One of the founders of NCAN, Maryann is the organization’s Executive Director, as well as the face of NCAN. She is the recipient of several advocacy awards for her outstanding dedication, including the 2010 Warner advocacy award and the 2016 AONN Hero of Hope Award. Maryann spent years trying to pinpoint the cause of her gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. When she found the cause—carcinoid cancer, a type of neuroendocrine tumor—she dedicated her life to working to make sure others don’t suffer as long as she did.

Maryann joined a carcinoid support group and then led one of her own. In early 2002, she and her husband, Robert, helped grow a small local group from just a handful of people to more than 100 NET patients. In addition to continuing to run this support group, Maryann co-founded the Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Network to help grow awareness, provide information, and raise money for research.

Since then, she has been hard at work operating a carcinoid cancer hotline open 7 days a week 365 days a year, from 9 am to 9 pm EST. She also organizes national and regional conferences that bring together patients and renowned NET specialists, social media support groups, and hosts fundraisers and patient-centered events throughout the year.

Maryann established November as NET Cancer Awareness Month in the state of New York and worked with international partners to establish an annual Worldwide NET Cancer Day in November. She also adopted the zebra as NCAN’s mascot because like the stripes on the zebra, no two NET patients are alike. Much of NCAN’s success is due to her dedication to helping patients face a disease that’s unusually difficult to diagnose.