Board of Directors



Stuart C. Apfel, M.D.

stuart President of Parallax Clinical Research
Associate Professor of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Dr. Apfel received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University and then received his MD degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University.  He completed his residency at Albert Einstein as well and for 10 years served as a full time faculty member before moving into the pharmaceutical industry.  He maintains his faculty position and continues to teach residents on a weekly basis.  His research interests focused on the development of neurotrophic factors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and disorders of the peripheral nervous system. His bench work led to the clinical development of nerve growth factor for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy, and he played a major role in the ensuing clinical trials conducted by Genentech, Inc.

After spending several years as Director of CNS Drug Development at Purdue Pharma, and Director of Clinical Research and Development at DOV Pharmaceutical, Dr. Apfel founded Parallax Clinical Research, a consulting firm that works closely with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to accelerate the development of new drugs.  He is also the founder of the Bristol Haven Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides counseling and assistance to patients with serious or terminal illnesses who have run out of therapeutic options.

Maria T. Crocitto

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Chief Executive Officer, Advantage Communications, LLC

Maria T. Crocitto is CEO of Advantage Communications, LLC, a medical education and communications company she founded in New York City in 1997. Ms. Crocitto has been a leading expert in implementing global education plans for medical societies, research centers, and the pharmaceutical industry. Her hands-on experience ranges from clinical research to journalism to the development of strategic medical education programs. After attending the Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program at Columbia University, she earned a Master of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a Certificate in Science and Environmental Reporting from New York University. Prior to founding Advantage, as a science writer at Medical Tribune, her articles were syndicated in Asian Medical News and the Japanese hospital posters Medical Bulletins. Ms. Crocitto also worked for six years in the United States Bureau of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. She is fluent in English, Italian, and Spanish. Outside the office, she has devoted her time to serving on the board of directors of the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation, and working on projects in Africa and the U.S for AIDS foundations, overnight homeless shelters and soup kitchens, supporting women survivors of war, and fundraising for hospitals’ neonatal intensive care units.

Joel Koral

Financial Representative
Northwestern MutualJoel

Joel Koral and his wife Marci, have been involved with fund raising for the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation since its inception in Sept 2005. Due to Joel's very close relationship with Steve and Marlene Portnoy, he shared their frustrations over the lack of information that was available when Steve was initially diagnosed with a Desmoid tumor.

Joel graduated from Albany State University in 1979 with a BS degree in accounting. Since 1983 he has been a Financial Representative with Northwestern Mutual. Joel has received his Chartered Life Underwriter ( CLU) designation along with the Chartered Financial Consultant designation ( ChFC).He is a licensed Financial Representative and has passed the series 6, 7 and series 63 exams. He has consistently been a sales leader with Northwestern Mutual. Joel also consults with over 200 small business owners in the New York New Jersey and Connecticut area helping them with their group benefits for their employees.

Over the past 15 years, Joel has worked with numerous non-profit organizations helping them with their fund raising and capital campaign efforts Joel has served on the board and executive board of various community and non-profit organizations.

Joel and his wife currently reside in Suffern, New York and they have 2 sons, Neal and Michael.

Bruce Larson

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Managing Director, Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Chief Administrative Officer, Goldman, Sachs & Co., Salt Lake City

Bruce Larson joined Goldman Sachs in 1987 following his graduation from the University of Chicago, where he received his MBA.  Among other roles, Mr. Larson has been head of Asia-Pacific Mergers and Acquisitions (while stationed in Hong Kong) and spent three years providing mergers and acquisitions advisory to clients in Japan.  Mr. Larson served for one year as the chief of staff to the CFO of Goldman Sachs before becoming the global head of human resources, which he did for five years (1995-2000).  Following his role as head of HR, he became the Chief Operating Officer of the Communications, Media and Entertainment group within the Investment Banking division - a role he played for over two years.  During his time at Goldman Sachs Mr. Larson has been a member of a number of the firm's important operating committees, including the Compensation Committee, the Retirement Committee, the Recruiting Committee, the Diversity Committee, the Wellness Advisory group and the IPO team which was involved in taking Goldman Sachs public in 1999.  He was also invited by Goldman Sachs to participate in a two day executive seminar at Harvard Business School focused on developing leaders in the non-profit world.

Mr. Larson's involvement in the non-profit world includes serving for the past seven years on the board of trustees of New York Downtown hospital in New York City.  In that capacity he was an active member of the hospital's "turn-around" committee, focused on improving the financial performance of the hospital, and was a member of the Executive Committee of the hospital.  Additionally Bruce oversaw the hospital's "Kress Vision Fund", an endowed fund established to provide free eye care screening and treatment in economically challenged areas of New York city.  Mr. Larson has held several other leadership positions in other community and non-profit organizations, including the University of Utah College of Humanities advisory board and the University of Utah School of Business New York Advisory board, the Boy Scouts of America and the New Canaan Basketball Association.

Mr. Larson graduated with a B.A. in Finance and Japanese from the University of Utah and with his MBA from the University of Chicago. He resides in Connecticut with his wife, Gayle and their five children

Jerry March

Executive Vice President, KenKen LLCjerry march 2014

Jerry March is currently Executive Vice President of KenKen LLC, a digital marketing company based in Pleasantville, New York that develops unique products for the toy, gaming, and education industries. After graduating cum laude from Yale University with a BA in History and Harvard Business School, Jerry pursued a successful career in general management as an executive and investor.  He co-founded Arden Group Publications, a national publisher of regional consumer wedding magazines, where he served as President, and was a principal and EVP at Venture Opportunities Corporation, a Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) where he invested in, and provided strategic planning and senior management, to a variety of businesses owned and operated by minorities and women.  For the past 11 years, he served as a senior executive at MBI, Inc., the world's leading direct response marketer of consumer collectibles, where he was in charge of all strategic development, business operations, management, and marketing for a $60 million division. In addition to his executive experience, Jerry has been actively involved in a number of non-profit entities.  For four years, he served as the Chairman of the Byram Hills Education Foundation where he raised over $1.4 million dollars to fund grants proposed by the district's educators and administration.  He was also a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Banksville Nursery School and is currently serving on the Board of Trustees for the North Castle Public Library. Jerry and his wife Mary live in Bedford, New York, and are proud parents of three children.

Michelle O'Donnell

Fundraising Chair
The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation

Michelle  was diagnosed with a desmoid tumor in the mesentery in June 2012. The rarity of the disease, fear of recurrence, and overall lack of accessible knowledge regarding this disease led her path to The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation (DTRF). Two months Michelle Roundspost surgery Michelle has turned from patient to advocate in an effort to raise funds and awareness for DTRF.

Michelle graduated magna cum laude from the State University of New York at New Paltz  in 1993 where she earned a BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. She then moved to New York City and began a successful career as an I.T. recruiter until 2011. As a result of her diagnosis and experience with desmoids, Michelle has decided to devote time and energy to helping others by getting involved in fundraising.

Michelle resides in Nyack, NY with her partner Rosie and their four children.

Rosie O'Donnell

Board of Directors, The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundationrosiebw

For six years, Rosie O'Donnell was America's best friend. For an hour each day she served as host and executive producer of the critically acclaimed and Emmy Award winning nationally syndicated talk/variety series "The Rosie O'Donnell Show." In her first season on the air, she won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host.  She continued her success for five consecutive seasons by winning Daytime Emmy's for both Outstanding Talk Show Host and Outstanding Talk Show. Rosie was also seen on daytime television as moderator on the tenth season of ABC's "The View,"  and hosted the satellite radio show,  "Rosie Radio" on SiriusXM.  She returned to television hosting in the fall of 2011 with "The Rosie Show" on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network through spring 2012.

Rosie made her dramatic television debut in CBS's Hallmark Hall of Fame production, "Riding the Bus with My Sister," and has made guest appearances on "Will and Grace," "All My Children," "Suddenly Susan," "Spin City," "Sesame Street," "The Nanny," "The Larry Sanders Show, " "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Nip/Tuck,"  "Queer as Folk," "Happily Divorced," and Showtime's "Web Therapy." O'Donnell has also executive produced and hosted "Stand Up Spotlight" on VH1, and hosted Nickelodeon's "Kids Choice Awards" from 1997–2003. Rosie executive co-produced, co-wrote, and starred in the 2009 Lifetime Original Film, "America." Rosie has also been involved in several HBO documentaries. She was the co-executive producer of "Rosie's Family Cruise" and "A Family Is a Family Is a Family: A Rosie O'Donnell Celebration." Most recently, she executive co-produced "Don't Divorce Me," a documentary examining divorce through the eyes of affected children, which will premiere on HBO on September 20, 2012.

On the big screen, O'Donnell has starred in A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle, Another Stakeout, The Flintstones, Exit To Eden, Now and Then, Beautiful Girls, Harriet the Spy, Wide Awake, and was the voice of Turk in Walt Disney's Tarzan. In April 1997, Warner Books published Kids Are Punny, a best-selling collection of her favorite jokes sent to the show by kids, with all proceeds going to her ROSIE'S FOR ALL KIDS FOUNDATION. In April 2002,  Rosie also shared her gift for writing with the release of her book Find Me, followed by Celebrity Detox: (The Fame Game) in 2007, and most recently Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty U in 2008.

When critics claimed that Broadway was on the decline and the networks threatened to stop broadcasting the Tony Awards, Rosie, an ardent fan of the theater, came to the rescue.  Not only did she agree to host The 51st Annual Tony Awards, but she also did a weeklong tribute to the Great White Way on her show leading up to the event. Following her heart to the stage, the multi-talented Rosie starred as Rizzo in Tommy Tune's 1994 revival of Grease. Her other stage credits include the Broadway productions of Seussical and Fiddler on the Roof, Love, Loss and What I Wore, and the Encores! production of No, No, Nanette. In 2004, Rosie combined her love of Broadway with 80's pop musical sensation, Boy George and produced the musical, Taboo, based on his life.

Rosie O'Donnell has taken her popularity and put it to good use. As a tireless crusader for children, she established the ROSIE'S FOR ALL KIDS FOUNDATION, in 1997. Since its inception, the foundation has raised more than $60 million and awarded more than $27 million dollars in grants to over 1,400 child-related non-profit organizations to benefit low income families across the country. In 2005, Rosie established a fund to provide $3 million dollars to children and families displaced by Katrina which, among other projects built the first-ever childcare facility in a FEMA housing site, at Renaissance Village in Louisiana. In 2003, Rosie established ROSIE's THEATER KIDS, a program that provides free in-school, after-school and summer instruction in musical theater to the public school children of New York.  In February 2009, Rosie's Theater Kids opened the door to its new home, Maravel Arts Center, a performing arts school in the heart of New York City's theater district.  

In addition to her multiple Daytime Emmy Awards, Rosie received a Primetime Emmy Award for "The 52nd Annual Tony Awards," and has graced the cover of Newsweek magazine (dubbed the "Queen of Nice"). In 1996, she was named one of Ladies' Home Journal's Fascinating Women of the Year, one of Barbara Walter's 10 Most Fascinating People of 1996, and Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year. In 1997, she was cited as one of Time magazine's 25 Most Influential People in America. Rosie launched her website www.Rosie.com where she publishes her photos, artwork, answers questions, and keeps a blog. The award-winning website has been recognized as one of the best celebrity blogs by Entertainment Weekly and earned a Blogger's Choice Award in 2007.  In May of 2007, Time Magazine named Rosie one of the one hundred most influential people in the world for their "Time 100" cover story.

Marlene Portnoy

marleneCo-founder and Executive Director, The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation

Marlene Portnoy, co-founded The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation with Jeanne Whiting because of the frustration she felt with the lack of information and lack of research on this rare sarcoma. Her husband, Steve, was diagnosed in August 2004 with a retroperitoneal desmoid and has since been treated with surgery and radiation.

After graduating magna cum laude from Albany State University in 1981, Ms. Portnoy pursued a career in sales, which she started at Corning Glass Works from 1982-1985 in Chicago, Illinois. She then moved to New York and worked for Playskool Toys, a division of Hasbro Toys, first as a sales representative and then as a District Sales Manager for the Middle Atlantic territory from 1986-1993. She then took time out to raise her two young children and became active in community service which has included activities such as running various social action programs, participating in the local soup kitchen, and working on golf outings and walkathons for local community interests. She resides in Suffern, New York with her husband, Steve, and two daughters Brittany and Danielle.

Kevin Reilly

kevinbw

Motivational Speaker

Kevin Reilly is a well-renowned Motivational Speaker and a former Linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles. In 1979, Kevin underwent the life-changing amputation of his left arm as a result of a desmoid tumor.

Kevin’s story begins in Wilmington, Delaware where he graduated in 1969 from Salesianum School where he was captain of his varsity football and basketball teams and a starting catcher on the baseball team. He attended Villanova University in Pennsylvania on a full four-year athletic scholarship, graduating in 1973. Kevin was Villanova’s MVP and first team All-East as a linebacker. Upon his graduation, he was drafted in the seventh round of the college draft by the Miami Dolphins. In 1976, Kevin returned home to serve as captain of the “special teams” for the Philadelphia Eagles. Later in that year, Kevin was traded to the New England Patriots. Upon his release from the Patriots, he began working for the Xerox Corporation in Wilmington and recently retired as Marketing Manager after a 30 year career there.

Kevin has been named to the Delaware, Villanova University and Salesianum High School Halls of Fame.

In 1980 Kevin started sharing his story as a motivational speaker. His emotional and physical comeback and the trials and difficulties he encountered along the way make him one of this country’s most valuable speakers. Kevin is known to his peers and business associates as being centered and knowing who he is. He has a positive attitude that touches all with whom he comes in contact.

Kevin currently resides in Wilmington, Delaware and serves in various capacities for many area charities including, Easter Seals, Boys & Girls Club, Special Olympics, Delaware Autism Society, & The Garo Yepremian Brain Tumor Foundation. During football season, Kevin also serves as a broadcaster for WYSP for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Barbara Ann Sellinger

Board of Directors, The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation
Barbara S

Barbara Sellinger is the Co-Chair and General Counsel for Arts Horizons. Previously, she was the General Counsel for Kamine Development Corp, the Group Vice President, Enterprise Labor and Employment Law at Wyndham Worldwide, Chief Legal Officer, Labor and Litigation Counsel at American Standard and Chief Labor and Litigation Counsel at RJR Nabisco. Early in her career, she worked for the National Labor Relations Board Division of Judges and the U.S. Department of Labor. She previously worked as an associate at the labor and employment law firm of Grotta, Glassman and Hoffman and in the employment law group of the law firm Cohen Shapiro. She was a partner at the labor and employment law firm of Epstein Becker and Green. Ms. Sellinger received her bachelor's, Magna Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa/Phi Kappa Phi from Syracuse University, her master's, from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and her law degree from the Washington College of Law at American University, where she was awarded a dean's fellowship.

Her memberships, affiliations and awards include: Board Member, Horizons Newark 2013-present; 2012 Boy Scouts of America Tribute to Women Award; 2009 Corporate Sector NJ Women Lawyer Association Women’s Initiative and Leaders in Law Platinum Award; American Cancer Society, Board of Advisors Member, Northwest NJ Region 2012-present; American Cancer Society, Chair, Starry Night Gala, 2010-present; American Cancer Society, Executive Committee, Annual Golf Classic-2010-present; NJPAC, Committee Member Vanguard Committee, 2012-present; ArtsHorizons, Trustee 2009-present; New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Board Member-2012-2013; American Corporate Counsel Association, Former Board Member (1994-1995); New Jersey Corporate Counsel Association, Former President (1993-1995), and Former Board Member 1993-2013; New Jersey State Bar Association, Former President of Young Lawyers Division, Former Member of the Board of Trustees (1983-1984); NYU School of Law, Center for Labor and Employment – Former Advisory Board Member (2001-2003); Atlantic Legal Foundation, Former Advisory Board Member; United Way, Morris County, Former Executive Board Member (1995); Special Olympics of New Jersey, Former Board Member (1999); Metropolitan Corporate Counselor, Former Advisory Board Member; Family Services, Morris County, Former Co-Chair - Ball Fundraising Committee; Embrace the Kids, Former Board Member and Advisory Board Member; Hamilton Farm Golf Club, Former Treasurer and Tournament Chair and President.

Sera F. Snyder

Sera Snyder bw

Manager of Physician Relationship Management Program, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Sera F. Snyder was diagnosed with a desmoid tumor in her abdominal wall in November 2008. Sera Snyder was diagnosed and treated for an abdominal desmoid tumor in 2008 at the age of 26. Her diagnosis and search for treatment options yielded a lot of questions, but few answers.  She initiated lifestyle changes and most importantly a change in her outlook on life - choosing to use this as an experience that propelled a new purpose and passion for her life.  She found a purpose of living her life fully, helping others find the help they need during difficult diagnoses and continuing to find answers and cures for desmoid tumors. Sera changed careers from finance to healthcare to align with her purpose as well and founded Running for Answers (RFA) to raise awareness and money for desmoid tumor research.  She lives in Virginia and remains in an active role in RFA and its fundraising as well as supporting patients through their desmoid diagnoses.

Jeanne Whiting

jeanne

President and Co-founder
The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation

In 2005, Jeanne Whiting The Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation with Marlene Portnoy to facilitate and fund desmoid tumor research and support patients with access to information. Jeanne's personal journey with a retroperitoneal desmoid tumor involved resection, recurrence, 2 1/2 years of two different chemotherapies and eventual loss of her right kidney. She is keenly aware of the needs of the desmoid community, and is dedicated to accelerating the search for a cure.

Prior to co-founding DTRF, Jeanne spent most of her career as an attorney. After attending University of Michigan Law School and J. Reuben Clark Law School, she received a Juris Doctor degree, magna cum laude, in 1980. She then clerked for the Michigan Court of Appeals in Detroit, Michigan, and in succeeding years practiced with Sidley & Austin in Cairo, Egypt and in Washington, D.C.; with Shearman & Sterling in New York, New York; with Stern, Dubrow & Marcus in Maplewood, NJ; and, as a sole practitioner.

After retiring from the practice of law to raise her family, Jeanne became involved in various nonprofit organizations, including serving as Northeast Director for Choice Humanitarian (1997-1998) and Executive Director of FamilyCares (2000). She feels that getting a desmoid tumor was both a wake-up call and a calling to a new endeavor as it became clear to her as a patient that this was a field that needed jumpstarting into a new level of accelerated research to develop new treatments.

Jeanne resides in New Canaan, Connecticut with her husband Steve. They are the parents of four sons and a daughter.