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Who We Are

Mission and Vision

Mission: Compassion House Foundation supports women who must leave their homes for cancer care.

Vision: Compassion House Foundation strives to ease the distress of the cancer journey for women.

Values: Compassion, Community, Respect, Sustainability, Understanding, Excellence

At Compassion House Foundation, we have a vision to create a sanctuary of healing support. We make it our mission to support women fighting cancer by providing safe, comfortable and affordable accommodations during their cancer journey and delivering much needed programs and services post-treatment.

History

In 1996, the first Fashion with Compassion hits the runway to raise funds for breast cancer. The event later becomes the catalyst to build Sorrentino’s Compassion House. Community leaders found Compassion House Foundation in 1998 and incorporate as a non-profit society in 1999 with the mission to give sanctuary to breast cancer patients.

In 2001, the Foundation launches the Key to Compassion Campaign to raise funds for the original house, and construction begins until 2002. The original house opens with five guest suites. The house is named Sorrentino’s Compassion House in recognition of the leadership support of the Rago and Saccomanno families and their Sorrentino’s group of companies.

The Foundation launches a new capital campaign, Growing Compassion, to support a much-needed expansion in 2010. The campaign raises an amazing $5 million in two years. In 2012, construction begins to increase capacity to 15 suites, expand the kitchen, renovate common areas and install an elevator. The beautifully redesigned Sorrentino’s Compassion House reopens to guests, including women fighting any type of cancer, in 2013.

In 2015, the Foundation launches the Beyond our Four Walls Campaign to keep former guests connected by broadening our reach and expanding opportunities for guests. Today, the Foundation operates 16 suites at Sorrentino’s Compassion House, as well as offer post-treatment programs and services.

Our Staff

It takes hands; it takes hearts.

Michelle Okere

Chief Executive Officer

Michelle oversees Compassion House Foundation and Sorrentino's Compassion House.

Sayler Reins

Guest and House Services Manager

Sayler supervises the Guest and House Services team who support guests during their stay and ensure the house is well maintained.

Kerry Mahood

Finance and Operations Manager

Kerry manages the financial aspects of Compassion House Foundation, as well as the operations of Sorrentino’s Compassion House.

Nancy Burns

Program and Events Manager

Nancy oversees Fashion with Compassion, Walk Her Way 5K, We Can Workshops, Inspiring Speakers Series, and Compassion Network.

Pamela Di Pinto

Communications Manager

Pamela manages Compassion House Foundation's brand, digital and print communications, and media relations, with a special focus on fundraising.

Evan Lawlor

Manager, Strategic Partnerships

Evan engages and stewards our donors, cultivates new relationships, researches grants/partnership opportunities, and manages our database.

Our Board

First, a strong foundation.

Karissa Anderson

Founder & CEO - AM/FM Inc.

Like most people, I have unfortunately witnessed and tried to support family and friends with their cancer journey. I am honoured to be able to play an active role as a board member of an organization that I genuinely believe in—utilizing my marketing and communication skills for the Compassion House Foundation as well as getting support from my network of young professionals for volunteering and fundraising.

Joni Brodziak

Executive Director, Policy, Practice and Program Development at the Ministry of Children's Services

In 2014 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I have many people dear to me who have also been impacted by a diagnosis. It’s scary, but with a community and a network always there to help – I had many blessings. I initially became a guest of Sorrentino’s Compassion House for the convenience, but stayed because of the people – guests and staff alike. Having worked in social services for over 26 years I understand the critical importance of connection to overall well-being. I’m grateful for the support and humbling experience of feeling like a woman amongst other women – none of whom was completely defined by cancer and I want to pay it forward in any way I can.

Ashley Bodnarchuk

Partner, Wilde & Company Chartered Professional Accountants

As a rural Albertan, I see firsthand how important accommodation like Sorrentino’s Compassion House is to women in our province. Cancer has impacted so many, including some of the strongest, most empowering women I know. Personally, I’ll never forget the comfort the House provided our long-time family friend throughout her final days. The women in the House have inspired me to apply my knowledge of financial systems and innovative business solutions to maximize the future growth of this amazing organization.

Kevin Kozak

Vice President + Partner - Connor, Clark and Lunn

Having witnessed family and friends battle cancer I feel that no one should face this challenge alone. When I learned of Sorrentino’s Compassion House a number of years ago, I was pleased to hear they provided a safe and supportive place for women during their cancer journey. As a board member I plan to support and promote this extraordinary organization as it continues to evolve.

Dr. William (Bill) Hnydyk

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.

Marc Arnal

Photo and bio coming soon!

Chandra Devam

Photo and bio coming soon!

Shirley Hunter

Photo and bio coming soon!

leva Kimonte

CEO, Reinventures INC

I’ve lost several family members to cancer in the last 10 years. The impact on my family and myself has influenced my view on life and the value of its quality. ‘Contribution’ and ‘impact’ are strong keywords in my approach to involvement and sense of mission, guiding me in every aspect of my life, including professional activities. My strengths include strategic thinking, entrepreneurial approach, and the ability to operate in ambiguous and challenging environments. To provide strength and comfort to Alberta women during the most challenging times of their lives mean supporting the community because many of these women rise to pay it forward and support others with their time and life energy.

Cathy Kiss

Principal, Crown Strategic Consulting

Over the years, I’ve lost both family and friends to cancer, including my mother at a young age. It’s a devastating disease, but it’s comforting knowing there are organizations like Compassion House Foundation that make the struggle a little easier, with women and caregivers who understand the innate struggles of cancer and can provide relief when it’s needed most. I want to support the Foundation with my governance, communications, advocacy, and community-building skills. Cancer must and will be beaten, and as women, we must do everything we can to support each other. It’s humbling to be part of an organization striving to build a bridge between diagnosis and recovery.

Barry Reid

Department Head Manager, Turn Around & Majors - Syncrude Canada

I’ve witnessed my mom battle breast cancer and have seen the impact on her and our family. Sorrentino’s Compassion House is an organization which not only offers a place to stay during treatment, but provides patients a sense of home. This type of care makes all the difference. As a resident of Fort McMurray, I saw the outpouring of support our community received during the 2016 wildfire. Having experienced an event like that, I’m proud to be able to support an organization that takes care of those from remote regions.

Sundas Shamshad

Photo and bio coming soon!

Debra Tumbach

Nursing and Law

I am fortunate to have navigated my own cancer journey in the comfort of my own home with support of family and friends and easy access to medical services. But for so many others this is not the case. I now have the opportunity to utilize my skills, particularly in governance, policy development and strategic planning to help ensure that as many individuals as possible can benefit from this amazing organization.

Support Women Battling Cancer

Need to book by phone?
780-425-7224 or 1-888-425-7474