Our Board

Debra Wooding, Board Member

Debra Wooding


Portfolio Manager and Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy

"I got involved as a sponsor for Fashion with Compassion and never looked back. One of my Aunts is a survivor and another one lost the fight. These women are somebody’s sister, a daughter, they are our neighbors. It could be any of us. Being able to derive comfort and strength from the group, to share our fears, worries and struggles is important. This is a disease where women need to stand together and fight."

Curtis M. Palichuk, FCA

Vice President & Treasurer

Managing Partner, Wilde & Company Chartered Accountants in Vegreville

"Cancer takes a devastating toll on families. When my father-in-law was dying of cancer we moved back to our Vegreville farm and I know my children cherished that time with their Grandfather. And with my work family, a thirty year accounting manager was blessed to live her final days inside Sorrentino’s Compassion House. Their battles inspire me to share my financial, governance and leadership expertise to grow this incredible organization."

Brenda Lee Kissel, Board Member

Brenda Lee Kissel


Retired Teacher

"I watched friends, colleagues and family fight breast cancer and then in 2003 I got that call from my doctor. As a rural woman I needed a place like Sorrentino’s Compassion House, a place to rest and recover in comfort. I bring that experience and my sense of humour to the job. It might be just a “little thing” we do but it means everything to me."

Sterling Derk

Board Member

Vice President of Operations, Derks Fine Group of Companies

"The most beautiful people I know have faced defeat, struggle, and loss but somehow found their way through those obstacles. That kind of hope is what inspired Sorrentino’s Compassion House and it still drives us forward. We have something very special here, and I’m going to fight to make sure we have the right support to reach even further as we share that vision of survival."

Jackie Fox

Board Member

Owner, Women with Vision Opticians

"Cancer has touched my life both personally and professionally. I lost both my grandmothers to breast cancer. Our store was built on the strength of women who have been challenged with life threatening illness. For many years I have participated in the signature event Fashion with Compassion as a creative contributor and sponsor. Now as a board member I can use my skills of connecting the right ideas, people and solutions to make a difference in the women we serve."

Laura R. Freeman, Board Member

Laura R. Freeman

Board Member

Partner, CBM Lawyers

"Watching my mother, mother-in-law, aunt and grandfather on their rollercoaster cancer journeys inspired me to get involved. I can’t even imagine the extra stress of having to leave your home, your friends and your family when going through treatment. It is an honour to help take that stress out of the equation. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we pull together to help people."

Sandra Z. Huculak, Board Member

Sandra Z. Huculak

Board Member

Community Investment, ATB

"I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and I went through chemo, radiation and six surgeries to get here. Cancer doesn’t respect your boundaries. That diagnosis can bring your world to a complete stop. That sudden jolt rocks your very core. Being able to wrap your arms around a vulnerable and frightened woman is a tremendous offering. I don’t take that responsibility lightly."

Carmelo Rago Jr.

Board Member

Operations Manager, Sorrentino's Restaurant Group

"Having a chance to help someone in need isn’t a burden, it’s a privilege. My family showed me how important it is to be involved in our community and I’m proud to continue their legacy. As a young man I’ve unfortunately known many who lost the fight with cancer, but I’m also fortunate to have been inspired by many survivors.  I hope my work with Compassion House Foundation encourages young people to step up, get involved and share their talents."

Zahra Somani

Board Member

Partner/Owner Pirani Group

"Cancer has touched all of us, me included. People very close to me have been diagnosed with cancer which has deeply affected my life. I’m passionate about helping others by creating awareness and support for the great women who stay at Sorrentino's Compassion House. By coming together we can have a profound impact on the people who need us at their most vulnerable moments."

Mark Ward

Board Member

CEO, Syncrude Canada Ltd.

"My life has been substantially touched by cancer, losing my mom to brain cancer at 54, my father to leukemia at 61, and my sister to skin cancer at 53, so volunteering  my time in a way helps me honour the memory of my late family. As a board member I bring over 35 years of business leadership, along with a commitment to giving back to our community and the families of Syncrude who may need a comfortable, safe and welcoming environment to stay in a very difficult time."

Dr. William (Bill) Hnydyk

Board Member

Retired Physician

"Many members of my family have been touched by cancer. I personally undergo regular cancer screening because of my family’s cancer history. As a rural physician trained in palliative care, I’ve witnessed the challenges of women receiving timely diagnosis and treatment. And let’s not forget the psychological suffering. It is comforting to know that Sorrentino’s Compassion House provides a place of strength and comfort, critical elements in holistic cancer care."

Sharon M. Mallon

Board Member

Speaker/Author/Retired Broadcaster

"The idea of self care is often foreign to women, especially women in the country. In rural Alberta, there simply aren't as many amenities as there are in a city. Having grown up on a farm, and spending my entire working career in broadcasting, I believe I can use my media skills to help educate women in outlying communities about Sorrentino’s Compassion House. Having lost both my parents to cancer and receiving incredible support from volunteers during their battles, it important to give back by making a commitment as a board member to this amazing cause."

Carly Rigler

Board Member

Director, Practical Experience, CPA

"So many wonderful people that I know and love have been affected by cancer. When I visit Sorrentino’s Compassion House I can instantly see the sense of community and acceptance that is alive within the walls. As a board member, if I can help ease the burden these women face in any way, it is worthwhile."