The SCFC was founded in 2010 in memory of Vera Arajs and other Canadians who have lost their lives to Sarcoma cancers. We are a volunteer-run national organization supporting patients and their families, while working with Canada's leading research institutions in their efforts to eradicate Sarcoma cancers.

It is our mission to connect patients and their families with the best medical information and community resources, to ease the process of dealing with a sarcoma cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Board of Directors (To see a person's biography, click the name):

Helping sarcoma patients

Diana is an experienced communications professional with expertise in media and government relations, crisis communications, media training, strategic planning and broadcast production. Able to generate or quell media interest in both immediate and long-term issues and execute both local and national campaigns, Diana has a thorough understanding of government, corporate, agency, and not-for-profit decision-making processes. Prior to founding Poise Communications where she is currently President, Diana held positions at two global public relations firms. In her position as Vice President, Health Care Practice Leader, she developed a public relations practice with specific capabilities in public affairs and strategic partnership development.

Diana has provided media and presentation training to various professionals across Canada. From sales teams to patient groups to CEOs, Diana has provided training across various sectors, including health care, energy, technology, the environment, and the entertainment industry for public, private and not-for-profit organizations.

Diana's previous work in government garnered experience in strategic planning, public policy development, crisis and issues management, stakeholder engagement, communications and media relations. While working for the Ontario government, Diana held positions as the Press Secretary and Communications Advisor to the Premier, the Minister of Environment and the Minister of Energy. Diana has government relations experience in both the private and not-for-profit sectors and has helped to organize and execute several political campaigns. As a television and radio producer for a Toronto agency prior to her work in government, Diana produced ads for corporate and consumer clients, while spearheading production of a number of the agency's pro bono campaigns in the not-for-profit sector.

Diana has also been an active volunteer in the Toronto arts community for over a decade, chairing and sitting as a Director of various Boards and fundraising campaigns for a number of cultural institutions and organizations. In 2010, Diana founded the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada, where she currently serves as Chair.

Lieutennant Colonel George Arajs enrolled in the Canadian Forces on January 5, 1972 following graduation from the University of Waterloo with an Honors Physics degree. After Air Traffic Control classification training, he completed his first Operational Tour at CFB Trenton. In 1978, he became the first recipient of a Master of Science Degree in Physics to be awarded by the Royal Military College of Canada. Following Operational Tours in Shearwater, NS and Summerside, PEI, LCol Arajs was the first air traffic controller selected to attend the Aerospace Systems Course. Graduating from ASC 37 in 1985, he remained in Winnipeg as an instructor with the Canadian Forces Aerospace and Navigation School, transferring to the newly-formed School of Aerospace Studies in 1987. In 1988, he was posted to Summerside, PEI to become the first non-aircrew base operations officer in Maritime Air Group. With the closure of CFB Summerside, he transferred to the Canadian Forces School of Air Traffic Control in 1990, followed by a tour in the Air Command Office in Ottawa in 1994. In 1995, he returned to Cornwall, ON as Commandant to run the new School of Aerospace Control. In Ottawa and Montreal following that, LCol Arajs worked on the implementation of the Military Automated Air Traffic System, while standing up a new operational squadron. In 2006, his final posting to Toronto saw him complete his career as the Deputy Chair of the Department of Security and International Affairs at the Canadian Forces College.

Now retired, George is a father of three and lives in his hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario, where, when he is not traveling internationally, he enjoys visiting the many historical sites in the region and getting to know Niagara wine country.

Ethan Pigott is an independent communications consultant with more than 10 years of experience in various health sectors. Currently, Ethan collaborates with his clients in a number of functions, including: media strategy, media relations, strategic planning, writing and stakeholder relations.

Prior to embarking on his own consultancy, Ethan worked in the health practices at several global communications agencies.

John Ratchford is a Principal and General Counsel at Navigator Ltd. He has been a practising lawyer for eighteen years and has provided communication and strategic advice to premiers and cabinet ministers.

In the private practice of law, John¹s focus was commercial and civil litigation. In strategic communication and public affairs, his experience has included serving as Counsel to the Premier of Ontario; Chief of Staff to the Deputy Premier of Ontario; and Campaign Press Secretary and Director of Media Events to Nova Scotia Premier John Hamm.

Before joining Navigator, John directed a corporate acquisition project for a major mobile telephone company in Prague, Czech Republic, with particular emphasis on the communications aspects of the transaction. Pursuing similar work at Navigator, John leads strategic communications teams in numerous areas, including: communications campaigns, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and crisis response and reputation recovery.

John practised law with a leading law firm in Halifax Nova Scotia, Stewart McKelvey, before coming to Toronto in 2000 to join one of Canada's largest law firms, Gowlings LLP.

John is an executive member of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (Ontario chapter), is active in the St. Francis Xavier University alumni association and the PC Party of Ontario. John has served on numerous political campaigns, and as a member of the boards of directors of the Arthritis Society, the United Way (Halifax), the Parkinson Society and on the executive of the PC Party of Nova Scotia.

John received an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia and his LL.B. from the University of New Brunswick. John was called to the bar in Nova Scotia in 1995 (since retired), the bar in Ontario in 2000, and is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Michael Mallinos, a Principal and founding partner of Stonegate Private Counsel LP, brings extensive experience in managing all financial aspects of high net worth individuals' affairs.  

With more than 13 years of experience in the financial services industry, Michael holds the Certified Financial Planner (CFP), the Financial Management Advisor (FMA) and the Canadian Investment Manager (CIM) designations, as well as being an Associate Portfolio Manager.  He earned his Bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Toronto, and is involved with the Royal Ontario Museum as Co-Chair of their Young Patrons' Circle.

Paul Cantin is the Associate Director of Communications at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. His work in health care communications also includes experience with the Health Council of Canada, Mount Sinai Hospital and Ontario’s former Minister of Health.

Prior to his work in health care, Paul worked for 15 years as a journalist in Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto.

Adrianna Boyko is a Manager in the Canadian Transaction Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young LLP. Adrianna has 5 years of public accounting and insolvency and restructuring experience servicing clients in the forestry, oil and energy, mining, manufacturing, automotive and insurance industries. As a newly promoted Manager within the group, she gained invaluable experience acting for debtors through formal proceedings, in Canada and in the U.S and as a financial advisor to lenders. While at Ernst & Young LLP, Adrianna was actively involved in campus recruiting, the peer advisor program for new hires and the student mentorship program for student staff undergoing the CA designation examination process.

Adrianna is a Chartered Accountant and a member of the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants.

Adrianna graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting, with distinction, from the Schulich School of Business, York University in 2006.

Until recently, Jasmine worked in the Office of the Prime Minister, where she served in a number of senior roles including Senior Policy Advisor for Economic Affairs, Environment and Energy Security, Director of Issues Management and Director of Priorities and Planning. Before working for the Prime Minister she was the Senior Policy Advisor for two Federal Environment Ministers.

Prior to moving to Ottawa Jasmine worked at Queen’s Park in policy advisor and issues management roles for several Ontario Cabinet Ministers.

Jasmine has over 13 years of experience in public policy development and has spent a majority of her time in government focusing on environment and energy related issues. Her experience also includes many roles in both federal and provincial election campaigns.

In June 2007, Joann’s daughter was diagnosed with osteo-sarcoma, forcing their lives to take a path driven solely to battle and overcome the disease. Sarcoma took the life of 18 year old Samantha, the third and youngest of Joann’s children. Since then, their family has advocated for clinical research initiatives at Mt. Sinai Hospital Sarcoma Unit, through active fundraising.

Joann lives in Waterloo, Ontario, and currently works as a director for a national non-profit trade organization. She has an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business.

In October 2011, Kelly’s uncle was diagnosed with prostatic sarcoma. After a courageous fight, he lost his battle with the disease in December of that year. Since then, Kelly has become passionate about bringing increased awareness about sarcoma to Canadians and supporting those families living with sarcoma cancer.

Kelly lives and works in downtown Toronto as a Human Resources Advisor for Intuit Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University and a graduate certificate in Human Resources Management from George Brown College.

Mark J. Stewart graduated with a LL.B from City University London (UK) and holds an M.A. in History from the University of Ottawa and a B.A. from the University of Guelph. Before pursuing legal studies, Mark was a Communications Officer with a major Canadian bank in Toronto and a parliamentary aide to two elected officials in Ottawa. He is currently employed as a Research Associate in a Toronto law office while working to qualify as a lawyer.

An osteosarcoma survivor, Mark is passionate about cancer-activism and has been an invited speaker and media spokesperson for the Terry Fox Foundation. Currently he is an organizational volunteer with the Paediatric Oncology Group of Ontario and was recently invited to Chair a newly formed organization that will focus on assisting adolescent and young adult cancer survivors. In his spare time Mark enjoys reading, personal fitness and maintaining a blog.

Mary Ng is the Executive Director in the Office of the President at Ryerson University. Prior to joining Ryerson, Mary worked for over 12 years in government and politics at both the provincial and federal levels.

As Director of Policy for the Minister of Education, Mary and her team implemented a series of policy changes – these spanned all aspects of education policy and administration: smaller class sizes (policy operations), the construction of new schools (capital spending), and amendments to the Ontario College of Teachers Act (stakeholder management, legislative reform). Mary also worked as the Chief of Staff for a Member of Parliament in Ottawa.

While in the Ontario public service, Mary managed a number of province-wide projects involving multiple ministries. As a member of the Cabinet Office, Mary also served on the transition team to support the transition of two new premiers into office.

Mary sits on the Board of the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada and The Good Neighbours Club of Canada, a drop-in centre and overnight shelter for men over 50 who have fallen on hard times.

Born in Hong Kong, Mary emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of 8. An avid traveler, Mary’s life and career has given her insight into both the leadership required to champion bold ideas, and the skills required to make those ideas come to life.

Jodi Kovitz obtained her HBA from Ivey in 2000, worked in consulting at The Boston Consulting Group, marketing at Workbrain then leadership development and performance management at Scotiabank. During her HBA, Jodi studied international business at Bocconi in Milan on exchange and became fluent in Italian.

Jodi then obtained her LLB from Osgoode, before practicing family law at Torkin Manes LLP for 6 years where she built a thriving practice. She contributed as a Board member to the MS Society, creating the CT investment challenge, was actively involved in the Starlight Children's Foundation and fundraising to benefit the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

Jodi is now the Director of Business Development for Osler's National Litigation Group where she is responsible for Business Development strategy and operations. She collaborates with and coaches individual Partners and Associates to create and execute on creative business training and development programs targeted at revenue generation and defence. She facilitates and advises on marketing, profile building and strategic sales initiatives. Jodi is also responsible for conceptualizing, coordinating and executing cross-functional, national, strategic initiatives to engage Osler Alumni.

Jodi is a passionate innovator, an eager team player, and a natural connector.

Margaret Duvnjak is a physiotherapist at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) with over 8 years of experience in the rehabilitation of children, primarily with the neurosurgery and trauma program. Margaret’s experience also includes clinical teaching, acting as a clinical instructor and cite coordinator of clinical education for the department of physical therapy.

Before completing an MSc(PT) at the University of Toronto, Margaret obtained a Honours Ba in Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario. Margaret also has an interest in clinical research, and is perusing a Master of Rehabilitation Science at UofT with a research focus on functional motor outcomes in children who have experienced an acquired brain injury.

In 2012, Margaret’s sister, Beth, was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma shortly after the birth of her second child. This personal experience with sarcoma has committed Margaret to raising awareness and support for sarcoma research and treatments.