PALTOWN’s commitment to patient empowerment extends to our professional staff, most of whom come from our community. Together we are working to provide connection, education, and training for the thousands of patients and caregivers in our programs.
Howard Brown is an Internet/software entrepreneur, and a two time cancer survivor. His areas of expertise include new game strategic consulting, digital platforms (mobile, audio, video, broadcast / cable, cloud computing, social media, online communities and smart enterprises (data collection, analysis, intelligence, insights and reporting. He is the founder of Advocasee, and was the CEO and Cofounder of CircleBuilder Software LLC, a provider of private online community software. He has twice served as the President of the Babson College Alumni Association Board of Directors, and has served on a number of other nonprofit and private sector boards and committees.
COO & Program Manager, PALTOWN Development Foundation
Seybold began her career as the first Web editor for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and soon moved to the National Cancer Institute, where she built a web-based initiative to increase understanding of and participation in cancer clinical trials. While at NCI, Seybold participated in a number of high-level initiatives surrounding the push to develop a unified, branded web presence (now cancer.gov) for the Institute.
Seybold spent 16 years consulting to clients in the health information, biomedical, and public health fields as an information architect and user experience practitioner. Clients include several institutes at the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and Johnson & Johnson.
Seybold co-founded the PALTOWN Development Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation, in 2016. The Foundation develops and manages online support communities for patients and caregivers affected by serious disease.
Seybold holds a B.A. in Humanities and M.A. in Medieval Studies from Yale University.
I am a breast cancer survivor and a stage IV crc patient. I joined COLONTOWN in 2016 on the advice of a friend, and I have found it to be the best online group for support and education for colorectal cancer patients. The education and peer to peer medical advice I’ve received helped me make critical decisions in my treatment plans. The level of knowledge from members who are patients, caregivers, and medical professionals is superior and invaluable.
In 2019, after having to take medical leave from my job of 13 years, I took a step back into the professional world by joining PALTOWN’s first group of interns. I was able to use my prior experience in fundraising to help with the work of supporting our programs, and began to work with both CEO Erika Brown and COO Nancy Seybold on many other projects; in a small organization, everyone wears many hats! I attended one of PALTOWN’s Empowering Patient Leaders Workshops late in 2019 and have stepped up as an admin of our New Jersey and Pennsylvania local crews.
PALTOWN is growing, as our programs reach more patients and caregivers and our training initiatives. As part of that growth, I moved into a part-time staff position at the end of 2019, focused on development and program management.
Education Programs Staff
I am a Stage 3b rectal cancer survivor. Immediately after my diagnosis in 2017, I joined COLONTOWN. By training, I am a veterinary doctor and have a PhD. My professional background is as a researcher in the lab working in Cell and Cancer Biology. After I joined COLONTOWN I became instantly aware of how I could use my background in Cancer Biology to educate fellow patients and caregivers, as they navigated their cancer journey.
In COLONTOWN, I created the CRC101 educational neighborhood, which formed the basis for the CRC101 Learning Center in COLONTOWN University. CRC101 attempts to provide people a “road-map” to their cancer journey and aims to facilitate CRC-specific learning, by meeting patients and caregivers at their level of understanding. I also host many of the DocTalk discussions with clinicians and researchers; these are available in COLONTOWN University’s Lecture Hall.
The time I have spent in COLONTOWN has greatly broadened my view of cancer research and in some ways brought the kind of clarity and perspective that is only possible with the experience of cancer as a patient. I am able to leverage this unique perspective as a Patient Advocate with the Stand Up to Cancer CRC Dream Team, various cancer and CRC specific meetings and conferences, and on Twitter (@manjuggm). This enables me to engage in discussions with leading clinicians and researchers in the CRC field and bring that information back to benefit the COLONTOWN membership. My impact in this advocacy space has been reflected in projects where I help bring patient perspective into clinical trial design.
In 2020, I joined PALTOWN staff as Scientific Director, formalizing my role across all these activities for the organization and for COLONTOWN.
I envision colorectal patient advocacy and education as an integral part of my life moving forward, and am looking for opportunities where my training, cancer experience and collective patient perspective gained from COLONTOWN can be used for the benefit of society.
I am living with a chronic disease known as Stage IV colorectal cancer. I am one of the growing many of early onset patients with no family history or typical risk factors trying to figure out how to juggle treatment, raise a toddler, and shift just about everything to coexist with cancer. I passionately believe that knowledge and compassion help increase positive outcomes for those with cancer in their lives. COLONTOWN provides both of these in such a unique way and I am thrilled to participate in and further that mission.
I am a science communicator and editor. I started my career in genetics education, as the managing editor for an education nonprofit. I am passionate about translating confusing topics so that everyone can understand them. I have a B.A. in English from Vassar College. I’m excited to lead PALTOWN’s content development team and manage digital content for the organization.
I became involved in patient advocacy when my mother was diagnosed with incurable cervical cancer in 2012. Her doctor offered her very few options, so I undertook a deep dive into the world of cancer research, as well as corresponded with top researchers around the world about the latest developments.
My research led me to a promising clinical trial that my mother participated in, which shrunk her cancer and gave her valuable additional years. This experience led me to focus on patient advocacy and to found LifeTrials, a charity focused on informing patients of the latest research advances and clinical trials. My goal is to ensure patients are getting the best treatments and that all available options are considered based on the latest evidence.
I know that one of the most valuable tools available for patients is community organizations, and when a close friend was diagnosed with CRC I reached out to PALTOWN and joined COLONTOWN. I was blown away at how wildly supportive and knowledgeable the group was and knew I had to be a part of it.
Currently, I work with PALTOWN and COLONTOWN researching and informing the community of valuable clinical trial options, and providing easy-to-understand explanations of the latest research advances and topics at the forefront of CRC treatment research.
I have been married 27 years to my high school sweetheart Jeff. We live in Louisville, Kentucky. Together, we are raising five amazing gifts through adoption, (two domestic, two from Congo, Africa and one from Uganda, Africa). I am the proud mama of a Navy Surface Warfare Officer, two college students and two high schoolers who I homeschool. We absolutely love to travel with our favorite places being Caribbean beaches and the National Parks.
My husband’s Stage IV rectal cancer diagnosis at the age of 44 in 2017 rocked our world! As a childhood cancer survivor, researcher, and fixer, I went to work on learning as much as I possiblycould and developing a plan to fight this. Our strategy is that I am the researcher, the advocate and the plan developer and my husband just says, “I’ll do whatever you tell me” (he’s a smart guy!). This works for us, and he can focus on his attitude and his health. I found COLONTOWN on Facebook in 2019 after a devastating recurrence with peritoneal metastasis, lymph node metastasis and liver metastasis following 15 months of NED. COLONTOWN has become our go-to source of information, new family and friends who understand this world like no other, and
resources that have helped us develop an amazing treatment plan. I truly believe my husband’s success in this journey is due in large part to the cutting-edge technology
recommendations and resources we learned about on COLONTOWN.
I am thrilled to join the PALTOWN team to help support patients and caretakers through content development on COLONTOWN University.
In the summer of 2021, I was diagnosed with stage IIa colon cancer. I was 36 at the time, with no family history of CRC, and only had symptoms for three short weeks. I was very fortunate that the surgery to remove my tumor was curative but given my young age I elected to do six months of ‘clean-up’ chemo. I found COLONTOWN early in my journey and from day one it’s been my keystone. The support and education I received from the other “Townies” has been priceless.
Professionally, I’ve worked in healthcare for over 10 years. I spent several years working direct patient care in gastroenterology. Currently I work as Financial Counselor in an oncology clinic, ensuring financial toxicity will not be a barrier to patients’ access to life saving/prolonging treatment.
I’m very excited to be a part of the COLONTOWN team and give back to my community in a meaningful way.
In 2022, we lost three incredible members of our staff: Lindsey Musick, Steve Schwarze, and Jen Eldridge. We honor their work, and their commitment to their COLONTOWN “neighbors,” in all that we do at PALTOWN.
COLONTOWN Community Staff
Professionally, Stacey is an entrepreneur and artist. She holds a dual BA in Business Management and Dance Education from Ithaca College. Her career has spanned education, management, and most recently business owner. She is thrilled for the opportunity to combine her professional background and personal cancer experience to help lead the COLONTOWN community as Mayor.
Outside of COLONTOWN, Stacey enjoys paddleboarding, and exploring unique coffee shops with her partner Michael. She attempts to play golf (Rick’s favorite sport!), she is a tap dancer, and a (begrudging) beginner runner.
I am a Stage IV colorectal cancer survivor, diagnosed in 2013. I’ve been part of the COLONTOWN community for more than five years. After joining, I quickly took on leadership roles. I serve on the COLONTOWN Cabinet, manage the Onboarding team, am the Community Leader for our BLUE LIGHT SPECIAL COMMUNITY and am also a Neighborhood Host for numerous groups. I have attended and helped present at all of PALTOWN’s Empowered Patient Leader Workshops.
COLONTOWN has given me a voice and a purpose that I never dreamed possible. Helping others “Find their people” is a passion.
I was diagnosed with stage lllb colon cancer in May 2019. I was 36 and didn’t know of anyone my age with this diagnosis. I had no family history and nothing genetic to explain why this happened to me.
While in the hospital, I started searching for information and support groups. I came across COLONTOWN and joined. I instantly made connections with not only people that had young onset colorectal cancer, but local “townies” that quickly became some of my closest friends. I didn’t feel alone and felt supported throughout my diagnosis and treatment.
After I finished chemo, I knew I wanted to give back. I did the first virtual Empowered Patient Leader training in July 2020. Soon after, I became the admin for 3RD LANE, then TOUGH CHICKS and NED BALLROOM. I also help moderate the Cleveland crew and help the fundraising team. After a year, I was asked to become an EPL Trainer. I am also happy to be a Community Leader for the PATIENT PLAZA groups! In the summer of 2022, I became a member of the COLONTOWN Cabinet. All of this has been incredibly healing and helped give me my “why.”
In August of 2018, a couple of months after being diagnosed with stage 3b colorectal cancer, I started to reach out online to get additional support with my cancer diagnosis. I found COLONTOWN after hearing Charles Griffin Jr. talk about it on a podcast. After the podcast, I joined COLONTOWN and gained support from many of its groups. Charles was one of the first members who encouraged me to continue to ask for support and seek help. A few months ago I completed PALTOWN’s Empowered Patient Leaders program. In early 2021, I had been NED (No Evidence of Disease) for a few months and wanted to find a way to give back to a community that had given so much to me. I am now serving as Community Manager for COLONTOWN Junior, serving the families of pediatric colorectal cancer patients. I look forward to continuing to support COLONTOWN and its members in the future.
I was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer on 5/5/21, have completed several surgeries and am currently on my 2nd line of chemotherapy.
When I heard those words “You have cancer” as you can imagine, my world flipped upside down. I immediately thought…”How long do I have.” I am a husband to my wife Casey of 15 years, as well as a father to my 2 sons Logan and Parker.
You can find yourself digging into a dark hole as a stage IV patient, while researching survival rates, treatment options etc. My nurse navigator recommended that I investigate the group “COLONTOWN.” This community has been a tremendous part of my treatment plan. They have helped me answer questions, seek advice, helped empower me to get a 2nd opinion, and helped me to become a better advocate for myself.
The Empowered Patient Leadership program offered me a way to give back to others that have helped me along my journey. I am now an admin for my local regional group, and part of the Empowered Patient Leadership team, as well as part of the COLONTOWN Cabinet.
As my way of coping I threw myself into research of therapies that may give me more time with my family. Shortly thereafter I found COLONTOWN. It was such an incredible relief to not only connect with people in the same situation, but to have access to such a wonderful network of knowledgeable advocates. Since finding COLONTOWN I made it to NED, have taken an 18 month chemo break, and fighting a thoracic recurrence and planning to be NED again.
I’ve been host in the early onset neighborhood YOUNGSTOWN and the parenting neighborhood THE PTA since late 2021. My goal is to be able to give patients the same hope COLONTOWN gave me and help them find the resources they need to cope with their diagnosis.
In early 2022 I became community leader for ‘THE CIRCUS’ neighborhoods. These groups focus not on the disease specifically but hobbies, identity, and the practical matters of dealing with a cancer diagnosis. It’s so important to acknowledge one’s whole self when diagnosed with cancer not simply responding to the symptoms and I’m so glad that these resources are available through COLONTOWN. In summer of 2022 I became a member of the COLONTOWN Cabinet
In February of 2021, I was diagnosed with stage III rectal cancer. I completed chemoradiation in April. Then, while looking for resources and support when undergoing chemotherapy, I found COLONTOWN. I instantly made real friendships with other people who understood me.
In early December of 2021, I was declared NED (no evidence of disease) and turned my focus to helping other CRC patients and care partners while navigating my own survivorship. I completed EPL (Empowered Patient Leader) training in June of 2022 and began serving as a community host in the MIDDLEBURY MANOR and RECTALBURGH neighborhoods.
I am passionate about making genuine connections and helping patients and carepartners. Joining the onboarding team will allow me to serve COLONTOWN’s members and connect new members with neighborhood communities that will offer support and knowledge.
I am a Stage 4a colorectal cancer survivor.
I was diagnosed in 2018 at the age of 35 and this news sent my life into a tailspin. I was told I was inoperable due to the extent of cancer in my liver, would be on chemotherapy for my entire life, and that everything we were doing was to extend my life or for palliative reasons. Not what you want to hear ever, let alone when you are 35 and with 2 young children and another on the way. It affected my wife tremendously as well. We understand the emotional, mental, and physical stress that comes with a terminal cancer diagnosis and found COLONTOWN about 6 months after being diagnosed, with both my wife and I joining various neighborhoods within the community.
This turned out to be a game changer for me as I found a recommendation in COLONTOWN for a CRC liver surgeon. This led me to get a 2nd opinion with this doctor, and eventually, surgery. It changed my life. I have been declared NED and no longer receive chemotherapy, but actively monitor with my oncology team with methods and tests I learned about first in COLONTOWN.
I have experienced many up and downs on the rollercoaster of cancer (chemotherapy, embolizations, ablations, ileostomy and reversal, mental health, fistulas, colonic stents and them failing, physical health, integrative medicine, surgeries, etc.) that I am not shy about sharing with others. I am an analyst by profession, GIS Analyst, and research extensively not only at my work but about my disease as well. I believe my knowledge and perspective of cancer from someone who has lived it can benefit other patients in ways that doctors cannot grasp at times. While I am brutally honest in my approach, I also am very optimistic and positive and want to help others after finding my own voice after my cancer experiences and taking charge of my health. It has lit a fire in me that I have never felt before and I want to help others now if it is within my capabilities.
I am honored to be a part of COLONTOWN and to be able to help. I will continue to strive and advocate for our community and helping others in their own quest of taking control of their health and wellbeing and connecting with others within the community.
We are grateful to the Colon Cancer Coalition for its support of our COLONTOWN Management Team.