Never Stop Moving

,Luis Doel González was 14 years old when he came to Philly from Jajuya, Puerto Rico with his mother after his parents split. That’s a rough age for any kid to be uprooted to a new city, let alone coming from a beautiful Caribbean island to a big city. He didn’t speak any English, which made adjusting even tougher. González was put into the “English immersion” program at Edison High School. There were only two periods of English as a second language; the rest of his classes were all taught in Spanish—not an ideal arrangement for learning English quickly. “I graduated from Edison and still didn’t speak English. I weighed my options for college. I really wanted to go back to Puerto Rico, but it didn’t happen.”

Instead González enrolled in the BUSCA program at La Salle University, where all his courses were in Spanish as he simultaneously took intensive English classes. This enabled him transfer to all English classes after completing his associates degree. “It took an additional semester to complete my Bachelors degree (in Sociology) but that’s the way I did it. I earned my master’s there as well.”Interesting side note: for his bachelor’s degree thesis, González examined the program he went through at Edison—the one that had no English immersion component. He had hypothesized that students would not be satisfied with that program; and was surprised to learn that they actually were and had to reject his hypothesis. He concluded that having surveyed only students who were actively enrolled in the program was a flaw in his study, as they likely had not yet confronted with limited options of being mono-lingual in a setting where their native tongue is not the official language. Further, he conclude that a survey of the same students after graduation would show that the lack of English immersion had limited their options after high school and that they would have changed their minds.

Initially he wanted to be a high school teacher, but his first job landed him in social work; “so I changed my major, and it kind of stuck. I liked what we were doing there. And I stayed. I’ve been in workforce development—welfare to work—for 21 years now.”

González connected with Legacy of Hope through a friend of his who worked out with Core Fitness. “Friends of mine who actually were connected with CoreFitness always invited us, you guys gotta try it. They finally convinced us to go; and we went to a free class, and we kept going.” He got to know ,Gina Mancuso and learned about Legacy of Hope, which was relevant because he lost his grandfather to prostate cancer. He also lost one of his sisters to breast cancer two years ago. “She was really young, she battled it. I think cancer affects everybody. It has affected me personally when it comes to my family, but it’s a devastating disease for whomever goes through it. And I guess because of the field that I’m in, I’m always inclined to find ways to help.”

And help he does. González is a veteran of the PHL24, having completed the grueling 24 hour stair climb four out of five years, since its inception. Each time he graciously raised funds for Legacy’s Emergency Patient Support Network. He also has six Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathons to his credit, running as a sponsored Athlete for Legacy of Hope in several of them.

“The first half marathon I ever did was the Love Run, roughly eight years ago. The longest that I had run before then was six miles. My friend Lina saw me, and said ‘Oh come on, you can do it. If you can do six miles, you can do 13.1!’ I was like, oh my God. I was freaking out. But we did it. It was super cold that day too. But it was great and I’ve been loyal to Love Run since. Now that it’s connected with Legacy of Hope I feel like I have to.”

González espouses a straightforward approach to life that would behoove us all to follow—be nice to people. “I always tell people, you get more bees with honey. Just be nice! In my line of work, we get a lot of clients who are really upset and I just try to be nice with them all the time, because you never know what they’re going through. At the end of the day, whether they get their problem solved or not, they leave with a more positive experience, versus just leaving completely angry. It doesn’t work all the time, but you have to try.”

When asked what keeps him going, González shares “My husband, Liu, and I really enjoy going on hikes. We try to do that every weekend, and whenever we have the chance we try to find new trails to explore. One of our favorite spots is Hawk Mountain. About an hour and a half from Philly. I remember going to my doctor a few years ago because I needed a referral to have physical therapy for a running injury. The doctor told me, ‘Whatever you do in life, even if you have to go get physical therapy and treatments, never stop moving! Stay active, because once you stop, you go downhill.’ González has followed his doctor’s orders, and then some. His next “movement session” will consist of running the Philadelphia Love Run Half Marathon as a Legacy of Sponsored Athlete this Sunday, Mar 26, 2023. Please support Luis’s fundraising for Legacy of Hope as he completes yet another Love Run.

It’s too late to register for the Love Run, BUT if you’re already registered to run either the half marathon or the 7.6k, there’s time to have your registration fee waived. Here’s how it works. Complete this form and you will then receive a Legacy of Hope fundraising page. You have until April 30th to raise $250, at which point your registration fee will be refunded. Thank you, and happy racing.

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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.