MENU

PFAC Members

Patient and Family Advisors
 

Emily Bakaj, Advisor

Emily BakajMy journey began with Fox Chase when I wanted a second opinion for my breast cancer diagnosis and then transferred my health care. No one explained to me what was happening within my body as clearly as Fox Chase. My surgeons drew pictures and spoke to me in language I could understand. And from there, through my surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, additional surgeries, and lymphedema, I knew I had found a home that was nurturing and supportive while giving me the best medical care I could hope for. I am seven years out from my diagnosis and when I walk into Fox Chase, I feel enveloped with a sense of peace and well-being. I know that sounds odd, but I believe that speaks volumes about this facility and those who work here.

My mother passed away from breast cancer when I was in my early twenties and helping her through her journey, and then living my own, definitely changed me as a person—kinder, stronger, more giving and open. Support groups, peer support, and PFAC give me a chance to make a difference.    

In my day to day, I am the facility and property manager for an engineering consulting firm. I have been married for 23 years to a wonderful man, Myron, and without his support and love, and the support of friends, family, and Fox Chase Cancer Center, I would not be where I am today. 

Jim Lajeunesse, Advisor

Jin LajeunesseMy first experience with Fox Chase occurred when my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2003. He received chemotherapy and had a very specialized surgery called a pancreaticoduodenectomy, aka “the Whipple.” He received magnificent care and because of this care was able to lead a full life for almost two years after diagnosis (which beat the odds for pancreatic cancer at the time). Our family was so impressed with my father’s experience at Fox Chase that when my mother was diagnosed with a soft-tissue sarcoma and lung cancer in 2014, there was no question which cancer center we would choose. Ten years later, my mother has also received amazing care and thanks to Fox Chase, we just celebrated her 85th birthday. Both of my parents had rare and difficult-to-treat cancers and both received cutting-edge and compassionate care at Fox Chase. I see my work on the PFAC as a chance to give back to the institution that has done so much for our family.

I work as an account manager for a small biotech company that specializes in discovering and commercializing innovative treatments for patients with various types of cancer. I also volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PANCAN) and am on the leadership team for PANCAN’s Philadelphia affiliate. I have been married to my beautiful wife, Jeannine, for 24 years and we have four wonderful children. 

Lydia Henson, Advisor

Lydia HensonMy journey with Fox Chase Cancer Center started in July 2014 when I was diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. I wanted a second opinion, so I came to Fox Chase. I have the best oncologist and team at Fox Chase. When I started treatment, my doctor told me we had a fight on our hands and we started an aggressive type of chemotherapy. I am so thankful for the care and treatment I receive at Fox Chase.

Professionally, I am retired now but worked for 27 years as an administrative assistant for the City of Philadelphia. Now, I am volunteering at Fox Chase—a great place to volunteer where I meet so many great people.

Personally, I have been married for 25 years and have three great children.

Richard Lamb, Advisor

Richard Lamb, PFAC Advisor

Dan Macey, Advisor

Dan MacyI was treated for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2014 with serious rounds of chemotherapy and radiation that exposed me to the compassionate care of Fox Chase doctors, nurses, and staff. Because I was treated with chemotherapy on an inpatient basis, I became very familiar with the hospital and patient experience. While my care at Fox Chase has been superior, I know that being diagnosed with any form of cancer is life changing and scary. I want to use my hospital experience to enhance the overall patient experience and comfort level at Fox Chase, so it can continue to be one of the finest cancer centers. Having an advocate—be it spouse, family member, or friend—to help navigate the various intricacies of cancer treatment is critical to successful care. It is my goal to also be an advocate for patients within the greater hospital system.

Professionally, I am a commercial food stylist, whose job it is to make food mouth-watering and eye-appealing for the camera. My work can be seen in television commercials, cookbooks, food packaging, and in-store promotions. I also write recipes for companies and author articles about food and food history, including contributions to the James Beard award-winning Oxford Companion to Cheese. I am also active in organizations focusing on food history and architectural preservation. I live in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia. 

Judy Miller, Advisor

Judy MillerMy first experience at Fox Chase Cancer Center was in January 2012 when my husband was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. Because of the wonderful care he received, he had eight months of a relatively normal life until he lost his battle. I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer in March 2014. After extensive treatment, I was considered cancer free in October 2014. Triple-negative, however, has a high rate of recurrence of metastatic disease. In March 2016, I was faced with just that. I am currently participating in a Fox Chase clinical trial and am responding very well. My outstanding and dedicated health care team always treats me with the utmost dignity and respect. They listen to my concerns and questions as well as those of family members and always respond in a compassionate and professional manner. I feel that Fox Chase Cancer Center has given me a second chance at life!

I am so grateful to everyone at Fox Chase that I have been volunteering since early 2015. I have the unique perspective of having been both a caregiver and a patient. Being a member of the PFAC team allows me the opportunity to share ideas and thoughts that can enhance the patient and family experience, both inpatient and outpatient, and to help Fox Chase become an even better cancer institution. 

As a retired 5th grade school teacher, I have the time to pursue my many interests. I am also fortunate to have a terrific support system of family and friends. My two incredible children, their spouses, and my four amazing grandchildren are what make the fight worthwhile.

Mike Phillips, Advisor

Mike PhillipsProfessionally, I have over 45 years of consulting and corporate management experience in several industries. Through my consulting company, I have served clients in healthcare, manufacturing, food service, and retirement community development and management.

I have been the COO of three food service brands and for the past 12 years, I have been a consultant to the senior housing industry and to the largest Taco Bell franchise organization.

On a personal level, I have survived bilateral kidney cancer and advanced prostate cancer. In 2015, I underwent a kidney transplant. Details of my medical story can be found under Dr. Robert Uzzo’s patient testimonials on the Fox Chase website.

My treatment experience at Fox Chase Cancer Center led me to want to volunteer here, where I serve on two advisory boards as well as participate in the Patient-to-Patient Network, which pairs current patients with survivors of the same cancer. In addition, I am a volunteer mentor with Score, a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)-funded national organization that provides free consulting services to small businesses. I also continue with my private consulting practice.

I reside in Warminster, Bucks County, Pa.

Anne Prousi, Co-Chair

Anne ProusiI first became acquainted with Fox Chase when my mom was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer when I was a senior in high school. My mom had surgery here in early 2006 and came back for additional treatments when the cancer metastasized in 2007. A few years later, my dad was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and Fox Chase was the logical choice for his treatment as well. Throughout the years that my family spent in and out of Fox Chase for surgeries, labs, and doctor’s visits, we were always treated well and taken care of.

It was my fondness and respect for Fox Chase as an institution that prompted me to change career tracks and begin working here in 2013. It was natural, then, that when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014, I would turn to Fox Chase for treatment. We have now been part of the Fox Chase family for over a decade, and my experiences have allowed me to observe and learn from Fox Chase from three different vantage points: employee, caregiver, and patient. I chose to join PFAC in order to share those perspectives with others so that we can further improve the services provided at Fox Chase.

Marlene Snyder, Advisor

Marlene SnyderI have been on the cancer journey since November 1992 when I was treated at another hospital for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I thought I would be done with cancer after the 20 weeks of chemotherapy but to my surprise, I needed a bone marrow/stem cell transplant and had to move to another facility that was doing this procedure at the time. After feeling dissatisfied with the bedside manner of my oncologist, I decided to come to Fox Chase Cancer Center for better care and bedside manner when I began having symptoms and learned of my lymphoma recurrence three years after the transplant.

Fox Chase has given me care that is better than the best. My medical oncologist, surgeons, radiation oncologist, and nurses have saved my life through three more cancers and many complications since 1997. When I went through breast cancer from 2011 to 2013, I received outstanding care from nurses and doctors but saw opportunities for improvement while an inpatient over this two-year span. I mentioned my concerns, was invited to join PFAC, and here I am!

Elaine Ward Sykes, Advisor

Elaine SykesI first came to Fox Chase 20 years ago when my husband needed radiation for a prostate cancer recurrence. His treatment was successful, but later he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We confronted this terrible disease together for three years. Taking care of him was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, but with the incredible support of so many at Fox Chase, it’s also the best thing I’ve ever done. Our team dramatically prolonged his life, and I am very grateful for the compassionate care he received. 

I was treated compassionately as well after he died. Fox Chase provided meaningful bereavement counseling, which helped me move forward with my life. Wanting to give back, I volunteered on a hospital committee that explored how to emotionally support grieving families. 

Then in 2014, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I chose Fox Chase for my own treatment, undergoing major surgery and chemotherapy. My wonderful medical team has given me my life back and, once again, I am very grateful. I was particularly pleased to be able to address Fox Chase’s Laurel Society about our family’s journey with cancer. To express my appreciation publicly was indeed an honor and privilege. 

My roles as caregiver, patient, and volunteer have been instructive and have inspired me to strengthen my commitment to Fox Chase by serving on PFAC. I hope my voice will enhance the patient and caregiver experience for years to come. To that end, I also volunteer in the Patient-to-Patient Network to mentor new patients who are facing a disease like mine. 

My work experience includes a 25-year career at a major law firm focusing on recruiting and communications. In my retirement, I’m pursuing my interest in interior design and am trying to improve my golf game!

Jan Wormington, Advisor

Jan WormingtonMy first contact with Fox Chase was in 2006 when my husband was diagnosed with gastric cancer. After radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and multiple emergency hospitalizations, he has recovered to lead a full and very active life. Ten years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. There was no question that I would seek treatment at Fox Chase. It is a place of hope and healing for our family. 

I am retired from a career as an occupational therapist. My specialty was working with people with brain injuries. I also have a certificate in low vision therapy, served as an interpreter for the deaf, and taught secondary social studies. I have a family member with developmental disabilities and have a special interest in patient education. I hope to bring to PFAC increased awareness of some of the challenges faced by cancer patients who also have physical or cognitive disabilities.

Currently, I am a volunteer at the Moss Rehabilitation Aphasia Center where I participate in conversation groups and a book club. In my church, I serve on the policy board, teach adult classes, and chair the adult education committee. I have two adult children and four grandchildren. 

Staff Advisors

Executive Sponsors: J. Robert Beck and Anne Jadwin

Nancy Baumann, Director, Nutrition & Hospitality Services

Dr. J. Robert Beck, Chief Academic & Administrative Officer

Theresa Capella, Marketing

Paula Finestone, PhD, Clinical Psychologist

Helen Gordon, Director, Volunteer Services

Jill Horne, Manager, Internal Communications

Anne Jadwin, Chief Nursing Officer

Dwight McBee, MBA, BSN, RN, CPXP, Chief Experience Officer, Temple University Health System

Delinda Pendleton, Director, Strategic Clinical Initiatives

Catherine Tuite, MD, Radiologist

Connect with Fox Chase