancer Endowment’s annual contribution to Riley to be greater than the $250,000 we usually give. If you share that goal, get in touch!

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David and Libby Symmes

For many years we had donated time and money to various causes, but never had a cause close to our hearts. When Caroline was diagnosed, our cause was dropped in our lap. During her hospital stays and visits to clinic, we would talk about raising money for research once she was out of treatment and healthy. Caroline never made it out of treatment.

With encouragement and seed money from our friend, Paul Hutter, we formed the Caroline Symmes Cancer Endowment at Riley Children’s Health. It was formed with the expectation that children’s cancers will one day no longer be considered ‘orphan diseases’.  With the knowledge that with every dollar donated to the Caroline Symmes Endowment, we open the door to a further $10 in government funding.

Dr. Clapp said. “The work that will come from this endowment over the next 5-10 years will be astounding.”  We expect nothing less.