Board of Directors
Liz served as a market analyst on a government funded grant at the University at Buffalo after graduating with her MBA in 2008. There, she worked with companies such as Black and Decker, Tupperware, and Whirlpool to help make products more usable and accessible for people with disabilities and the elderly. From there she became the Director of Communications for a Roman Catholic parish and school that served over 5,000 families, working on both internal and external communications, branding, and redesign of their website. Both she and her husband have been on mission trips to Nicaragua and Kenya, which inspired them to adopt the Vincentian way of life – simplicity and service to the poor and most vulnerable. Liz is currently a stay at home mom and serves as the English language editor of famvin.org, which publishes daily news, reflections and current events of the Vincentian family around the world. Her son Owen was diagnosed with PURA Syndrome in 2019 at the age of 2. Owen loves spending time with his family, playing peek-a-boo, and listening to music. Liz feels like the PURA family is an extension of her own and is looking forward to continuing to serve them in whatever way she can. She lives in Buffalo, New York, USA with her husband Matt, daughter and three sons.
Jennifer is an experienced executive, with background in program management and business process reengineering in the manufacturing and healthcare industries. She is currently Vice President, Business Product at Express Scripts, a Cigna company, where she leads a team responsible for pharmacy benefit management and client support technologies. She is passionate about building a culture of inclusion of those with disabilities in our communities and in the workplace, and co-leads the disability inclusion employee resource group at Cigna to champion that effort throughout their US and global operations. Jennifer’s daughter, Ainsley, was diagnosed with PURA Syndrome in 2017 at 13 years old. Ainsley loves riding horses, listening to music and giving hugs to everyone she meets. Since Ainsley’s diagnosis, Jennifer has been so impressed by the active engagement and support of the PURA community, and hopes to further build that community as the parent liaison to the foundation. Jennifer lives in St. Louis, Missouri, USA with husband Jeff, daughter Ainsley and son Alex.
Damon holds a degree in Electronics Technology, having worked at his current employer for 27 years. In this role, he coordinates and manages complex projects in the electric utility industry. Damon is a strong believer in giving back to the community. He is active in his church, where he is an Elder and serves on the Church Session, which governs the operations of the church. In this role, Damon is currently in charge of the Buildings and Grounds operations and budget and helps create the overall church budget. He also supports the non-profits U.R. Our Hope (rare and undiagnosed conditions), as well as T and C Miracle League, where his son Owen plays baseball as a Texas Ranger. Owen was diagnosed with PURA syndrome in 2014, at the age of 12. Damon is passionate about bringing families with rare genetic conditions together, and hopes to meet all the PURA syndrome families in person one day. Damon lives in Texas (USA), with his wife Amy, son Owen and dogs, Ruby and Anna.
Eva Feder Kittay is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and formerly Senior Fellow, Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. She is the mother of a woman with PURA syndrome. She has authored and edited books, as well as written numerous articles, on feminist philosophy, care ethics and disability theory. She is a co-winner of the APA and Phi Beta Kappa Leibowitz Award and has an Guggenheim and NEH Fellowship. Her latest book is Learning From My Daughter: Valuing Disabled Minds and Matters of Care (Oxford University Press, 2018), which won the PROSE award from the Association of American Publishers for the best book in philosophy in 2019.
Caroline is a qualified English teacher who has been teaching in schools in Spain for over twenty years. When she began her career she became aware of the many diverse needs in education and encountered opportunities and challenges. As a result, she specialized in special education needs and began studying and exploring psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy. She has focused a great part of her career on helping children develop emotional awareness and self-knowledge which led her to developing her own programme, which allows teachers to be able to implement it directly in their classrooms.
She is devoted to bringing awareness about children with special needs and conveying their stories and points of view from a brighter perspective, so that they can be seen, not only for the struggles they live, but for the enormous amount of happiness and joy in their lives. She is also part of a foundation which focuses on bringing awareness and helping those with myalgic encephalomyelitis and fibromyalgia. She is married to Fernando and the mother of two wonderful children, Angie and Joshi. Joshi was diagnosed with Pura in October 2015. Caroline, Fernando, Angie and Joshi live in Barcelona, Spain. Caroline can’t believe the luck she has had in life to have the amazing family she does. Caroline will be assisting the Foundation with welcoming new families and connecting members of our PURA community. To contact Caroline, email email@example.com
Eva and her husband Dale (who is an archaeologist) live outside St. Louis, MO and are the parents of two sons, Mark and William. William was diagnosed with a 5q31.3 microdeletion in 2015 at the age of 3. While William doesn’t have an official PURA diagnosis, he shares many similarities and a few PURA researchers have expressed that his deletion may end up providing clues about additional genes that PURA needs to function. The Tucker family is grateful for the connection and friendship they’ve found in the PURA Syndrome community.
Since graduating with a graphic design degree from University of Missouri in 2007, Eva has built a home-based business that has allowed her the flexibility to build a career in digital technology while also managing caregiving responsibilities over the years and supporting organizations important to her. She is currently serving in a Director of Marketing role for iSelect Fund, a venture capital firm investing in food, agriculture, and health technologies to reduce healthcare costs and create a more nutritious and sustainable food system. For over a decade, she has volunteered as an advocate with the Alzheimer’s Association, advocating for legislation that supports people with dementia and their caregivers, as well as funding increases for research through NIH. She is an advisory board member for the POW/MIA Museum in Jefferson Barracks, and long-time Lean In Network Leader — a global peer mentoring group that helps women develop leadership skills and promotes equality.
Melissa is a mother of two, her oldest is Taylor who is 27 years old and was diagnosed with PURA Syndrome in 2016. Taylor’s younger brother TJ is 24 and a graduate from the University of Washington currently working as a financial consultant. He is the leader of Young Life Capernaum, which is a social group for young adults with special needs. Melissa is a full-time caregiver for her daughter and blessed to have such a special child.
Prior to joining the board, Melissa has been an active member of our Conference Planning Committee, our Grants Committee and serves as our US Ambassador. Melissa is hoping to help families find support and resources to help on their PURA journey.
With a childcare degree, Mel’s background is early years education and she has worked with children for over 20 years, including running her own day nursery. With experience in Special Education Needs, she specialised in speech therapy and behavioural difficulties. Mel gained an abundance of experience and knowledge of professional expertise, before deciding to spend her time raising her family.
Mel has 2 children, the eldest Emily, who was diagnosed with PURA when she was 11 years old. She is aware of the struggles of finding a diagnosis for a child with disabilities after years of tests and specialists involved with helping her. Although recently widowed, days can be hard and challenging raising her girls alone, but considers each day a blessing seeing her girls happy and close. With a younger sister, Charlotte, Emily loves to have her little sister as a young carer, helping with everyday tasks.
Mel is proud to be part of the Pura Syndrome Foundation and aims to bring PURA awareness to the forefront and hopes to support the Pura Community in any way she can.
Board Positions Vacant
The success of the PURA Syndrome Foundation comes with a need to grow our Board of Directors. Please consider helping us, so that we may continue to help families.
We are currently seeking to fulfill the following Board roles:
– Vice President of the Board of Directors
If you are interested in any of these roles, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org