Board of Directors & Staff

Chair: Andrew Weller

Andrew Weller

Andrew has been under surveillance for 20 years as part of a hereditary kidney cancer study. Due to the prevalence of kidney cancer in his family, he began volunteering with Kidney Cancer Canada to help advocate for access to innovative treatments and promote information for patients. Andrew, elected to the Kidney Cancer Canada Board in 2013, now serves as Chair and is active with the Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada initiatives. Andrew is a Procurement Director for Rexall.

Executive Director: Stephen Andrew

Stephen Andrew Vertical

Stephen Andrew is the Executive Director of Kidney Cancer Canada, a patient and a survivor of Stage IV metastatic kidney cancer. For the past 6 years, doctors cannot find any evidence of disease (NED), 5 of those years without any form of drug therapy.

Stephen Andrew first became involved in Kidney Cancer Canada as a patient in 2008 when he met co-founders Deb Maskens and Tony Clark at a medical conference. Shortly after, Stephen was speaking at patient meetings and in recent years has been the emcee for our Annual Patient and Caregiver Forums. Stephen joined the board of Kidney Cancer Canada in 2014 and in April 2017, he stepped down from his position as Vice Chair and Secretary to take on the role of Executive Director.

The former journalist is best known for his work as a television reporter, anchor and radio talk show host who has worked for several news outlets including CTV, CBC, CHEK, and CFAX radio. His work has been recognized with 10 Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Jack Webster Award for Best Television Reporting. During his journalism career Stephen produced many reports on his journey with Kidney cancer to raise awareness of the disease and to demystify treatment options.

He was instrumental in drawing attention to the need for oral therapy to be provided by the Government of B.C. and within days of interviewing then Health Minister George Abbott on his radio program the province agreed to pay for the therapy for all B.C. patients.

His work covering the issue of homelessness has been recognized by the Victoria homeless community and his reporting on public health has been recognized with an Award of Merit from the Public Health Association of British Columbia.

He is also a Board Member of Lifetime Networks and the Victoria International Running Society.

Vice Chair: Christine Collins

Christine Collins

Christine joined the Kidney Cancer Canada Board in March 2014 after several years of volunteering and participation with Kidney Cancer Canada.  Christine is under active surveillance, and as a patient is committed to "giving back" after receiving information, education and support from Kidney Cancer Canada when first diagnosed.  She started her Kidney Cancer Canada "career" with Peer Support services and Patient Education events and is now Vice Chair.

Christine's background in education, non/not for profit and health and office administration all help to serve and support patients with kidney cancer, their family members and caregivers. Follow Christine on Twitter @CCollinsKCC

Vice-Chair: Dr. Mona Sabharwal

Mona Sabharwal

Dr. Mona Sabharwal brings over 20 years of experience in health care, as a registered pharmacist working in both community and hospital practice, as well as program and policy development.  Dr. Sabharwal was the inaugural Executive Director of the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) where she oversaw the successful launch and operation of a new national initiative which continues to directly impact patients’ access to new cancer medications in Canada. Prior to pCODR, Dr Sabharwal was involved in drug technology assessment and formulary management for the British Columbia and Ontario governments.  Currently, Dr. Sabharwal is the Vice President of Regulatory and Industry Affairs at Rexall.

Treasurer: Andrew Taylor

Andrew Taylor

Andrew was elected to the board of directors of Kidney Cancer Canada in April 2018 serving as Treasurer. Located in the Northwest Territories, Andrew has over 10 years’ experience in financial management, more recently as the Manager of Treasury and Risk for the Northwest Territories Power Corporation. Andrew previously volunteered as a treasurer for a registered charity that provides adult learning programs for adults looking to improve their literacy. Andrew is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA), holds an MBA from Saint Mary’s University, and a BBA from the University of New Brunswick.

Secretary: Arlene Miron

Arlene Miron

Arlene joined Kidney Cancer Canada in April 2015. She works at Purdue Pharma on the Business Development team, responsible for product acquisitions and in-licensing across therapeutic areas. Prior to joining Purdue, Arlene was an Associate on the investment banking team at CIBC Capital Markets, specializing in mergers & acquisitions. Located in Toronto, she is committed to contributing to her community through providing leadership and hosting third-party fundraisers. Arlene works closely with Canada's National Ballet School co-chairing the First Position Patrons, a formal collective of young leaders focused on inspiring the next generation of supporters of the school. She holds an Honours Business and Administration degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business with distinction and has studied business at the National University of Singapore.

Director: Robert (Bob) Bick

Robert Bick

Robert Bick is a Health Policy consultant with Oxford Outcomes, an international consultancy firm specializing in health economics, epidemiology, patient-reported outcomes, and market access and reimbursement consulting. Robert works with clients to design and apply strategies to provide patients with access to newly available treatment options, therapies, technologies and medical devices.  Robert has worked extensively with health industry clients, patient advocacy groups, key opinion leaders and professional health care associations both independently, and as Vice President Public Affairs for Ward Health Strategies based in Hamilton, Ontario.  Robert also worked for 10 years in the public sector including 2 years as Executive Officer, Economic and Labour Policy in the Cabinet Office of the Ontario Government and a number of years as senior political staff to an Ontario cabinet minister.

Director: Sarah Graves

Sarah Graves

Sarah Graves was elected to the Board of Directors of Kidney Cancer Canada in April 2019.   Sarah is a partner in the Toronto office of Fasken.  Sarah has practised in the area of employment law, litigation and human rights on behalf of employers for over 20 years in the US and Canada and provides practical and strategic advice.  Sarah is a frequent speaker on all aspects of managing the employment relationship and regularly conducts training programs for clients and lawyers on topics including human rights accommodation, harassment prevention and cross-border issues.  Sarah holds a BA (international relations) from Acadia University, an LLB from Dalhousie University School of Law and an LLM from New York University School of Law.   Sarah is an adjunct faculty member at the Western University Faculty of Law.  Past board experience includes serving as Vice Chair and Chair of the Board of Governors of Bannockburn School.

Director: Dr. Anil Kapoor

Dr. Anil Kapoor

A leading uro-oncologist, Dr. Anil Kapoor is the current head of the Genito-Urinary program at the Juravinski Cancer Centre, Program Director of the McMaster University Residency Program and Surgical Director of the St. Joseph’s Hospital Transplant Program.  A prominent Canadian researcher, he is advancing kidney cancer treatment by providing real-world evidence on the effectiveness of new drugs and combination therapies. He is extensively published and is the current Co-Chair of the NCIC Kidney Cancer Disease Group. He also plays a leadership role in The Kidney Cancer Research Network of Canada and recently served as the Chair of Kidney Cancer Canada’s Medical Advisory Board.

Director: Vidya Netrakanti

Vidya Netrakanti

Vidya Netrakanti first came across Kidney Cancer Canada when her husband Srinivas was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic kidney cancer in April 2017. Sadly she lost her beloved husband in August 2017. She was the primary caregiver for her husband, and is keenly aware of the many challenges patients and caregivers face. Vidya is committed to supporting patients and caregivers and to advocating for more awareness and better treatments. She has been a volunteer with Kidney cancer Canada since October 2017 and board member since April 2019.

Vidya works as the Chief Operating Officer for Optessa Inc. a software company in Edmonton. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK and a Ph.D. from the University of Poona, Pune, India.

Director: Jocelyn Poirier

Jocelyn Poirier

Jocelyn Poirier is Executive Director of the Montréal office of Stikeman Elliott. As a member of the Management Committee, he is responsible for identifying and advising on emerging strategic and operational issues. He provides leadership and direction to all the operational, administrative and financial functions for the Montréal office, including business planning and strategy, marketing and business development, finance, technology, human resources, professional development, infrastructure, knowledge management, business processes and operations.

Prior to joining the firm, Jocelyn was president of two subsidiaries of one of Quebec’s major media companies. Before that, he was president of the principal subsidiary of a public company operating in the world of digital technology. Jocelyn also previously held the post of vice-president of strategic development at a nationwide Canadian publishing company, where he led the company’s development and acquisition activities and was responsible for strategic planning. In addition, Jocelyn held a succession of executive positions with one of Quebec’s principal telecommunications services providers. He also was a practicing lawyer for seven years at the firm, where his practice included civil and commercial law. 

He joined the Board of Kidney Cancer Canada in April 2019.

Director: Karen Ross

Karen Ross

Karen has been a volunteer Director for Kidney Cancer Canada for the Maritimes since 2008. She is responsible for patient support, community development, patient meetings and webcast hosting as well as advocating for equal access to drug treatment. She works to increase awareness of Kidney Cancer Canada as an organization and has also advocated for the need for a catastrophic drug programme in New Brunswick. Karen was caregiver for her husband David from his diagnosis of kidney cancer in August, 2000 until his passing in June, 2012. She has had 18 years of learning about and dealing with kidney cancer firsthand. Karen continues to work with Kidney Cancer Canada in the quest to create awareness about kidney cancer as a significant health issue in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and across Canada.

Director: Hélène Veilleux

Helene Veilleux

Hélène was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2009 and had a radical nephrectomy that same year. She has been monitored and treated since 2012 when she had a cancer recurrence, this time at stage 4.

It was then that she discovered Kidney Cancer Canada. She found all the essential information she needed, the support and hope through patient testimonies.

A Kidney Cancer Canada volunteer since 2016 and board member since April 2018, she hopes to help other patients in Quebec as they make their way through treatment and understanding their disease.

Hélène retired in October 2015 from the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal after 29 years of service. Her duties for the last 12+ years of her career were Detective Sergeant of the sexual aggression division.

Communications: Mona Awad

Mona Awad

Mona joined Kidney Cancer Canada in June 2013 with a solid background in management, including her role as Managing Director of the Montreal Chamber Orchestra and owning her art gallery for 12 years in the Magdalen Islands, Quebec. She was a caregiver to her friend who survived breast cancer and her involvement with Kidney Cancer Canada began when she met a kidney cancer survivor and former board member while walking their dogs. Her wish is for Kidney Cancer Canada to be in a position to reach all patients diagnosed with kidney cancer so that they feel supported and well informed.

Director of Development and Donor Relations: Gerry Backs

Gerry News Release CROP

Gerry has more than 25 years’ experience providing professional support to local, national and international charities.  He built high-performance non-profit teams and managed numerous successful fundraising campaigns all across Canada. Gerry is Certified Fundraising Executive since 1999 and in 2002 he completed a Master of Arts degree in Philanthropy and Development.  He has presented workshops nationally and internationally on a variety of research, fundraising and non-profit management topics. He also has significant volunteer experience and believes passionately in supporting volunteers in the community.

Executive Assistant: Jan Coleman

Jan Coleman

Jan brings extensive professional experience in office administration and educational programming and comes to us having spent the past ten years in the non-profit sector. Her background spans roles in office management, accounting and fundraising support. She is a 35-year leukemia survivor and 2-year breast cancer survivor. Her understanding of the patient pathways and treatment options informs her work. Her dedication and organizational skills support the continued growth at Kidney Cancer Canada.

Kidney Cancer Canada Founders

Co-Founder: Deborah Maskens, M.A., M.S.M

Deb Maskens

Deborah Maskens, is a kidney cancer patient and patient advocate. Her current roles include Vice-Chair of the International Kidney Cancer Coalition (IKCC). Along with another patient, she Co-Founded Kidney Cancer Canada and played an active role for 10 years. During this time she focused on advocacy, health technology assessment, and patient navigation.

Deb is currently a Patient Advocate on the NCI Renal Task Force. She is a also a Patient Panel member of the HTAi Patient and Citizen Involvement group ( and Co-Lead of the CanCertainty Coalition campaign of 35 cancer organizations advocating for health policy change across Canada (

In 2016, Deb was awarded the Canadian Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal, Canada’s highest award for her dedication and professionalism in patient advocacy and volunteer service.

Deb is a frequent speaker at national and international cancer meetings where she provides the patient voice perspective, along with sound advocacy knowledge and experience. 


Co-founder: Tony Clark

As a patient and founding member, Tony was Chair of Kidney Cancer Canada since its inception. During his time as Chair Tony provided overall direction to the board and oversaw the day to day management of the organization. Tony brought many years of executive experience to the organization. He held senior management positions in both Canada and the United States and was President of a consulting company focused on helping small to medium size Canadian businesses sell into the United States.

Sadly, Tony Clark passed away on April 15, 2010. His legacy remains with all of us at Kidney Cancer Canada.