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

Karolyn Lewandowski
Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel

Karolyn Lewandowski began volunteering for the ACPMP Research Foundation upon the organization’s formation in 2008 following her husband’s diagnosis of appendix cancer and pseudomyxoma peritonei in late 2007.  After ten years with ACPMP in a volunteer role, Karolyn became the Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel of the Foundation in 2018.

Karolyn holds a BA in communications from Miami University and a JD from Catholic University.  Prior to taking on a formal role at ACPMP, Karolyn practiced corporate real estate law in the Washington, DC area for ten years.

Karolyn lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband and two children.

Click here to see Karolyn's video for Giving Tuesday

Lauren Smith
Development & Communications Manager

Lauren is a 2018 graduate from Merrimack College in Massachusetts where she received her BA in communication studies. She gained professional work experience through internships at a family and divorce law office and at Easter Seals NH.

Lauren was diagnosed with low grade mucinous neoplasm of the appendix in May of 2017. She will continue to be scanned annually.

Having received her diagnosis early and at a young age, Lauren feels lucky and wants to continue to educate, raise funds, and promote awareness towards ACPMP for those who are still fighting or who may have courageously lost their battle to this rare disease.

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 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 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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