Gina Mancuso: The Core of PHL24

In some circles, Gina Mancuso is almost as synonymous with the Art Museum steps as Rocky Balboa.

“The stairs are the heart of CoreFitness,” Gina says with a laugh. And Gina is one of the human hearts of CoreFitness, a local fitness company that has hosted boot camps at the Art Museum steps for the last 15 years.

That’s part of the reason why Gina came up with the crazy idea now known as PHL24.

“My best friend, Carrie, was diagnosed with colon cancer about 10 years ago,” Gina says. “She was told she had 6 months. She had the chance to undergo an experimental surgery, which actually isn’t experimental anymore, and it gave her so many more years.”

Gina frequently made the trip back and forth to Ithaca to be with Carrie and during many of those conversations, Gina wished out loud that there was something she could do. Carrie, with what seemed to be her usual resolve, replied “There is, but you just don’t know it yet.”

Carrie was right. “I think she guided me through the whole thing.”

The first thing Gina could do was join the Legacy of Hope Board. She met founder and CEO Mike Rowe through 11th Hour Racing and classes at CoreFitness.

“Mike was so fiery and passionate about Legacy of Hope,” Gina says. “I knew it was something I had to get involved with.”

The admiration is mutual. “Gina’s enthusiasm for life is contagious. She is a talented leader whose selfless dedication has touched so many lives,” Mike says.

Carrie lost her battle with cancer in October 2017 and Gina was there with her to see her take her last breath. On the trip back to Philly, Gina came up with a crazy idea, which was probably the second step in Carrie’s plan.

That idea was PHL24.

“I called Mike and told him my idea and we went back and forth…I think we both thought we were crazy since the timeline was so tight, but we went with it!” Gina says.

Gina, Mike, and a small pool of volunteers put PHL24 together in just a few months. Through the event, Legacy of Hope raised $30,000 for local families and researchers.

“We had a blast. It was a constant party, even at 3AM,” Gina says with a laugh. “We had three guys come and they were climbing late night and they were just the life of the party.”

What makes the event truly special for Gina is the human connection.

“People show up and they just make friends. As the event goes on, you just see people coming together,” Gina says. “And you see people who can’t climb that just come out to support each other.”

Gina is also inspired by the people who put aside their own struggles to come out and participate in any way they can. “We had a woman come last year in a wheelchair. Someone pushed her to the front of the steps and ended up climbing up on her hands with someone holding her legs up. It puts it all in perspective.”

Gina’s effect on Legacy of Hope is not limited to PHL24.

External Operations Manager Dave Dovell is one of many people who is impressed by Gina’s work with the organization: “You meet Gina and she’s incredibly warm, kind and welcoming…but you have no idea how powerful and driven she is until you see what she can accomplish.”

She also has a reputation with the families that the organization assists.

“I was in the hospital everyday visiting my husband, and this wonderful woman I never met before came and sat with me and brought me coffee,” says Pat Phelan, a longtime friend of Legacy of Hope. “Gina kept calling to support us. She put a smile back on my face and hope in my heart.”

All of Gina’s hard work will once again be front and center this weekend at PHL24 2019. “We have more people and more time. We also have a bigger goal, but the way people come together for it and come out to support everyone is really what keeps me and an organization like Legacy of Hope going. It’s all about the people.”

Join Gina, Mike and the Philadelphia community at PHL24 by signing up to climb. One step or 100 makes a difference.

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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.