The song based on the poem “The Human Touch” by Spencer Michael Free begins, “It’s the human touch in this world that counts.” Have you heard it? Do you know the words? To me it captures the depth of spirit present throughout the existence of Rein In Sarcoma. Spearheading the organization founded by their daughter, Karen, just months before her death from synovial sarcoma, Pete and Sue Wyckoff ensured Rein in Sarcoma has been tirelessly dedicated to people.
A little background for you. Over 50 years ago, Pete and Sue’s first date was a volunteer event. He asked her out, she accepted, and Pete picked up Sue on a moped. He handed her a flower he had accidentally run over - she pinned it on her lapel and off they went to raise money for a campus organization helping students. They have been a strong team ever since. They married at age 21. Sue was a teacher and Pete went to seminary, later becoming an ordained minister with a call as a community organizer through the Presbyterian Church. They had two amazingly intelligent children who emulated their parents drive for excellence and service.
The past year has been a big transition for Pete Wyckoff as he handed off leadership to Janelle Calhoun who joined as Executive Director in July, 2017. Pete completed the transition to new leadership as he passed the Board President's gavel to Debra Cossette at the 2018 Annual Meeting. Read more about Pete and Sue Wyckoff's roles going forward.
Deb and her husband, Terry came to know Rein in Sarcoma when Terry received the Patient Starter Notebook from the University of Minnesota Sarcoma team. He is thankfully now a six-year survivor. After volunteering at several RIS events, then finding more time after retiring and with an interest to learn something new, Deb got involved in the redesign of the website in 2015.
Deb grew up in the Twin Cities, graduated from the University of Minnesota in Electrical Engineering and built a career in product development at 3M, spending a few years working in Austin, Texas. Besides volunteering with Rein in Sarcoma, she enjoys traveling to experience new places and visit relatives and friends throughout the United States.
I am honored to become Board President of Rein in Sarcoma at such a pivotal time in the organization. Over the past few years I have come to highly regard Pete and Sue Wyckoff and all they have done to build such a impactful foundation. I appreciate Pete and Sue's continuing involvement as Janelle and I work to make the transition as smooth as possible. I'm am always impressed by the passion and commitment of the volunteers, medical professionals, board members, committee leaders and staff who enable RIS to serve and bring hope to so many patients and families. I look forward to meeting many more of you personally over the next year.
Blake Hastings is Managing Director Minneapolis/St Paul at CBRE, a commercial real estate services and investment firm. He was diagnosed with sarcoma in 2017 and both he and his co-workers at CBRE actively supported RIS, raising funds with a marathon and a chili cook-off. We look forward to Blake’s enthusiasm and non-profit board experience as a member of the Development Committee and as board Vice President.
Valeria Lopez Torres is a Visual Artist, Designer and Educator currently teaching at Century College. She has been our talented go-to graphics designer since she joined the PR-Marketing Committee in 2015, recently becoming committee chair. In addition to the beautiful event posters, invitations, and programs she has contributed, Val’s graphic design students redesigned our organizational brochure in 2017.
Scott Okuno, MD is Medical Director of the Oncology Department for Mayo Clinic Health System in northwest Wisconsin and Cancer Coordinating Committee chair for all of Mayo Clinic Health System. He has been supervising the RIS Sarcoma Scholars at Mayo Clinic since 2015, serves on our Medical Advisory Board, and is the key link between RIS and Mayo Clinic.
Linda Pomeroy has been a long time RIS volunteer active with the Party in the Park auction and garage sales. She and her husband, Rick, established the Andrea Pomeroy Named Fund in honor of their daughter who died from sarcoma. Linda sells “Andrea’s Tea Blend” to raise money for RIS, inspired by the tea room and gift shop she and her daughter owned together.
Retiring Board Members: We thank the following board members who completed their three-year term for their generous service to Rein in Sarcoma.
Sue Wyckoff - two terms, Sue will continue as Chair of the Red Flags Education Committee
Pete Wyckoff - two terms and outgoing Board President, Pete will continue to lead collaboration efforts with other sarcoma organizations.
Theresa Baultrippe - two terms, member Red Flags
Courtney Clemens - one term, outgoing Secretary
Christian Ogilvie, MD - one term, Medical Advisory Board and Red Flags lecturer
Thank you to all the Board members who serve RIS!