IFOPA Board of Directors and Officers
We appreciate your partnership in finding a cure for FOP. If you have questions, comments or suggestions for the IFOPA Board, please email [email protected].
Founder and President Emeritus
Retired Board Member
I am an adult with FOP. I graduated from the University of Central Florida in 1985 with a B.A. in Social Work. My incredible journey began when I met Dr. Michael Zasloff at the National Institutes of Health and learned that he had other patients with FOP. Contacting some of those patients gave me the incentive to start the International FOP Association, Inc. in 1988, first as a pen pal group and a means to raise funding for FOP research. I wanted to end the isolation of living with FOP. I met another person with FOP for the first time at age 31 -- what an extraordinary difference that made to my life! The first FOP Connection newsletter was published in January 1989 to connect the 11 founding IFOPA members and today the same publication serves members worldwide. I am now retired from my full-time involvement in the day-to-day activities of the organization and as a board member.
Kristi’s son AJ was diagnosed with FOP at two and a half years old. Soon after, they created an organization called AJ’s Avengers to fundraise and raise awareness of FOP. In addition to her IFOPA involvement, Kristie serves on the New Jersey Rare Disease Alliance, the Rare Disease Day organizing committee, participates in Running for Rare, and was a member of the FOP Mother’s Retreat Planning Team.
Kristi lives in Bellmawr, New Jersey with her husband, Rico. Along with AJ age 7, they have two daughters, Alexis, 19, and Lillie, 14.
After eighteen years in law, she took a Senior Executive Administrative position at an Insurance Brokerage Firm. In this role, Kristi facilitates insurance requirements for clinical research trials. She also serves as Co-Director of Special Spaces, an organization that creates dream bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses.
Kristi brings a wide breadth of experience and knowledge from working with rare disease organizations, as well as organizational skills and attention to detail to her board position with the IFOPA.
“I believe hope wins,” Kristi says. “Hope for a cure, hope for a medicine and hope for the future. I hope one day I can tell my son it’s okay to run!”
Megan’s son, Hayden Pheif, was diagnosed with FOP in 2002 at two and a half years old. Megan and Hayden’s father, John, held the inaugural Hayden’s Hope Fundraiser in 2003, and have been fundraising for the IFOPA ever since. Megan served as Vice President on the IFOPA’s Board of Directors in 2005.
She works in the commercial interiors industry in San Francisco, and specializes in business development and marketing for commercial furniture, textile and data infrastructure companies.
Megan is excited to join the board again and work with the other amazing board members to continue to grow the IFOPA’s efforts.
Megan says, “I dream that some day no child will ever have to suffer from FOP and that parents will never have to receive the horrifying news that their child is growing a second skeleton…that a child diagnosed with FOP will have a real childhood and that parents can take a deep breath and let them run free.”
Paul’s granddaughter, Sona, was diagnosed with FOP at the age of five in 2013. He became an interim member of the IFOPA Board in 2014, served as Vice Chair in 2015, and served as Chair in 2016 and 2017.
Paul spent his professional career in higher education, initially as a professor, and later as a researcher and consultant focused on higher education finance. He finished his career as a budget and planning officer at a research university.
He brings to the board many years of experience working with budgets cast within a strategic, goal-oriented framework, while balancing a broad range of stakeholder interests and perspectives.
"My hope for the FOP community is that everyone will contribute in whatever way they can to help find a cure and increase awareness, whether through volunteer service, monetary donations, fundraising, or participation in studies and trials,” he says.
Gary’s connection to the IFOPA is through his daughter, Natalie, who was diagnosed with FOP at the age of 10 in 2001. He joined the board of directors in 2012, because he wanted to help find a cure for FOP in any way he could.
Gary has 30 years of experience in finance, 27 of which were spent in the Treasury department of Dow Chemical, where he currently serves as Treasurer. In his previous role, Gary directly oversaw the investment of Dow’s $30 billion in pension and insurance assets.
Gary serves on two other nonprofit boards, as well as several finance and investment committees. “My experience in investing and my knowledge of financial markets enables me to add value to the IFOPA board,” he said.
He believes sponsored research and events such as the Drug Development Forum will help lead to a treatment or cure for FOP as fast as possible. His hope for the FOP community is “to enhance the quality of life for people living with FOP, and give them hope that a cure is on its way.”
Executive Committee Member-at-Large
In 2009 my son recently had neurosurgery for “mysterious lumps on his head.” It wasn’t cancer but they didn’t know what is was, and we had just celebrated his 1st birthday when a call came from the neurosurgeon. The tale of Oliver with his turned-in-toes had made its way to a panel of experts and one had connected the dots. FOP had entered our world and life changed. I soon joined the IFOPA and my role grew to working in multiple committees, building the FOP Flare-up survey with the University of Pennsylvania, and more recently chairing the International President's Council, a role that helps bring together FOP leaders from around the world. In 2012, I founded the UK charity FOP Friends and became chair of the UK’s FOP patient group. My day-job as Chief Technology Office/Products Director of a software company has provided me with skills, experience, and contacts that I use regularly in my FOP community work. I look forward to the day I put-my-feet-up in the evening, remind Oliver to take is medicine and relax while he plays with his two younger brothers, Leo and Harry. That day is not today, so until then, I will do all I can to support the search to find a cure for FOP.
Emma was diagnosed with FOP at the age of 9 in 1998. FOP progressed quickly and she had to use a wheelchair to get around a year after her diagnosis. For the few years after her diagnosis, Emma and her family did a lot of fundraising in the community including dinners, yard sales, and a concert.
Emma went to college and got her degree in Medical Biology. She now works at Acadia National Park in Maine and lives with her family. She enjoys making greeting cards using stamps and watercolors.
Emma believes it is a very exciting time in the FOP community with all of the advances in research. She has attended many IFOPA gatherings and realizes the importance of the family gatherings to bring together the community and to communicate the important information about the current and future research.
Chrissy is known as “Aunt Chrissy” to Joshua Scoble who was diagnosed with FOP at three months old. A people person and organizer, Chrissy found it was a natural fit to assist in coordinating support efforts after Joshua’s diagnosis when many people were eager to help but didn’t know what to do.
Chrissy is director of concessions for a county agricultural society and fairgrounds which has one of the largest fairs in the state of Pennsylvania. She also has 10 years of experience working in customer data services.
She is currently the President of Joshua’s Future of Promises, a nonprofit organization she set up in 2008 to help with fundraising for FOP research. Joshua’s FOP now has more than 100 volunteers and has raised over $1 million.
Chrissy wants to help raise awareness and funds while ensuring proper plans are put into place to keep the IFOPA moving toward the end goal of finding a cure for FOP.
“I want everyone to know every penny helps and every donation gets us all closer to that goal. I know we’re making a difference and someday will find a cure!”
Danielle first learned of FOP when her best friend Amy Gordon’s son Zip was diagnosed five years ago. She has assisted the Gordon family with their annual ZipperQ barbecue ever since.
Her passion to help find and fund a cure for FOP inspired her to join the IFOPA Communications and Public Relations Committee in 2016.
As an Information Technology manager with the Aerospace and Defense field, Danielle assists in leading global programs for internal IT infrastructure.
Her current role, as well as previous work as a nonprofit case manager for individuals living with disabilities, has positioned her to provide valuable insight for the IFOPA in communications and international education.
“I would truly enjoy seeing the IFOPA Board continue to increase educational capabilities for both the FOP community as well as the amazing professionals who support individuals with FOP,” she said. “My main hope for the FOP community is to find a cure.”
Amy’s son Zip was diagnosed with FOP at the age of 4 in 2011. She began her board experience in 2015. Amy is married to Jacob, and they also have a 13-year-old daughter, Arlie.
Working as the Operations Manager in her family’s auto dealership, Amy has experience in day-to-day business and personnel management. In 2013 she launched a local community website with her brother to promote business, people, and events in their community.
In 2012, the Gordon family held the first ZipperQ. They have since hosted five successful BBQ events to benefit the IFOPA. The Oklahoma community where they live has donated over $750,000 since the event’s inception.
Amy looks forward to working with the board and the community to implement the strategic plan and bring new services to the FOP community.
Kerry initially learned of FOP through one of his wife's good friends, Rory Otto, whose daughter, Sienna, was diagnosed in 2012. Kerry and Claudia have been donors to the IFOPA since learning about the disease through Sienna’s diagnosis.
He began his 20+ year career on Wall Street at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (which was acquired by Credit Suisse) as an equity analyst covering mid-cap regional banks, thrifts, the GSEs and other financial services companies. After leaving Credit Suisse, he worked at several of the largest multi-strategy hedge funds (including Balyasny Asset Management, Parameter Capital Management and Citadel) with a primary focus on long/short equity within the financial services space. His responsibilities included performing detailed industry analysis as well as fundamental research on 50+ publicly traded companies to generate investment ideas for an investment portfolio that exceeded $1 billion.
He intends to bring his investment experience to the IFOPA to enhance and sustain the financial flexibility to fund FOP research and family support services.
“I’m looking forward to serving on the IFOPA board because of the critical resources the organization provides for the FOP community,” Kerry said. “The compassionate support, awareness, education and funding, coupled with dedicated research to ultimately find a cure for FOP is inspiring.”
Kerry lives with his wife, Claudia, and two daughters in Irvington, NY. He has a BBA from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Joe’s daughter, Ashley, was diagnosed with FOP at the age of 12. From the beginning, Joe devoted his efforts to fundraising and raising awareness of FOP. Multiple events have been held in honor of Ashley by Joe and his family, as well as the community in which they live, bringing in nearly one million dollars to support FOP research at the University of Pennsylvania, as well as the FOP Connection Patient Registry.
Joe practices law in New York and focuses in areas of technology and government. As a board member, Joe’s experience allows him to look at issues objectively and provide opinions taking into consideration legal, ethical and policy concerns.
Joe wants to first and foremost provide academic researchers and pharmaceutical companies the necessary support to have the resources needed to find treatments and a cure for FOP. Joe believes there are no incurable diseases, only diseases which we have not yet found a cure, and FOP is no exception. Continued research provides the hope for Ashley and all those living with FOP so that one day they will not have to fear what tomorrow will bring.
Rory’s daughter, Sienna, was diagnosed with FOP at the age of two in 2012. She joined the IFOPA Board in the fall of 2014.
With over 15 years of experience in brand management, strategy and innovation under her belt, Rory currently works for an independent manufacturer of over-the-counter health care products. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts from Princeton University in Psychology, and a MBA from Columbia Business School.
“Delivery of our vision is within reach, thanks to the hard work of previous board members, patients and researchers,” she says. “I am energized to help push the IFOPA to achieve our mission of finding a cure for FOP, and ensuring it is accessible worldwide.”
Nancy is one of the founding members of the IFOPA. In the early years she served as Vice President, Treasurer, and developer of the original FOP Connection newsletter.
Nancy was diagnosed with FOP at age five, and didn’t know anyone else with FOP until she became friends with Jeannie Peeper in her 20s. Their conversations led them to realize the need for a group “so others with FOP didn’t have to be isolated, and to allow us to share ideas, hopes and dreams.”
She earned a certification in computer programming, and has worked in contract programming and accounting. Nancy does her own bookkeeping for her care staff, and manages all aspects of hiring, training and managing her care staff.
Nancy currently serves as chair on the Mentor Program Committee where she continues a role she has informally carried out in the past. As chair, she continues to provide support and share her extensive knowledge of how to cope and adjust to everyday FOP-related challenges.
“The board works diligently to keep focus on our goal of finding a treatment or cure for FOP,” she says. “My hope for our community is that we can continue to learn, encourage and inspire one another to the best of our abilities.”
Hollie is the Vice President of Scientific Operations at Accelerated Cure Project, a patient advocacy organization for multiple sclerosis. In her 19 years there, she has helped establish and run ACP's MS Repository of blood samples and data, as well as iConquerMS, a patient-powered research network for MS that performs and supports patient-centered research in MS. She also leads the organization's efforts on diversity and inclusion in MS research.
“Sharing insights across organizations and therapeutic areas can be incredibly beneficial all around,” Hollie shared. “I pledge to do all I can to leverage what I’ve learned in my MS work to benefit the FOP community."
Hollie lives in the Boston area and serves on the institutional review board of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She is also active in leadership efforts at her alma mater and her church.
Hollie is excited by the progress made in medical research over the past two decades and the potential for future breakthroughs in FOP. She looks forward to contributing her expertise in research-focused advocacy to help the IFOPA achieve its mission of curing FOP.
Rebecca’s son, Eli, was diagnosed with FOP in 2016 at the age of seven. The IFOPA was an invaluable resource right from the start, so Rebecca and her family wanted to give back. Through their organization, One Rare Boy, they have raised awareness and funds with events such as art auctions, birthday brews, bike rides, and yoga gatherings. Eli’s dad, Kyle, joined the IFOPA Research Committee and Rebecca is a FOP Connect mentor and member of the IFOPA Advocacy and Awareness Committee.
During her 18-year career as a science writer and communications specialist for the US Forest Service, Rebecca has developed the keen ability to present highly technical information in a way that a broad and diverse audience can understand. She brings these skills to the board with the goal of continuing to foster and grow knowledge and relationships within the FOP community.
“The IFOPA can be seen a central point around which our FOP family can gather,” says Rebecca. “I hope to help share the wealth of information available to ensure everyone touched by FOP feels supported and connected on this journey.”
January 2018 - December 2019
January 2016 - December 2017
January 2014 - December 2015
January 2012 - December 2013
January 2011 - December 2011
January 2009 - December 2010
January 2007 - December 2008
June 2005 - December 2006
*Prior to June 2005, the IFOPA was run by Jeannie Peeper, President & Founder