We are a dedicated team of volunteers, who are steadfast in our goal of providing ‘everyday angels’ a way to bring hope to children and their families as they battle cancer.
For nearly a decade, Angels of Hope has been providing financial assistance to children and those who love and care for them as they battle cancer (theirs or a parents). With 100% of donations and proceeds from events directly financing these families we ensure every dollar does the most good, from donation to deed.
Each year we host two signature events, our “A Night of Hope” gala and “Angels of Hope Golf Outing”. Your support of these events helps bring our vision to reality. Like us on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on our events, programs, and the families we help.
Bill Wylonis, Chairman
Bill is a highly respected real estate executive in Metro Detroit. He brings over thirty years of experience managing commercial office projects. His experience encompasses global responsibilities for multiple portfolios, including purchasing, asset, project and construction management for millions of square feet of space and multi-million dollar budgets, consistently producing exceptional results. Bill has been the President of the Building Owners and Managers Association of Metro Detroit and has served on the Board of Directors for The Legends Golf and Country Club in Ft. Myers, Florida where he has a second home.
As Chairman of Angels of Hope, Bill has two goals. One is to grow the foundation financially so no child or family has to face this devastating disease of cancer alone, and vows to make sure every request for financial aid gets addressed. The second goal is to make Angels of Hope a widely recognized (household) name. Bill is quoted as saying, “I love this foundation and everything it stands for”.
Bill and his wife Lisa reside in Novi with their two children Jacob and Marisa. When time allows, Bill loves to relax with a round of golf at their home in Florida.
Robin Sanderson, Vice Chairman
In 1996 Robin lost her mother Ruth Orr to lung cancer which impelled her to begin her crusade to make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. In 1997 Robin held her first fundraiser in her home and raised $3000.00. Since then, she has held annual fundraisers as well as serving on the Board of Directors for the American Cancer Society where she received numerous awards for her fundraising efforts. In 2004 Angels of Hope was established and is the foundation that best fits Robin’s desire to assist families on a personal level, as well as allowing supporters to give back to the community. Robin is the Broker/Owner of Real Estate Network Elite and has been in real estate sales for the last 27 years.
Robin’s fiancé Jim Stafford has been hands on with the foundation and is a proud ally. Jim and his sons Christopher and Michael, along with their wives Justyna and Meagan, have been supporters of the Angels of Hope in many ways. Robin’s children Diana and Michael along with their spouses Carlos and Rebecca have also been constant advocates of the foundation in addition to their volunteer work. Robin and Jim have also been given the gift of being “Nana & Papa” to Bryce, Isabella, Kaylee, Carlos, Anissa, Daniel, Amelia and Mason.
Carol Rusch, Treasurer
Carol’s younger brother, John, lost his battle with cancer when he was 9 years old. Her widowed mother was already struggling to support her 3 young children when Johnny was diagnosed. A man who was vaguely acquainted with the family became aware of the dire situation and stepped in to help. He brought media attention to the family’s circumstances and held fundraisers to help pay household expenses and off-set the substantial financial burden of medical costs.
The generosity and support of this virtual stranger touched Carol and instilled a need to find a way to pay it forward. Carol and her children, Jonathon and Sydney, have volunteered with various charitable organizations for many years but when Carol discovered Angels of Hope, she knew she had found her calling.
Following 3 years of volunteering with the foundation, Carol is honored to have a more formal role on the Board of Directors as Treasurer. Carol owns a boutique Retained Executive Search Firm and she hopes to leverage her business network to help increase corporate visibility for Angels of Hope. She views her role with the foundation as a tribute to the memory of her brother, John, and a compassionate Angel who helped her family in their time of need.
Jennifer Zbytowski, Secretary
Jennifer has been with Angels of Hope since 2009. Jennifer has a strong passion for the cause. Her mother Arlene passed away of cancer in March 2012. Jennifer is employed with Health Alliance Plan (HAP), a regional, nonprofit health plan that provides coverage to individuals and companies. She is currently the Vice President of Utilization and Case Management. She earned her B.A. and M.P.A. from New York University. Jennifer holds a Project Management Professional certificate and is a graduate of Leadership Macomb XII.
Jennifer is actively involved with her community and resides in Shelby Township, with her husband Bryan, and their three kids Gavin, Kamryn, and Brodie. In her free time she enjoys traveling, spending time with her extended family and friends and having dance parties with her kids.
Christopher S. Pirrone, Director
Chris’s involvement with the charity began with the founding of Angels of Hope. He was inspired by the compassion and dedication of other board members, sponsors and volunteers making a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer. Chris’s area of expertise is in Graphic Communications, having owned and operated businesses in Cleveland, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Chris is currently employed as a Regional Business Manager at Classic Color of Chicago and represents Cenveo of California for his Web printing requirements.
In addition, Chris also owns and operates a local graphics consulting and photography firm in Macomb – C3 Development, and Core Fitness + Training Center. Chris is supported by his family in the fight for cancer awareness and shares his passion with his wife Christine and son Christian (C3).
Kelley Baetens, Director
Kelley 30 years experience in managerial and organizational skills from the legal field. The past 16 years Kelley has partnered with fellow board member Robin Sanderson. Initially, helping Robin to raise funds for cancer research at a nominal level. Then with the organization and formation of Angels of Hope where the mission and focus became assisting and supporting families within the community. Being able to literally make a difference in the lives of local families battling the physical, emotional and financial affects of cancer has fueled Kelley’s commitment and passion to her acts of service.
Kelley has developed and grown the Holiday Giving Program which has become one of the foundation’s most successful and most participated in programs. This past 2014 holiday season 97 families that suffered from financial hardship were showered with gifts from our generous supporters.
Kelley feels privileged that she has been able to inspire others with her mission to give back by helping to grow the support network of the foundation. “I truly cherish all of my friends and family that generously continue to support my endeavors that allow me to give back”. This includes the support of her husband Mike and two stepdaughters Caitlin and Carly.
Suzzanne Fournier, Director
Sue’s passion for helping those affected by cancer began in 1997 when she supported Robin Sanderson in her first fundraiser to support cancer research. Over the years, Sue’s involvement with the cause has continued to grow, and in 2012 she took a position as a volunteer board member with Angels of Hope. Sue works with our Angel Network of Volunteer’s regularly, and she also works on securing funding through corporate and private foundation grant requests. Sue believes that no family should have to walk this road alone, and hopes that through the combined efforts of the board and the sponsors – the foundation will continue to gain community support and recognition and will never have to say no to a family in need.
Sue is employed in the Printing and Graphic Communications field – she brings over 30 years of project and administrative management to the board. Sue works for Schawk USA in Sterling Heights, Michigan and is currently working on completing her BBA in Management through Rochester College.
Sue could not accomplish or give as much as she does without the loving support of her husband Rich, her son Dominic who is in the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, North Carolina and her daughters Maggie and Michele who also volunteer their time to the foundation.
Fran Lucido-Marheineke, Director
Fran has been volunteering for Angels of Hope events since 2005. She started as a supporter, but like so many others, she quickly grew to love the underlying reason for the work of the Angels. It is her nature to always look for ways to help others and over the past couple of years; she has increasingly contributed her creative mind, uncanny organization skills, and abundant following of friends and family to support the foundation.
Behind every successful Angels of Hope event there is a need for people who help organize chaos and complexity on a large scale, transforming it into an experience above and beyond expectations. Fran’s passion for organization, decorating and experience in event planning makes her a perfect fit to the foundation.
Fran is honored to work with such a wonderful group of people who help ease the financial burden of Michigan families affected by cancer. Fran feels blessed to have the support of her family and her three children Jake, Genevieve and Jordan. The Marheineke family has found their “home”, in terms of supporting a most worthy cause, with Angels of Hope.
Kelley LaFontaine, Director
Kelley LaFontaine is an integral part of the day to day operations at the LaFontaine Automotive Group. She helps to run 18 different franchises in 10 locations across Southeastern Michigan.
Her personal passions are an enduring quest to help find a cure for cancer and “to give back”. She is blessed to have her brother Ryan, a cancer survivor, in remission for over 4 years. In the past three years, together they have raised more than $525,000 and established 6 grants for blood cancer research at the University of Michigan. Kelley was honored in 2011 with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society National Woman of the Year Award.
Along with her strong passion to find a cure for cancer, Kelley demonstrates her strength through building & strengthening our local communities. She actively participates in many foundations, charities, on many boards and has won remarkable awards such as the DBusiness 30 in their 30’s honor in 2012. While running the Marketing Department of the LaFontaine Automotive Group for the past 5 years, Kelley has been activity involved with Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Cancer Society, Automotive Women’s Alliance Foundation, and Inforum Automotive Next. She has served as Chairperson of the Huron Valley Optimist Childhood Cancer Campaign and as a Board Member for the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce and Project 1. Kelley recently joined the Angels of Hope Board and looks forward to a lifelong partnership of “giving back” with the Angels of Hope team.
Ben Weaver, Director
Ben Weaver is the President and CEO of Weaver Media – Ben started in traditional outdoor advertising, but realized ahead of the crowd the need for innovative media solutions. This led him to explore non-traditional uses for banners and adhesive treatments, creating media placements that demanded attention. His work with numerous NASCAR facilities, collegiate sporting venus, amusement parks and Live Nation Amphitheaters led his creative agency to the top of his industry.
Ben got intimately involved with Angles of Hope in 2007 when close friends of his had a 4 year old son that was suffering from terminal cancer. Ben has always had a passion for working with disabled children. He had spent 5 years volunteering at a Muscular Dystrophy camp and he continues support the Special Olympics of Michigan. Ben was diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age and because of the adversities he faced growing up and the incredible success he’s had despite his obstacles, his passion in life has been to “pay it forward” with the blessing and grace that has been given him. Ben is tremendously enthusiastic about having the opportunity to sit on the Board of Directors and is looking forward to assisting Angels of Hope in making a difference in the lives that need it the most.