The People Behind Unravel

Staff

Nicole Pratapas, Executive Director

Nicole Pratapas most recently joins us from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Nicole worked at the Hutch for six years, primarily focused on working with warrior families like the ones involved with Unravel, helping to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. She helped to raise nearly $20 million for the center, as well as lead the fundraising efforts for a record-breaking Hutch Holiday Gala focused on pediatric cancer, which raised $13.5 million. Nicole has been raising money for medical research for 16 years. We are excited to have her lead our efforts here at Unravel.

Why I am involved:
In 2003 I started fundraising for medicine. It was also the year I become a mother. Meeting families, who are searching for therapies and researchers desperately trying to find better treatments for these children, shed new light on the need to fund innovative pediatric cancer research. Unravel eliminates the bottlenecks that happen in cancer research. We identify the best pediatric cancer researchers and give funds freely to accelerate their work. How can you not be a part of Unravel! Great researchers need seed funds to prove their work and these are the funds!

Board of Directors

Libby Kranz

Libby Kranz

Libby serves on the board as one of Unravel’s Co-Founders. She is a teacher turned stay at home mom .. who has always enjoyed helping people by sharing her life experiences. Whether it was infertility and miscarriage.. adoption or a child with celiac disease she always found purpose this way. It came naturally to continue that as a mom to a child with cancer and surfacing and raising a family after the loss of that child.

Why I am involved:
Jennifer was my daughter… our first born. When you parent a living child you do whatever you can to protect them and as a parent to a child in heaven you do whatever you can to protect their memory. Unravel… specifically my blog allows me to do that. Raising both awareness about the facts of pediatric cancer and money to help the researchers I do for my surviving children. Jonathan, Nicholas, Charlotte and Bridgette.. Because I now know it could be them.. their best friend or the children I hope they are blessed one day to have. I hope one day that Unravel will not be needed because change will have happened.. but until then.. until there is a cure I will be here.
Carmen Murray

Carmen Murray

Carmen Murray serves on the Board of Directors for Unravel and is looking forward to making a difference in Pediatric Cancer research. Prior to joining the Unravel team, she was on the executive board for Arms Wide Open Childhood Cancer Foundation (AWOCCF) for 2 years and was involved in organizing the annual Running Over Childhood Cancer (ROCC run in Gilroy) as well as “ Kids can’t fight cancer alone” dinner Gala in San Jose to benefit AWOCCF. She has been married for 11 years to her husband Scott and currently lives in Gilroy. Carmen is a full time Juvenile Probation Officer during the day and proud “warrior” mommy to Ty and her 3 year old twin girls, Siena and Isabella.

Why I am involved:
On May 2, 2008, my life was forever changed. My 16 month old son Ty, was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma. We were told he had a 30% chance of surviving 5 years. Ty endured very aggressive toxic treatment ( high dose chemo, radiation, stem cell transplant, antibody treatment which was only offered at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and multiple surgeries). On April 7, 2010, he was finally declared “no evidence of disease” (NED), which means there are no detectable cancer cells in his body. Ty is now feeling the “late effects” from his treatment . He has a greater chance to develop a secondary cancer due to all the toxicity from the treatment he received to get him to become NED. We also live in fear of “relapse” as there is no cure for relapsed neuroblastoma. Being in this pediatric cancer world for the past 6 years, has opened my eyes to the horrors of pediatric cancer and it’s outdated treatment. I never knew the grim statistics for a child with cancer until I was thrown in this cancer world. Our cancer children deserve better…. they deserve a chance to live. I learned of “love4JLK” (Jennifer) in October 2013, from another mom at Ty’s school. I immediately began following Jennifer’s story and just fell in love with this little girl who I never had the opportunity of meeting. Jennifer was never even given a fair chance to fight her cancer, which is absolutely unacceptable to me. Jennifer should still be here. I will continue to fight for Ty, Jennifer, and all the children we have met along the way until a cure is found. I am so proud to be part of this amazing Unravel team, who are truly making a difference in this pediatric cancer world.
Tony Kranz

Tony Kranz

Tony is Treasurer and serves on the Board of Directors for Unravel. Tony is an Plant Manager for the largest uniform rental company in the industry. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife and kids either walking on the local levy or playing catch in the backyard.

Why I am involved:
Jennifer Lynn Kranz is my daughter and the loss of her has lit a fire within that I was not aware was possible, along with this fire, a hole is missing in my heart. She was daddy’s little girl and she had me wrapped around her finger since the moment she was born. My goal is to do whatever I can to support the scientists who want to and are making a difference in the pediatric cancer community. My hope is to help fund the research and inspire young ones to Unravel Pediatric Cancer.
Jody Pulford

Jody Pulford

Jody Pulford is on Unravel’s board of directors. She worked in technology public relations for 10 years and now has a small business. She lives in Gilroy with her husband and three children.

Why I am involved:
I believe that all childhood cancers will be curable in my lifetime. I believe that children deserve safer and more effective treatments. I believe there are scientists who can do these things – we just need to fund them. I believe that Unravel will continue to make a positive difference in the lives of children with cancer.
Coby Heinemann

Coby Heinemann

Coby Heinemann serves as Secretary on the Unravel Board of Directors. After working for her family’s construction business for 11 years, she currently works part-time in accounting for a local landscape construction company. She enjoys cooking, reading and being outdoors with her family and their Labrador, Bo. Coby lives in Gilroy with her husband, Marc, and their 6-year old daughter.

Ann Calcagno

Ann Calcagno

Ann serves on the Board of Directors for Unravel. Ann is a Registered Nurse, currently working with her hospital to implement a new electronic medical record. Her previous positions in healthcare have included working with postpartum woman and newborns, stroke patients, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and spinal cord injuries (SCI). Ann, along with her husband Greg, have 5 children. When she isn’t at work or sleeping, Ann can usually be found watching high school football.

Why I am involved:
I was blessed to have Jennifer Kranz as my niece. Losing her precious spirit has fundamentally changed not only the lives of her parents and siblings, it has altered the landscape of all of her aunts, uncles and cousins. Even as a member of the medical world, I had no idea how severely underfunded pediatric cancer is. My overall goal with Unravel Pediatric Cancer is that no other family is EVER told that there is nothing, not a thing, that can be done to save their child. We can do better, we need to do better and we will do better.
Derek Holman

Derek Holman

Derek is a co-founder and managing director of EP Wealth Advisors, a financial planning and investment management firm he started with his best friend. Derek lives in Manhattan Beach with his wife and 3 children.

Why I am involved:
It is hard to find a person that hasn’t been affected by cancer in some way. I have seen both family members and friends battle this disease. Even when patients “beat” cancer, the treatment options they must endure are long and difficult. The impacts this disease has are only amplified with our children and yet the research in this area is so underfunded. My wife, Christina, has also been a driving force and has raised the awareness in our household and motivated me, and our whole family, to do more in hopes of finding a cure.