Christine Lyss, R.N.
When Christine’s mother died of breast cancer, she vowed to dedicate her life to working toward a cure. By anyone’s count, she’s kept that promise. She has been an oncology nurse. A volunteer. An advocate. And she’s been an integral part of Gateway to Hope since its founding, growing the program, recruiting medical professionals, and helping to establish partnerships with hospitals and ambulatory care facilities. “My job doesn’t end when I leave here. It will never end until breast cancer ends.” Christine’s experience as an oncology nurse makes her the perfect person to help navigate patients through their treatment and recovery. She goes beyond the job description, communicating with patients as people, not case files. “I believe you should get involved in their background and stories. You really come to understand what their hardships are – their emotional and physical needs. Then you can create a plan, together, that addresses those needs.” Seeing women go from despair to hope inspires Christine every day – the resilience, their willingness to give back. It’s the most rewarding part of her work. Even when Christine leaves the office, she is never off the clock. She has been a longstanding member and leader in the St. Louis Breast Cancer Coalition. Christine sets an example for women everywhere, staying healthy and sharing the Gateway to Hope message.
Jane Roodman Weiss, R.N., B.S.N.
After watching five family members go through the heartache of breast cancer, Jane knew she wanted to use her experiences to make a difference for others. She has spent more than thirty years dedicating her career to oncology nursing and clinical oncology research. Her career has always gravitated toward breast cancer outreach and education, so much so, that she has helped build and grow a breast cancer awareness program for young women and support groups for those battling the disease. Dr. David Caplin knew Jane throughout her nursing career, and asked Jane if she’d be interested in helping get a program off the ground – a program that donated care to woman unable to afford breast cancer treatment. Jane saw the program as a meaningful opportunity, and a three-month volunteer position turned into a passionate career at Gateway to Hope. “Seeing patients go back to normal – living, working, supporting their families. Then they turn around and ask, ‘What can I do for Gateway to Hope?’ You just feel so touched. These are people who have been through extremely difficult times, and seeing them get back on their feet is very rewarding.” Since day one, Jane’s worked tirelessly to recruit partners, inform the community and most importantly, to change the lives of people in need. She has shared the founders’ vision and helped bring it to life.
Keri Koehler, LMSW
When Keri graduated from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work she knew her passion would be to pursue a career in medical social work. Embarking on this path was the optimal way for her to ensure that individuals have access to high quality health care. Keri firmly believes that an individual with a chronic illness is so much more than a diagnosis. “I believe each individual deserves all the support needed to successfully navigate the complicated health care system.” Keri is well prepared to take on the challenges of the newly launched Insurance Premium Program at Gateway to Hope. She vigorously works to assist individuals diagnosed with breast cancer or at high risk for developing the disease, with the cost of their health insurance premiums and with their basic household expenses to ease financial hardship. It is evident from Keri’s experience interning at BJC Hospice Center, the Saint Louis University Cancer Center and serving as the Program Coordinator for the Young Women’s Breast Cancer Program that she has a strong passion and deep commitment for working with oncology patients. She brings a high level of knowledge to each and every individual she helps. “My goal as a Program Social Worker at Gateway to Hope is to combine my interests and passions to help an even greater number of individuals that need medical, emotional and financial assistance. I am very grateful for the opportunity to guide so many deserving individuals with breast cancer through their treatment journey.”
A seasoned executive with corporate, government and nonprofit experience, Katie Manga joined Gateway to Hope in 2018. Most recently she served as senior vice president of Advancement and External Affairs at the Wyman Center, Inc., where she was responsible for the design, implementation and overall leadership of strategic initiatives to secure operating and growth capital to serve youth in need. Prior to that, she worked for several years at The Boeing Company, where she held local and national leadership roles with teams engaging in strategic community investment, grassroots outreach and government affairs. She has also held policy and outreach roles in her native of state of Florida, serving as a staff member at the state legislative level and for a U.S. Senator. Always committed to the health and well-being of girls and women, she has served on several nonprofit boards, including her current service on the Girls on the Run St. Louis Advisory Council following six years of board service there.
Manga received her Master of Science in Political Science from Florida State University, and Bachelor of Arts, Political Science from University of Central Florida. She is currently pursuing the Executive Leadership Certificate At Harvard University’s Kennedy School Executive Education Program. She is a member of the American Council of Young Political Leaders.
Tracy became involved with Gateway to Hope in 2009 as a member of the Young Friends Committee, and has served as the Executive Assistant and Development Coordinator for the organization since 2012. She is actively involved in the St. Louis community as a member of the Angels’ Arms Guardian Angel Board and as a class chair for the Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) annual fund campaign.
As a multi-talented professional, Monique Parasram brings years of unique experience to the Gateway to Hope team. As an attorney, she has worked as in-house counsel for both start-ups and established small businesses. Her expertise in organizational operations, insurance policies, and vendor management are just a few of the qualities that made her a great fit for the organization. Monique is an innovative thinker and leader who offers a fresh perspective that will position Gateway to Hope for future growth and help serve more patients. Monique received her Bachelor of Science from the University of Florida, and J.D. from St. Thomas University School of Law.