Our Board of Directors
Olivia "Liv" Lipnicky
Olivia lived her life with kindness, always worrying about others. When she was diagnosed with cancer her first concern was helping other kids affected by the same disease. During her last summer she organized the first “Liv like a Unicorn” clothing drive, which raised over $10,000 for cancer research. She passed away in November 2019 after a 9 month battle. Her family has continued the “Liv like a Unicorn” foundation to help carry on her wishes to support families and fund a cure for pediatric cancer.
President & CEO
Emma is Olivia’s mom, as well as mom to Liv’s little brother Jack. She and her husband Brian have been married for over 10 years. Before becoming a mother Emma was a special education teacher for children with Autism. When her family was thrown into the world of pediatric cancer Emma saw the desperate need for funding to find a cure for brain and spinal cord tumors. Her family is committed to this foundation as a way to carry on Liv's mission while they #LivlikeaUnicorn and #Bethegood! If you'd like to contact Emma directly, you can do so by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mike is the proud father of two children, Brendan and Elizabeth, and husband to Meghan. Mike grew up in Kinnelon, NJ, where he and Emma became best friends in 1st Grade, when they were just 6 years old, and they have remained friends through the years. Professionally, Mike is a Digital Marketing Director for an Educational Tech Provider and owns several businesses. Mike focuses on the foundation's online marketing strategy and website. If you'd like to contact Mike directly, you can email him at email@example.com.
Brian is Olivia's dad, as well as dad to Liv's little brother Jack. He and Emma have been married for over 10 years. Brian holds a BS in Biotechnology with a minor in Biochemistry from Rutgers University as well as an MBA with dual concentrations in Finance and Marketing from Rutgers Business School. Brian has spent his career working in sales for the Bio-Pharmaceutical industry. He is currently an Area Business Manager for a top Biopharmaceutical Company. Brian is committed to finding breakthrough opportunities for funding research that will make a difference in pediatric brain tumors.
Cristina is the proud mother of twins, Stella and Sofia, and wife to her amazing husband Ted. With a legal background, her interests have always involved helping others. Cristina is committed to making a difference in the world of pediatric cancer and "paying forward" kindness. She hopes that this will provide inspiration to her children and lead the way for a better tomorrow to all those affected by pediatric cancer.
Hospital Donation Liaison
Joyce is the proud mother of two grown children, Kaitlyn and Michael. She retired from a 30 year career as a special education teacher with the Manalapan Englishtown School District in 2018. Children and their needs have always been a focus in her life. Joyce and her husband, Chris, own a local restaurant that is very involved in the community. They view their business as a vehicle to help and support local charities as well as a way to bring awareness to the needs in their town. Joyce hopes to spread Liv’s message to “be the good” through school programs to inspire and involve the next generation.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Stacey is a proud mother of three children: Brayden, Delaney, and Mackenna, and wife to her amazing husband, Morgan. Stacey has a BA in Early Childhood Education and is the Director of the Colts Neck Reformed Church Early Learning Center in Colts Neck, NJ. Stacey’s school teaches empathy and kindness through "Kids Helping Kids" service projects while promoting the idea that, “You were never too little to help.” She hopes to extend that idea that no one is ever too little to help and to "Be the good," to young children, while spreading awareness of pediatric brain cancer far beyond her own school.
School Outreach Coordinator
Kerri-Ann is the proud mother of two beautiful girls, Jillian and Kendall, and loving wife to her husband, Erik. Their family's life was turned upside down when Kendall was diagnosed with brain cancer in April 2020. She passed away just 34 days later. Her brief, yet fierce battle with cancer inspired her family to "Be the Good" and make a difference in the lives of other children fighting this horrible disease. Kerri-Ann has a BA in Elementary Education and has been a Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher for 20 years in Sayreville, NJ. She hopes to connect with other schools and educators to spread awareness and inspire other children to "Be the Good".
Special Advisor to the Board of Directors
Jennifer is Vice President of Development at Meridian Health Foundation, part of Hackensack Meridian Health. A lifelong resident of Freehold, she and her husband Will are committed to supporting this community, and rallying friends and family to support the fight against pediatric cancer. Mom to three young daughters, Olivia, Paige, and Madelyn, Jen hopes to inspire this next generation to always do the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.
Our Medical Advisors
Dr. Sharon Gardner
Dr. Sharon Gardner is a Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Specialist, affiliated with NYU Langone Medical Center. She has over 35 years of experience treating children with central nervous system tumors. As Liv’s doctor, they shared a special bond. Liv enjoyed encouraging Dr. Gardner to eat cookies and cupcakes (preferably in one bite), teaching her about her vast American Girl collection and doing jigsaw puzzles. The Lipnicky family will always be incredibly grateful for the care Dr. Gardener provided for Liv, and our whole family. We are honored that she will continue to help us spread Liv’s legacy through her foundation.
Dr. Nicholas Vitanza
Dr. Nicholas Vitanza is a pediatric neuro-oncologist and translational scientist whose career is dedicated to the care of children with CNS tumors such as DIPG or DMG. In his lab within the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute, he focus on creating treatment-naïve biopsy-derived patient-derived DIPG models to learn how to target DIPG’s molecular and immunologic vulnerabilities. The team also optimizes CAR T cell therapies for pediatric CNS tumors and translates these findings into truly biology-driven clinical trials aimed at improving outcomes for affected children.
Dr. Patricia Manfredonia
Patricia E. Manfredonia, MD, known to her patients as "Dr. Trish," received her undergraduate degree in the Biological Sciences from Rutgers University in New Brunswick. She went onto attend UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School and graduated with her medical doctorate in 2001. From there, she trained at New York University Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital to complete her pediatric residency in 2004.
She is board-certified in pediatrics and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition to working at her private practice, she serves as school physician for two local elementary schools. Dr. Manfredonia was named an Honoree by Horizon New Jersey Health Insurance Company in 2006 for her dedication to treating underprivileged children in the state. In 2011, she was recognized as the Community Pediatrician of the Year by the pediatric residents at the K. Hovnanian Children's Hospital at Jersey Shore Medical Center. For the past four years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), Dr. Trish has been selected as one of "New Jersey's Favorite Kids' Docs" by the readers of New Jersey Family Magazine and njfamily.com.
Dr. Heather Grossman
Dr. Heather Grossman is the Chief of the Pediatric Advanced Care Team at K Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore Medical Center, where she is honored to be able to care for the many complex and chronically ill patients of the Jersey Shore area. She is also the Medical Director for Butterflies Hospice and Palliative Care Program through Valley Home Health. In 2015, The Emmanuel Cancer Foundation humbled her with their Humanitarian of the Year Award that she shared with her colleagues. Dr Grossman’s career has included appointments in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, or both at Monmouth Medical Center (where she founded the Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Care Program), Long Island College Hospital, Columbia Presbyterian Hospital (where she served on the Phase 1 Clinical Trial Team and the Pediatric NeuroOncology Team), and St Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Dr Grossman is a graduate of the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in Tel Aviv Israel and received her undergraduate training at Columbia University with at Double Major in Biology and Psychology. Her greatest achievement is her 8 year old daughter, Lexi. It was through Lexi’s pre-school friendships that she had the privilege of getting to know Liv and her transcendent smile and her remarkable family. Heather lives in Colts Neck with her husband, Steve, her daughter Lexi, 2 formidable cats, and an emotionally needy dog.
Our Incredible Volunteers
Be The Good Volunteer
Francesca Leonard is the proud mother of two beautiful girls, Sophia and MacKenna, and loving wife of her husband, Fire Captain Richard Leonard. Francesca worked as a Corporate Manager in the Banking industry for 15 years before "retiring" to take care of her family. Their family's life was turned upside down when MacKenna was diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2021. She won her battle and is now cancer free while continuing to thrive. During Mackenna's fight, Emma came into their lives and helped the family in many ways. Learning about the Liv Like A Unicorn mission while Mackenna was fighting, inspired the Leonard family to "Be the Good" and make a difference in the lives of other children fighting this horrible disease. She hopes to spread awareness and inspire others to "Be the Good".