Board of Directors

Guiding the Work of Cancer Connection

We are grateful to our dedicated Board of Directors, helping to guide the important work of Cancer Connection in the Greater Toledo region. These individuals continue to foster essential partnerships within our Northwest Ohio community. If you are interested in serving on our Board, please contact our office.


Karen Mathison

Chairmen of the Board

Karen is an accomplished leader in the nonprofit sector and her local community. With 20 years of experience in successful fundraising, nonprofit management, strategic planning, board development and organizational development she has raised more than 90 million dollars impacting 14 counties in three states.

Under her leadership, the United Way of Greater Toledo annually raised more than $11.3 Million from individuals, corporations, grants and foundations. Prior to serving as the CEO for the United Way of Greater Toledo, Karen served as the President and CEO of United Way of Olmsted County in Rochester, MN for ten years.


Amy Smith



I started working with Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio in 2012. I am an Ovarian Cancer survivor and am honored to assist CCNWO in any way I can. I was blessed to have this wonderful organization with me during my journey through cancer and cannot think of anything better than to be able to do for others what was done for me. Currently I am an Office Assistant for Wizard World Softball Training Facility in Holland, Ohio.


Lizzie Smith

Director of the Junior Board

I began working with Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio in 2013, after my mom was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.  Being a part of CCNWO gave me many opportunities to give of my time and talents and help people with their cancer journey. I have co-chaired our Annual Family Bowling Event, helped with the annual 5K and help with other events whenever needed.  I am most proud of chairing our Annual Survivors Retreat, giving patients a day to not think about the cancer and just to relax and have fun.  I enjoy coaching travel softball.  I am a 2016 graduate of Cardinal Stritch Catholic High School.  Currently, I am a student at The University of Toledo.  I am a Paralegal Studies major with plans to attend Law school in the future.


Michelle Giovanoli

Board Member

I am the manager of a Radiation Oncology department, I am a licensed Radiation Therapist. I work at The Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center at the University Of Toledo Medical Center. I am a two year breast cancer survivor. I learned about the Cancer Connection through working with cancer patients for over 20 years. Recently I was asked to speak at a cancer connection event on “healthcare professionals who have/had cancer”. It was a great event, which then got me involved even more. I am happy to say I have volunteered locally with many cancer events. I hope my experiences, both personally and professionally, will be of service to the Cancer Connection team.


Sara Lajti

Board Member          

I currently work for a national insurance company in the Care Management Department. I have over 12 years of experience in the healthcare field including hands on patient care. I became involved with Cancer Connection when my 18 year old daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia her senior year in high school. I want to be an advocate and friend for patients and families affected by cancer. My biggest desire is to raise public awareness about Childhood Cancer, and to help others find joy in their journey.



Rich Kirby

Board Member                                                                                                                                                                               

I am the owner of American Cremation Events in Toledo. I am a Licensed Funeral Director in Michigan and Ohio. I am a 1986 Graduate of Ida High School, 1991 Graduate of Eastern Michigan University and 2001 Graduate of Wayne State University.  I live in Ottawa Lake with my wife and two teenage sons. What made me want to be a board member was seeing the passion that Jean has for Cancer Connection and realizing what a great opportunity to be part of a tremendous organization.


Andrew Mariani

Board Member                                                                                                                                                                               

Andrew Mariani became involved with CCNWO in 2011 as a Representative for the American Cancer Society working with Jean around patient education and referring to community resources. During his time at ACS, Andrew was involved with many community coalitions, cancer center’s leadership committees, state and national advocacy efforts around cancer legislation, and was nominated as a Health Care Hero in 2015. In 2017 he began working at Paramount Health Care in their Quality Improvement Department, which focuses on improving member’s health, like increasing cancer early detection screenings and improving behavioral health issues like reducing tobacco use. Andrew is not a native of Toledo having lived in Massachusetts, Columbus, and Cincinnati. While in high school he supported a friend going through cancer, which had a profound impact on pursuing a career in health. Andrew received a BS from the University of Cincinnati in Health Promotion and a Masters of Public Health from the coordinated BGSU and UToledeo Public Health Program. Andrew has lived in Toledo the last 15 years with his wife Elizabeth and they enjoy exploring all that NW Ohio has to offer including biking, lake life, the Art’s Community, Metro Parks, and giving back to the community they love.


Kathleen Greely

Board Member  

I started working with Cancer Connection of Northwest Ohio in 2018. I am a Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer survivor and it is an honor to assist CCNWO an organization that offers the care and support that patients and survivors need. When the cancer came back, I looked up and Cancer Connection was right there to see me through the next leg of my journey. I cannot think of a better way to spend my time – passionately living a purpose driven life as a subservient leader and advocate for cancer survivors. Currently I am the President/CEO of Broken Crayons Still Coloring, LLC in Toledo, Ohio.