Each ACPMP staff member has been directly affected by appendix cancer and/or PMP.

Deborah Shelton
Executive Director

Deborah M. Shelton is an FDA regulatory attorney at a national law firm. Deborah has over 20 years of experience providing legal counsel to clients navigating the complex regulations governing the testing and commercialization of FDA-regulated products, with a particular focus on pharmaceuticals and medical devices.  She is an honors graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law, a frequent presenter at FDA-related conferences and has authored numerous publications on various topics of interest in the regulatory sphere.

Ms. Shelton’s spouse is a survivor of PMP.  For several years prior to her spouse being diagnosed, Deborah had been actively engaged in patient advocacy and issues involving the need to incentivize innovation for the development of therapies to treat cancers and other diseases where there is critical unmet medical need.  Her spouse’s subsequent diagnosis with ACPMP and their collective personal experience with the numerous challenges presented following that diagnosis has further fueled Deborah’s zeal for that work, taking the fight now to both a professional and personal level.

Ms. Shelton lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her spouse, Ms. Shelton’s 81-year “young” mother, and their two rescue dogs.  In her spare time, she loves exploring salt marshes by kayak and reading Nordic detective novels.

Click here to see Deborah's video for Giving Tuesday

Lauren Smith
Senior Manager of Development and Communications

Lauren graduated from Merrimack College in Massachusetts with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media. Lauren was diagnosed with low grade mucinous neoplasm of the appendix in May, 2017. She continues to be scanned annually and celebrated 5 years NED in 2022.

Having received her diagnosis early and at a young age, Lauren feels lucky and aims to continue to educate, raise funds, and promote awareness for appendix cancer and pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). Lauren is passionate about providing education and resources to patients and healthcare professionals. Lauren enjoys supporting ACPMP fundraising efforts, digital media marketing, and donor relationships for continued successful research funding and awareness.

Lauren currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

Click here to see Lauren's video for Giving Tuesday

Susan Ortega
IT Director

Susan Ortega spent over ten years in the telecommunications industry in Information Technology. She worked on the local number portability project at XO Communications, and the wireless number portability project at Nextel.

Ms. Ortega was diagnosed with pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) in August, 2009 and had surgery with Dr. Sugarbaker in January, 2010. Susan is fully recovered from the surgery and is in excellent health.

Susan lives in northern Virginia with her husband and their two children.

Click here to see Susan's video for Giving Tuesday

Heather Rye-Ronshaugen

Heather Rye-Ronshaugen
Staff Assistant

Heather spent 15 years in healthcare as a Radiologic Technologist and holds a B.S. degree in Radiation Science. She cared for patients in multiple modalities including Diagnostic Radiology, CT, and MRI.

Heather was diagnosed with pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP) in 2014 and values every opportunity to raise awareness and promote education for ACPMP.

Heather currently lives in Dell Rapids, South Dakota with her husband and three children.

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