ANGELS OF THE YEAR 2002-2016


Since 2002, the Christina Rush Foundation has chosen an annual Angel of the Year recipient. Our Angels are chosen because of their dedication and commitment to others suffering from the effects of cancer.




The 2017 Angel of the Year is Alice Malfi, RN OCN, who started her nursing career 38 years ago. Fresh out of college, Alice’s goal was to "take care of people." Her focus during each shift is to provide safe and compassionate care. Alice believes patients and their caregivers should be educated about their illness, the treatment options and she advocates for patients to get the care they need.

Alice was a Nurse Manager of the Oncology Unit at AtlantiCare and she was also the Director of Medical Surgical Services at the Mainland Division. She is the recipient of a Customer Service Award and has been recognized for her participation on numerous Performance Improvement Teams. Alice received the Red Cross Workplace Safety Award after performing CPR to a coworker/friend after she suffered a serious cardiac event.

Alice's passion has always been one-on-one care and she strives to develop trusting relationships with her patients. She has been a member of the AtlantiCare Radiation Oncology Team for the past nine years. You might find her holding a patient's hand through a difficult procedure, crying along side them when the news is not good or celebrating with a cancer survivor.

Even after retirement from AtlantiCare, Alice does not plan to stop "taking care of people" because that is what she does best.



Last year's Angel of the Year was Leigh Shinar-Turner. Leigh is a cancer survivor. In 2009, while pregnant with her third child, she was diagnosed with stage 2 cervical cancer. Due to her pregnancy, immediate action could not be taken until after the birth of her son in June. She has been cancer free since October 2009.

Leigh is a tireless volunteer. She actively works with charitable organizations that help those battling cancer as well as those that aid our local community in so many other ways. Noogieland at Gilda’s Club, Spread The Magic, The Alcove, Boys & Girls Club, the Community Food Bank and the AC Rescue Mission are just some of the organizations she has positively impacted. Leigh and her family reside in Margate, NJ.



The 2015 Angel of the Year was The "Patti McWalk" Organization. Founded in memory of Jennifer "Patti" McDonnell who passed away of pancreatic cancer on February 23, 2002. Patti was a dynamic woman who had an unforgettable generosity of spirit. She was a casino professional and sports fisherman who adored the beach and the City of Margate. The "Patti McWalk" raises money for people in need stricken by cancer and works closely with the South Jersey Cancer Fund.



The Angel of the Year in 2014 was Joanne M. Kenny. Joanne is serving her third year as the President of the Ruth Newman Shapiro Cancer & Heart Fund (RNS) of Atlantic and Cape May Counties. She is a board member of the Children's Seashore House of Philadelphia, Chairman of the Awards & Gifts Committee and Hostess of the Judges Committee for the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation. She also serves as a member of the National Hostess Committee for the Miss America Organization.

Joanne is a past President and life member of the Margate Mothers Club, past President of the A.C. Council, U.S. Navy League, of which she has held all board positions more than once, present Navy League Treasurer and Liaison for the NJROTC Program at Atlantic City and Deptford High Schools and the Naval Sea Cadet Squadron at the A.C. Coast Guard Station.

in 2004, Joanne and her husband John received a Congressional Recognition Award for their support of the U.S. Coast Guard. In 2009, the Kiwanis Club of Atlantic City named them "The Outstanding Volunteer Couple of the Year". Joanne was born in Philadelphia, and resides with her husband in Margate. They have a son, Shawn, who teaches at Atlantic City High School, a daughter-in-law Connie and a beautiful granddaughter Emma. She is currently a real estate broker for J&M Land Company.




The Angel of the Year in 2013 was Michele Gaguski, MSN, RN, AOCN, CHPN, APN-C. Michele is an employee of The Cancer Care Institute at AtlantiCare. She is an Advanced Practice Nurse currently serving as the Clinical Director of Medical Oncology & Infusion Services and collaborates with hospital staff, physicians, and the Fox Chase Cancer Center as a tertiary oncology partner. She also serves as clinical expert and consultant regarding policy and procedure, chemotherapy best practice, patient standards, quality improvement, and risk management. Michele is a certified Hospice & Palliative Care nurse and is a member of the AtlantiCare Palliative Care Leadership Team. She is also a certified trainer in End of Life Nursing, and she shares her extensive knowledge with her dedicated staff. She is highly active in the community and is the Founder and President of the Every Breath Counts Foundation for Lung Cancer Awareness in Somers Point, NJ. She is affiliated with countless professional organizations, has written dozens of award winning professional publications, and has just facilitated in the opening of the new AtlantiCare Cancer Care Institute in Cape May Court House.




The 2012 Angel of the Year was Gloria Jacoby. Gloria has served as the patient liaison for the South Jersey Cancer Fund for 2-1/2 years. In that capacity, she handles all patient's calls for assistance and follow-up calls to facilitate the requested assistance. Gloria’s volunteer duties amount to the equivalent of a full-time job, handling as many as 40 cases per month. She is a kind and caring individual as attested to by her co-volunteers and the many letters received from patients expressing their appreciation for her efforts.



Our 2011 Angel of the Year was Marge Scanny. Marge is a breast cancer survivor herself, as well as a truly dedicated advocate for others with cancer. She is currently the manager of the Cancer Community Outreach at Shore Memorial Cancer Center. Marge has spent most of her career helping people in our community, especially the poor and underserved, get access to health care services. In addition to Marge's duties at Shore Memorial Hospital, she is also a volunteer for the American Cancer Society as the Cancer Action Network’s State Lead Ambassador for New Jersey. In this role she campaigns to Congress to keep programs funded for cancer patients. Whether as a volunteer or an employee, as a breast cancer survivor Marge personally connects with the patients and families with whom she comes in contact, by helping them through their emotional journey from the time of a cancer diagnosis to the time of recovery.




The 2010 Angel of the Year was Chad Juros. Chad is an international performer and the founder of Spread the Magic Foundation, a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to spread hope and inspiration to children battling cancer through the power of magic. This organization is a positive outcome of Chad's own battle with cancer. Chad is a leukemia relapse/brain surgery survivor who spent a large part of his childhood in the hospital. During this time, Chad's father taught him magic tricks to divert his attention from his illness. At age seven Chad started performing at venues such as the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Chad's father passed away shortly after Chad's recovery, and he has served as an inspiration for Chad to continue spreading magic to others. With the help of his mother, Chad formed the Spread the Magic Foundation.  They spread hope and inspiration by providing live magic shows to children with cancer at hospitals, hospices, camps and foundations. Their foundation also provides funds for pediatric cancer research and is the recipient of the 2010-2011 NJ Association of Student Council State Charity Winner.




The 2009 Angel of the Year was Lisa Bee. In 2003 Lisa founded Spin 4 The Care, an organization which concentrates on raising funds to fight leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers. Her annual event has raised over $200,000 for cancer research and patient care in South Jersey.




The 2008 Angel of the Year was Linnea Brown, BA, RN, OCN, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Breast Health Coordinator. Linnea has been an oncology nurse at AtlantiCare for 18 years and the Breast Health Coordinator for 5 years. As the Breast Health Coordinator, Linnea 'partners' with patients through the process of diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. She is a patient advocate, navigator, educator, and physician liaison. Linnea facilitates the monthly breast cancer support group and ACS "Look Good, Feel Better" Program. She is active in the local community serving on the Shirley Mae Breast Cancer Assistance Fund Committee, Gilda's Club-Medical Resource Committee, Atlantic County Health Living Coalition and the Governor's Cancer Control Breast Cancer Work Group.




The 2007 Angel of the Year was Lisa Alper-Russo. Lisa Alper-Russo is a breast cancer survivor that was diagnosed in 2005. Since then Lisa has dedicated her time to sponsoring the Gilda's Club South Jersey annual Art Auction raising thousands of dollars to assist in keeping their doors open for anyone living with cancer. She is also active in the local community and has served on the board of directors for the Atlantic County Board of Realtors, Margate Jewish Community Center and the Shore Mother's Association.




The 2006 Angel of the Year recipient was Dean Randazzo. Dean Randazzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes, back in June 2001. After ongoing treatments he was in remission and the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation (DRCF) was formed to support others with cancer who do not have health insurance, can not afford to pay medical bills, and for the purpose of raising money for cancer research. Unfortunately the cancer has recently returned. Once again, Dean is using his positive attitude to face his illness head on and is coming through like a champ.




The 2005 recipient was not an individual but an organization that assists critically ill children. The Angel of the Year recipient for 2005 was The Donny Fund. Established in 1993, the Donny Fund is being recognized for its outstanding commitment to our region's critically ill children. The Donny Fund is a fundraising group named for Donny Sykes who spent most of his life paralyzed and dedicated himself to helping disabled children play sports. He died in 1991.




The 2004 Angel of the Year recipient was George Naame. Mr. Naame, the owner of Maloney's Tavern, was recognized for his active fundraising contributions via the Naame Foundation. The Naame Foundation raises money for local charities in South Jersey. The main fundraiser is the Maloney's Bike-a-thon which has been held for 29 years. The Naame Foundation was created in 2000 to better assist the local needs of our area while still contributing to some national charities. Over $2 million dollars have been raised and donated to charities since the beginning of the Maloney's Bike-a-thon.




The 2003 Angel of the Year recipient was Florence Alles. Ms. Alles is the patient liaison for the South Jersey Cancer Fund. Florence Alles was recognized for her dedication and compassion to patients utilizing the the services of the SJ Cancer Fund. She was also recognized for assisting our foundation with tips and suggestions as we began to distribute funds to women.




The 2002 Angel of the Year recipient was Dr. Blair A. Bergen. Dr. Bergen is an obstetrics and gynecology physician practicing in Atlantic County. Dr. Bergen was Chrissy's obsterician when she was pregnant with Erin and it was discovered that Chrissy had cancer. Blair Bergen was recognized for his knowledge, caring, support, and diligent role he played in Chrissy's medical care.





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For more information please contact:
Christina M. Rush Foundation, Inc.

P.O. Box 3266

Margate, New Jersey 08402
ChristinaRushOrg@aol.com