and Founder -
Linda Rozell-Shannon, PhD
Linda and her daughter, Christine, reside in upstate New York. Linda founded
VBF after her daughter was born with a hemangioma on her lower lip and she was
unable to find information on treatment options. Dr. Waner surgically removed
Christine's hemangioma in 1995. Linda and Dr. Waner wrote the only book for
parents on the subject of birthmarks called "Birthmarks: A Guide to Hemangiomas
and Vascular Malformations." Linda is also a chapter author in the Facial Plastic
Surgery Clinics of North America textbook on "Vascular Birthmarks of the Head
and Neck" (published in 2001), which was guest edited by Dr. Marcelo Hochman.
Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon completed her PhD in 2008 at Walden University. Her
dissertation topic: Assessing the Impact of Hemangiomas on Maternal Stress was
written to support insurance appeals for families denied coverage.
VBF Executive Assistant
Insurance Appeals Specialist
Barbara (Basia) Joyce
lives in Niskayuna, New York, with her husband Jim, her son Jimmy and her daughter
Anna. She works for the NYS Department of Health.
Anna had a large hemangioma removed from her forehead in 2007 when she was
10 months old. Basia and her husband struggled to get insurance coverage for
this surgery and had to pay out of pocket but won the appeal through an external
appeals process and were reimbursed by the insurance company for all surgery
expenses. She worked with Dr. Linda Rozell-Shannon to produce the VBF Insurance
Guide. Basia first volunteered as the Ask the VBF Insurance Appeal Expert and
joined the VBF Board of Directors in 2007.
In 2008, Basia became the Executive Assistant for VBF. Basia continues to assist
families with appeals while performing other duties in her role as Executive
Lauren is a wife, mother and High School History Teacher at a school in Upstate
New York. She has an interest in medical issues and a love for children. She
devotes her spare time to maintaining the finances for The Foundation.
join the VBF in welcoming professional baseball player Frank Catalanotto and his wife
Barbara as Honorary Chairpersons. We know that by having their enthusiasm
and support, VBF can make a real difference in this world.
Frank Catalanotto was one of the top hitters in the Major Leagues
in 2001, finishing with a batting average of .330 and challenging
for the American League batting title.
While Frank is a professional baseball player with an impressive record, he
is also a spouse and parent just like you and I. And when he and Barbara had
their daughter in 1999, they were perplexed by a strange mark on her face that
was soon diagnosed as a type of vascular birthmark called a "hemangioma."
VP and Director of Advocacy Alliance
Brian A. Bolinger has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Vascular
Birthmarks Foundation since 2006.
A native of Elkhart, Indiana, Mr. Bolinger is currently the President and Chief
Executive officer of Apollo Power & Light, LLC, a retail electric provider
based in Dallas, Texas. Prior to starting Apollo, Mr. Bolinger was Vice President
of Legal Affairs and Operations for dPi Teleconnect and dPi Energy. Mr. Bolinger
has also served as Corporate Counsel and Director of Human Resources for Smock
Fansler Corporation, a large commercial construction company based in Indianapolis,
Brian earned his bachelor’s degree from DePauw University in Greencastle,
Indiana, his master’s degree from Midwestern State University in Wichita
Falls, Texas and his doctorate of jurisprudence from Indiana University School
of Law in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Brian and his wife Natalie, who is also a member of the Board of Directors
for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation, become involved with the foundation
after their daughter Nicole “Coco” was born with a compound cheek
hemangioma in 2003. Through the foundation, the Bolingers were networked to
a physician who, through a series of six surgeries, completely removed both
of Nicole’s hemangiomas.
Brian and Natalie started the Angel’s Kiss Gala in 2003 to raise awareness
and funds for the Vascular Birthmarks Foundation. Since 2005, the Gala has been
the highest grossing annual fundraiser for the VBF.
Brian and Natalie reside in Corinth, Texas and have two children.
Secretary and Parent Rep
Tiffany lives in Kentucky and has worked behind the scenes for years, helping
with projects and supporting efforts concerning Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS).
Her son, Glen, was born with the rare disease. Tiffany, along with others affected
by SWS, helped to found the Sturge-Weber Syndrome Community (SWSC). Tiffany
and Glen have been advocates for SWS and vascular birthmarks, and have spearheaded
fundraising campaigns and awareness projects. She also serves as the Patient
Advocate and Welcome Volunteer for the SWSC.
VBF Director of Family Services
has a B.A. in Communications and Advertising. She lives in the Seattle, Washington
area with her husband and their four boys. Their son, Nicholas, had a large
segmental hemangioma. Corinne's quest to learn about her son's condition resulted
in her becoming the manager of the MSN Vascular Birthmarks Support Group. She
is a staunch advocate for parents. Her mission is to educate the public and
physicians about the latest information concerning the diagnosis and management
of vascular birthmarks. She is available to answer your questions and direct
you to the appropriate physician and resources. Corinne is dedicated to working
with families on an individual basis to address their specific needs.
Director of International Chapters
Glenda Ethington is cofounder of the Sturge-Weber Syndrome Community, a worldwide
organization for individuals and families living with Sturge-Weber syndrome
(SWS.) Her grandson, Glen, has SWS and she was inspired by his courage to form
an Internet support group for SWS, which eventually led to the SWSC chapter
membership into the VBF. She has a background in print journalism, and currently
resides in Kentucky.
At only 2 weeks old, Saige developed an extensive hemangioma on her lower lip
and both sides of her face. She has undergone 11 reconstruction surgeries and
7 laser procedures. She has been involved in the VBF since 2003, as she began
moderating the teen discussion forum on the website. In 2005, Saige designed
the original turquoise-silicone bracelets and sold them nationwide (she raised
awareness and $5,000 to put towards research). In October 2006, Saige was elected
the youngest board member in our foundation's history. Saige is currently studying
graphics design in college and has been creating all of VBFs marketing and graphics
her husband Brian, and their two children Brock and Nicole live in the Dallas
suburb of Corinth, Texas. Nicole was born with a compound hemangioma on her
right check at the corner of her eye and nose. The VBF networked the family
with Dr. Waner who, through a series of surgeries, completely removed the hemangioma.
Brian is a corporate attorney and in 2003 he and Natalie began the North Texas
Vascular Birthmarks Foundation Benefit which has become the largest annual fundraiser
for the VBF.
Leslie M.W. Graff
has a Bachelors in Elementary Education and Masters in Marriage, Family, and
Human Development from Brigham Young University. She completed her child life
training at Johns Hopkins Children's Center and is a certified child life specialist,
trained to address the psychosocial/emotional needs of children and adolescents
in relation to their medical conditions by providing psychological preparation,
and therapeutic support activities. She worked as a child life specialist at
University of California San Francisco Medical Center and was on the faculty
at Ohlone College. She has worked with thousands of children in countries around
the world as a child life specialist for Operation Smile medical missions She
lives in Massachusetts with her husband and 3 sons. One of her sons has a port
and her husband, Kevin, and two sons, Casey and Cody live in Albany NY. Lianne
joined the the VBF as a Parent Representative to assist other parents and children
find the right path to meeting their birthmark needs. The VBF was instrumental
in her son Cody having his lymphatic malformation removed from his right hand
in 2005 by Dr. Joseph Upton at Boston Children's Hospital. Lianne is aan Electric
Design Representative for National Grid Electric Company.
Marvin Kalafer, M.D. and Dinah Gonzalez, M.D.
and Dinah live with their daughter Marisa in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania.
Marisa developed a large upper eyelid hemangioma that was removed by Dr. Waner
when she was 5 months old. Both Marvin and Dinah practice Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Greg Antonelle lives in New Jersey with his wife Elyssa and their three sons,
Ryan (born in 1998), Tyler (born in 2000), and Nicholas (born in 2004). Greg
is Founder and Managing Director of AimHire Associates, LLC (www.AimHire.com),
a full-service staffing firm and regional leader in the recruitment field. His
son, Nicholas was born in February of 2004 with a lymphatic malformation, leading
to his volunteer efforts with VBF.
is a registered nurse with many years of experience in pediatrics, dialysis
and cardiology. Her adult son, Mark was diagnosed with lymphangiomatosis as
a child. Karen spent most of her nursing career caring for her son around the
clock. She is willing to share her experiences with patients and providers ,
advocate for patients, and help them negotiate the healthcare system in their
journey toward healing.
VBF California Chapter Treasurer
Coordinator, VBF Musicians for Birthmarks
an opera trained singer, is the Coordinator for VBF Musicians with Birthmarks.
She lives in NYC and has a port wine stain on her arm.
Elysa and her family live in Saratoga Springs, New York. Elysa's daughter was
born with an extensive facial hemangioma which included the lower lip and both
sides of her face. Her daughter received alpha-interferon treatments at an early
age and has had reconstructive surgery with both Dr. John Mulliken and Dr. Milton
Waner. Elysa is a Doctor of Chiropractic.
Honorary Medical Co-Chairs
Co-Chairs of the Research and Scientific Advisory Committees
Dr. Martin Mihm and Dr. Stuart Nelson
Martin Mihm, Jr., MD, Director
Dr. Mihm is one of the founding members of VBF. He also founded the
Albany Medical Center Vascular Anomalies Program and the Massachusetts
General Hospital Vascular Anomalies Program. He is the Director at both
clinics. Dr. Mihm is responsible for having the World Health Organization
Rare Tumor Institute classify a hemangioma as a “rare tumor.” He is
Professor, Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts
General Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts and is the leading Pathologist
in the country studying vascular anomalies. He is also Co-Director of
the WHO melanoma pathology and is the Director of the Vascular Tumors
Research Team and the Scientific Advisory Committee.
J. Stuart Nelson, M.D. Ph.D.
Dr. J. Stuart Nelson is Associate Director of the Beckman Laser Institute
and Medical Clinic, and Professor of Surgery, Dermatology and Biomedical
Engineering, University of California-Irvine.
The principal goal of Dr. Nelson’s research has been to address
the problems associated with light propagation and dosimetry in human
skin with the end goal of improved clinical efficacy. Dr. Nelson developed
a novel and efficient method of cooling (“Dynamic” or cryogen
spray cooling) human skin in conjunction with laser dermatologic surgery.
Clinical studies have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of this approach
during laser treatment of pediatric port wine stain birthmarks and other
hypervascular skin lesions, removal of unwanted human hair, wrinkle
reduction, scar improvement and management of acne.
Worldwide, this methodology developed by Dr. Nelson has now been incorporated
into several thousand laser devices. Dr. Nelson has published more than
270 scientific articles and 13 book chapters. Dr. Nelson served as President
of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) 2001-2002
and was the Program Chairman of the Joint International Laser Conference
(co-sponsored by the ASLMS, British Medical Laser Association and European
Laser Association) held in Edinburgh, Scotland in September 2003. He
was the Program Chairman for last year’s Annual ASLMS meeting.
He assumed the position of Editor-in-Chief of the ASLMS journal Lasers
in Surgery and Medicine in April 2005.