Rebecca Cook is our Senior Programs Manager of Research Initiatives. She rejoined the NephCure team in 2017 and hopped back into planning Research Events like Symposia and Research Rallies! Rebecca grew up in Maryland and graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 2015, with a double major in Sociology and International Studies. She loves most the parts of her job that enable patient families to participate in research education. In her free time, she can be found cooking up a storm of international vegetarian cuisine with local produce and taking pictures of her goofy tabby cat, Roland.
Savannah Dauster is our Community Development Coordinator. She joined the NephCure team in 2018 after graduating from Boyce College with a bachelor’s degree in humanities. Even though she went to college in Kentucky, Savannah was born and raised in Queens, New York and is a city girl at heart! She and her husband, Drew, were married in July 2017, and have made Philadelphia their home. In her free time, you can catch her reading Harry Potter, watching the West Wing, scanning CVS for expired goods (coupons galore!), or attending her church. Savannah loves NephCure’s mission, and is excited to play a part in making a difference in the lives of those affected by Nephrotic and Nephritic Syndromes.
Lauren Eva is our Director of Marketing & Communications. Affectionately known in the office as “Leva”, Lauren loves creating quality, concise pieces for NephCure and relishes every opportunity she gets to spend with NephCure families. Her favorite experience has to be Advocacy Day, where staff and patients from around the country speak directly with lawmakers about issues that are important to us—like increased research funding for FSGS and other kidney diseases. Lauren is a news junkie who just moved back to her beloved city of Detroit with her husband and their hound mix, Buster.
Kelly Helm is our Assistant Director of Patient Advocacy, also known as “she who knows all about Nephrotic/Nephritic Syndromes.” Kelly started with NephCure as a volunteer walk leader 7 years ago. After working as a regional coordinator, she was promoted to a full time employee in 2014. Kelly’s favorite thing is to help patients and their families feel less isolated and alone in their journey and to provide hope. Kelly is also known as “Macy’s mom.” Macy is 11 and has had FSGS since 2009.
Kristen Hood served as an assistant professor of nursing at Wayland Baptist University, in the pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program prior to joining NephCure. Kristen continues to teach, but in a different way during her role as Director of Clinical Outreach where she focuses on patients, families, and advocates within our community; specifically, with Kidney Health Gateway. Kristen earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Southwestern University in 2001. She then completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center in 2004. Kristen went on to earn a Master’s degree in Nursing in 2017 and is currently attending Bryan College of Health Sciences for her Doctorate in Nursing Education. Kristen’s background ranges from medical-surgical nursing, neonatal nursing, labor/delivery and postpartum, pediatrics, and school nursing. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Texas League for Nurses, and the National League for Nurses. Kristen resides in San Antonio, Texas with her husband Randy, three children, Ben, Logan, and Emma, and their beloved Vizsla, Copper Sky.
Allison Kostiuk returns to NephCure as the Director of Community Development after previously serving as a Regional Director, working with volunteers to plan local events and raise funds. Allison lives in NJ with her husband Jack and their four children. When she’s not working, you will find her on a field or in a gym cheering on her sporty children. Allison has recently acquired a love for running and ran her first half marathon in Walt Disney World, the day after turning 40. She has since completed 8 half marathons, 6 Broad Street Runs and handful of charity 5ks. Allison is happy to be back at NephCure to work alongside our community because “there is more work to be done.”
Lauren Lee is our Chief Research Officer. She has spent her career in a variety of corporate and nonprofit settings including a historic library, a university health system, political campaign and international credit card company. The one common theme in all of these roles is a shared sense of purpose that permeated the workplace. Working at NephCure has taken this feeling of camaraderie and passion to a new level. From day one, Lauren has been inspired and touched by the families we serve – their strength, bravery and kindness is unmatched. The doctors and researchers in this field are equally invested and genuinely motivated by the patients impacted by Nephrotic Syndrome. Lauren travels frequently to meet with patients and doctors and we are sure she has lived in, or has relatives in, every state in the country! In her downtime, Lauren enjoys yoga, long walks and spending time with her husband and two kids, Mick (15) and Paige (12).
Donna Phenald is proud to call Louisiana home where she was born and raised. She started volunteering for NephCure in 2018 and it wasn’t long before she was hired as a staff member as a Community Fundraising Coordinator. Donna loves volunteering and serving others whether it is at home, in her community, or for her church. She has been married, to her best friend, for most of her life. Her and her husband have two sons, 3 grandsons, and 2 granddaughters. Before coming to NephCure, Donna worked for the City of Baton Rouge where she retired. She also was a Real Estate agent, and taught herself how to sew after her first granddaughter was born. Donna even had her own sewing business. One of her best things about her job is advocating for NephCure and organizing events. However, her favorite thing is getting to know NephCure families, especially those in Louisiana. The more she gets to know the patients and their families, the more determined she becomes to not stop until there are better treatment options and a cure is found! She is totally committed to “Saving Kidneys. Saving Lives.”
Deb Pollock is our National Director of Advancement. Deb is so excited to join NephCure and work with such a positive team, working to find a treatments and a cure. Deb has over 22 years in fundraising and development with organizations including The American Red Cross, The March of Dimes, The American Diabetes Association, and The National MS Society. Deb is passionate about building relationships with individuals, families, and corporate partners and about bridging relationships through events and partnerships. Deb enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, and traveling.
Brad Smith is our Regional Manager for Signature Events. Brad has been working in the non-profit sector for the last 20 years. He has experience fundraising and relationship building for both national and local nonprofits in the Philadelphia region. Brad is excited for the opportunity to work with passionate people across the country for such an important mission. If he wasn’t working to make a difference for NephCure, Brad’s dream job is to be a game show host. When not dreaming, he enjoys running, fishing, and watching sporting events.
Brenna Snyder is our Community Development Manager and supports our wonderful volunteers who hold walks and other community fundraising events around the country. Whether you want to walk, run, ride, bowl, bake or dress down for a cure, she’s your girl! Prior to coming to NephCure, she was a stay at home parent who volunteered and organized events for her local elementary school. She has also spent time at the American Cancer Society and Autism NJ doing both advocacy and marketing/PR work. She lives with her husband and two boys in New Jersey and enjoys yoga, cooking, & politics.
Josh Tarnoff is our Chief Executive Officer. He came to NephCure in early 2018 when he fulfilled a long-held desire to more closely serve the rare disease patient community. Josh spent over 30 years working in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology community moving new therapies closer to reality. Personal contact with NephCure families drives his passion to achieve the goals of our mission and he always appreciates directly speaking with our community. Likely due to a snake bite, he also has personal insights into renal disease having been a patient. Josh lives in PA where he enjoys backpacking while also trying to avoid further contact with venomous snakes.
Ciara Trainor is our Associate Director of Operations. Ciara has previously worked with different nonprofits in the Philadelphia area. She is inspired by the sense of purpose and passion of everyone at NephCure. Ciara’s motto is “Cheese = Joy” and believes there’s nothing like a little cheddar to make any day grate. Sorry…that was a little cheesy.
Kylie Winkler is the Content Marketing Manager at NephCure Kidney International, who joined the organization in November, 2018. Before joining the NephCure team, Kylie started her career in broadcast journalism as a reporter for a Maryland television station. Storytelling is her passion, whether it’s through video, writing, or social media. Meeting and speaking with patients and their families across the country is one of Kylie’s favorite things about her position at NephCure. In her free time, Kylie enjoys exploring her native city of Philadelphia, spending time with family, visiting friends, going to the beach, and traveling.