Captain Javier Rodriguez Interview

Legacy of Hope’s mission to cure all forms of cancer reaches all corners of the world, yet our roots are planted right here in Philadelphia. It is fitting that the Philly community is coming together like a family to Run for Free in the Philadelphia Love Half Marathon on March 31st.

Everyone has his or her own reason for running and, for Philadelphia police captain Javier Rodriguez, the reason is two-fold. Captain Rodriguez, commander of the 25th District in the Fairhill section of the city, is running for this friends, family and colleagues affected by cancer as well as in support of the cancer patients living in his community.

The 25th District suffers from mean household incomes well below the average for the city and a population largely living under the poverty line. “The way crime affects the quality of life here…it’s not like other parts of the city,” Capt. Rodriguez reflects regarding the neighborhood he was born and raised in.

The opioid crisis has had a heavy impact on the area and many residents, some of them cancer patients, face added challenges to receive proper medical care. “A lot of them worry about how they’re going to get to their appointment. How they are putting food on the table.”

Despite the challenges these patients face, Captain Rodriguez points out that there are community resources that can help. “We have some very strong community groups.” He asserts that if residents don’t know where to turn, the police department is there to help. “We’re going to direct people–we know who to call. We’re empowering the people in this community.”

Rodriguez will be running on March 31st as a police captain, a Philadelphia resident, and a community leader. Not a stranger to community service, he has become known for this neighborhood events such as a Haunted Hayride and Trunk or Treat last Halloween in Hunting Park and visits from Santa to bring the residents and police closer together. The captain told me most of his officers participate in community and charity events throughout the year as a way to give back.

“I haven’t seriously trained since I was in the Marine Corp,” Capt. Rodriguez admitted to me. He’s not letting this stop him, though. “It’s the least I can do. People have either beat cancer and have gone through a lot or are suffering through it now. If I’m hurting because I ran, it’s nothing compared to what they’re going through.”

Captain Rodriguez’s participation and support of Legacy of Hope and Philly Runs Free is characteristic of his willingness to put others before himself and his dedication to help those in his community who need it the most. He, alongside his fellow police officers, are sending out email blasts and social media posts to recruit as many cops as they can to come out and run on March 31st.

The captain has a strong but simple message to those cancer fighters and survivors “Keep fighting the fight. Life is worth fighting for.”

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Michele Redrow

Michele is a Director on the Legacy of Hope board and also serves on the Executive Committee.

Gina Mancuso

Gina’s experience as the very successful co-owner of CoreFitness, LLC coupled with her expertise in planning special events makes her the perfect Vice President for Legacy of Hope. With energy, passion, and drive that makes her seem superhuman, Gina’s connection to our mission is a personal one.

“Both my father and my dear childhood friend were diagnosed with cancer within 3 months of one another. They were surrounded and supported by friends and family throughout their battle and until their passing. No one should suffer through a diagnosis alone and, without Legacy of Hope, some people would do just that.”

greg garber

Greg Garber is the director of Oncology Support Services at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center.

dr. kevin kelly

Dr. Kevin Kelly leads Legacy of Hope’s Scientific Review Board to seek out and support the most promising cancer research in Philadelphia using a merit-based system.  He is Jefferson’s Director of Solid Tumor Oncology.

David April

David is the founder of the Fishtown Beer Runners, an organization with chapters all over the world based here in Philadelphia.

joseph ruggieri, jr

Education: Bachelor’s of Science from West Chester University in Management and Finance

Bio: As a member of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.’s upper management team, Joseph brings a wealth of knowledge regarding finances, management, team-building and planning to the Legacy of Hope board. Joseph linked up with Michael, our President, and Wells Fargo began supporting Legacy of Hope annually.

“My father passed away from what started as Colon Cancer in 2015. Cancer is horrible and if there is something I can do to help others impacted I would want to be a part of it.”

mary chicorelli

Professional:  Mary is a certified city planner for Philadelphia, a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association as well as the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Pro Bono Honor Roll First Judicial District of Philadelphia.

Bio: Mary’s insight into the legal world is invaluable to Legacy of Hope, both in keeping our daily operations moving fluidly as well as making connections for our patients and their families when needed.

“Michael reached out to me about 2 years ago through mutual friends. We worked together to help a woman with stage 4 cancer get her electricity turned back on after it was shut off during the winter. I’ve been 100% supportive of Mike’s vision since then.”

Kimberly S. Reed

An award winning international speaker, author, corporate trainer and diversity, equality and inclusion executive, nationally recognized thought leader, expert, strategist and advisor to some of the world’s most influential organizations in global professional services, health care, financial services, consumer products and pharmaceutical industries.

Kimberly is a seasoned leader in transforming organizations into high-performing enterprises and challenging leaders to live without limits, with more than 20 years of HR, talent acquisition, and diversity & inclusion experience; successfully turning around troubled diversity practices by designing, building, leading, and shaping high-performing cultures at global organizations with robust strategies, global employee development programs and enterprise-wide initiatives that have increased revenue growth and organizational brand eminence.

Dr. Claudia Capparelli, PhD

Affiliations: Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

Education: PhD, University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy – 2011

Focus & Impact:  Focus on the role of the SOX10 transcription factor with regard to tumor cell heterogeneity and plasticity across multiple genotypes in melanoma. Investigating how SOX10 plasticity/heterogeneity affects the response to MEKi and anti-ErbB3 combinations in WT BRAF melanoma patients. 

Publications: Publications Link

Honors & Awards:

  • Legacy of Hope Merit Award

  • Outrun the Sun Melanoma Research Scholar Award

  • Unical Fellowship Visiting Scholar

  • International Pigment Cell Conference Travel Award

  • Best Poster Presentation, Ninth Annual Jefferson Post-doctoral Research

  • INPDAP Fellowship for Student Merit 

  • University of Calabria Fellowships for Student Merit 

Bryan Lathrop

Bio Coming Soon

Maree Lavo

Bio Coming Soon

Carol Sollenberger

Bio Coming Soon

Rebecca Blinn

Bio Coming Soon

Nia Andrews

Bio Coming Soon

Dr. Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Affiliations: The Wistar Institute, The Chen Laboratory, University of Maryland

Education: PhD,Immunology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, State University of New York at Buffalo (Dean’s Award for outstanding dissertation) – 2006

Focus & Impact:  Focus is on the molecular mechanisms of brain metastasis originating from primary tumors like breast cancer, and the interplay between cancer cells and the stromal cells that populate the brain microenvironment. 

Publications: Publications Link

Honors & Awards​:

  • Legacy of Hope Merit Award

  • Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health and Policy Award

  • Susan G. Komen, CCR Basic/Translational and Clinical application

  • The V Foundation for Cancer Research Award

  • Dissertation Research Award, Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation 

Michael Rowe

Awards:

Volatile Media Management’s Mover, Shaker, Changemaker Award – February 2017

Miles Mack Community Services & Leadership Honorable Mention – 2016 TJUH Emergency Department Technician of the Year, Physicians Choice Award – 2015

TJUH Emergency Department Technician of the Year, Physicians Choice Award – 2014

Bio:

With his free time so limited, Michael manages to fuse his work with his other passion: running. Whether it is with the Fishtown Beer Runners, our own Team Relentless Hope, or his closest friends, Michael can often be spotted on the streets of Philadelphia keeping himself fit and active.