“The idea is to write it so that people hear it, and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” - Maya Angelou

About Me

I'm a communications and public relations professional with a passion for storytelling. Specifically, I enjoy sharing stories about the people and organizations who are making an impact on the world. 

In my current and past roles, I've helped share the mission and vision of nonprofits, and work with journalists to share their stories with the public. 

I graduated from the University of Montevallo in 2014 with a BA in Mass Communication.

My Latest Work

Childhood cancer survivor working to bring new therapies to kids like him

As a pediatric emergency medicine physician, Kim Giusto is no stranger to the symptoms of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), an aggressive form of blood cancer, in children. In 2013, her professional life became her personal life. She noticed her son, Cole, had been sick for five days with cold symptoms, a fever, and a rash known as petechiae. “I also noticed he had gained some weight and was breathing a little fast, which concerned me that something more serious was going on,” said Kim. “I br

Scientific Advisory Council Spotlight: Elizabeth Fox, MD

With the expert leadership of the CureSearch Scientific Advisory Council (SAC), which sets the academic priorities for research initiatives and evaluates projects on scientific merit, CureSearch funds projects with commercial potential and the ability to quickly reach patients who need new and better treatment options. The SAC includes best-in-class pediatric oncologists, such as Elizabeth Fox, MD, senior vice president of clinical trials administration at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

175 miles in seven days – hiker treks across the country for kids with cancer

Ryan Sickler is going the extra mile to tell children’s cancer to “take a hike” by taking on all seven 2022 CureSearch Ultimate Hikes to raise funds and awareness for better childhood cancer treatments. The CureSearch Ultimate Hike is the nation’s only endurance event dedicated to childhood cancer. Hikes take place throughout the year on some of the country’s most beautiful trails in Texas, the Carolinas, Virginia, California, Minnesota and Arkansas. In 2019, Ryan laced up his boots for his fi

Ultimate Hiker takes on famous pilgrimage for childhood cancer research

How far would you hike for children with cancer? For Steve Hay, it’s 165 miles. More than 17,000 children in the US are diagnosed with cancer every year and most current standard treatments were approved before 1990. There is an urgent need for new, safe, effective treatments. Through the CureSearch Create Your Own Adventure program, Steve went the extra mile – 165 miles to be exact – to raise funds for the development of new treatments for children with cancer. This was Steve’s first CureSear

Volunteer, mother of childhood cancer survivor to host Northern Colorado CureSearch Walk

CureSearch funds next-generation childhood cancer research, and that wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated volunteers who work every day to fundraise and bring awareness to the urgent need for new treatments for the kids who need them most. In 2018, Kathleen Sullivan and her family’s world turned upside down. Her 17-year-old daughter, Sherilyn, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the blood that starts in the bone marrow and spreads to the bloodstream. Kathlee

Mother-daughter team wants to pay it forward at CureSearch Ultimate Hike

Angie Voloch knows first-hand what it’s like to watch a child endure toxic chemotherapy treatments. On November 4, 2014, after a year of misdiagnoses, her daughter Taylor was diagnosed with a pilocytic astrocytoma – a slow growing tumor that usually does not spread to surrounding brain tissue. “The next morning, she had to undergo a 12-hour surgery to remove the tumor,” said Angie. “In 2016, the tumor had regrown closer to the brainstem and continued to grow, despite a year of chemo.” Taylor h

Mom and childhood cancer advocate shares daughter’s story on anniversary of diagnosis

Mom and childhood cancer advocate shares daughter’s story on anniversary of diagnosis Fourteen years ago today, Stacy Distefano heard the words that more than 17,000 parents in the U.S. hear every year – “your child has cancer.” On April 29, 2008, Stacy took her four-year-old daughter, Avery, to the pediatrician after weeks of stomach problems and complaints of a headache. Bloodwork showed that she was dehydrated, so Avery was sent to the ER for IV fluids. “The ER doctor ordered an MRI just t

Online search helps solve 24-year medical mystery

Confusion, nausea, fever, anger, then back to normal. This was Lauren Vandiver’s life beginning in early childhood. Her parents, Phillip and Angela Vandiver, spent more than twenty years asking the question “why?” Why is she forgetting who we are? Why is she throwing up? Why is she so angry? They knew there had to be an explanation for their daughter’s symptoms, and they were right. However, the diagnosis would take two decades to be found. Lauren seemed to be progressing fine as a young child.

Alabama woman ends 40-year diagnostic odyssey, thanks to Smith Family Clinic

Rare disease patients spend an average of eight years searching for a diagnosis and for some, that search can last decades. April Hudson of Quinton, Ala., began showing symptoms of an unknown disease at three years old. She would go on to see 200 physicians before finally learning the true cause of her symptoms nearly 40 years later. April was no stranger to sickness as a child. “I was that child who would always run a low-grade fever, always had a sinus infection and was just always sick,” s

Your “gene-erosity” makes it possible to help those in need

Jim Wall has struggled with back problems for more than 20 years, but just ignored the pain and accepted it as a part of life. “My sister used to tell me I had the ‘back walk’ and my wife used to tell me I walked around the house like Frankenstein,” said Jim. “Those were probably early symptoms.” In addition, Jim had swallowing issues – even with the tiniest amounts of food – and balance problems. Little did he know, there was a larger issue at hand. After the death of his wife in 2007, Jim d

HudsonAlpha: ending the diagnostic odyssey

As a pediatric occupational therapist in Florence, Ala., Miranda Ainsworth spends her days working with children with special needs. So when her daughter Anna Brooke was only a few months old, Miranda already could sense there was a problem. But not everyone shared those concerns. “Doing what I do and treating children is kind of a catch-22,” Miranda explained. “Some people would say it’s so good that you have experience with children and you know what to look for. Others would say you’re just

Hope in a name: Montgomery family finds diagnosis at HudsonAlpha

“In the beginning, Violet could say a few words. She would say momma, dadda and bubba,” said Mandy Monson, Violet’s mother. “She didn’t suddenly forget who we were. She just stopped being able to communicate it.” Violet, a toddler from Montgomery, Ala., was a quiet little mystery to her doctors. It would be almost two years until “D-Day,” or Diagnosis Day would finally come for the Monson family and their precious Violet. Violet started showing signs of regression when she was around eight mon

The CSER project: diagnosing the undiagnosed

Victor and Jeannette Vega of Madison, Ala. knew their daughter Tiana was falling behind in her development but had no idea that she would be diagnosed with a condition so rare, it occurs in about 1 in 10,000, and only in girls. “At around 9 months, family and friends started telling me that there was some kind of a delay, so I just kind of kept an eye on it and figured okay, she’s delayed, but she’ll catch up,” said Jeannette. This was only the beginning of a two-year journey to a diagnosis fo

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