We write today to share with you that Karolyn Lewandowski, ACPMP’s Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, is transitioning from her role with ACPMP after serving our community for nearly 14 years. Karolyn 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 (PMP) in late 2007. After 10 years with ACPMP in a significant volunteer role, Karolyn became the Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel of the Foundation in 2018.
Prior to taking on a formal role at ACPMP, Karolyn practiced corporate real estate law in the Washington, DC area for 10 years. Karolyn was the guiding light behind much of the organization’s growth and many of its achievements. Karolyn was instrumental in:
- Driving many of the initiatives and goals ACPMP has achieved, such as establishing the research grant program that has awarded over $1.3 million in grants since 2009.
- Planning, executing and attending numerous in-person and virtual educational events along with moderating multiple online community support groups to better educate, inform and provide resources to our patient and medical community.
- Providing valuable resources to our website, such as ACPMP’s specialist map tool, new patient guide, and creating and maintaining a repository of applicable research articles.
- Cultivating meaningful connections with many appendix cancer researchers and specialists as well as organizations such as the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD), MyPART Network, WFORCE (Wake Forest), among many others, to obtain experiences, guidance, and perspective of potential benefit to ACPMP and the community we serve.
- Recognizing the need for a patient registry and working alongside NORD through its IAMRARE platform. Karolyn was an instrumental part of drafting the registry and integrating it into NORD’s platform. Soon to launch, the data collected from the registry will provide a valuable resource to continue to move research for appendix cancer and PMP therapies forward.
Karolyn provided tremendous leadership, mentoring, and inspiration to the staff where she encouraged the achievement of many goals and gave them the tools to develop new skills to grow and learn. Karolyn encouraged staff to seek out new opportunities, allowed them the opportunities to foster their creativity and was always available and responsive.
Karolyn was always thinking ahead and outside the box and made sure no details were overlooked. Among the many hats she wore during her time with ACPMP, she was also often spearheading the recruitment of new Board members, staff and volunteers. Karolyn has been a valuable resource and has made a difference in many patients’ and caregivers’ lives. Her passion and dedication to the ACPMP community is invaluable and we are grateful for her 14 years of service. Karolyn will be greatly missed by all of us at ACPMP and we know that her impact and bright light will continue to shine for years to come. Thank you, Karolyn!
“Karolyn started out as a girlfriend thrown into the unknown world of appendix cancer just wanting to find a way to help her boyfriend, then turned into a wife who has been an unbelievable asset to the ACPMP Research Foundation. Her dedication to the Foundation for the past 14 years while raising 2 children, working full-time and being a caregiver to her husband Jerry has made the Foundation what it is today. Karolyn was the pioneer of finding the latest resources for patients such as clinical trials, tissue donations, genetic testing – many of which have helped prolong the life of appendix cancer patients. Symposiums were then started to educate the medical community on appendix cancer which became a full time job in itself and Karolyn somehow found the time for that also. Her knowledge, hard work and guidance to the appendix cancer community via the [ACPMP] Research Foundation have impacted so many lives over the years and we will be forever grateful to her. Thank you, Karolyn, enjoy spending more time for yourself and with your loved ones, you surely deserve it. -Judy Culbertson”
“When I reached out to Karolyn to volunteer with the [ACPMP] Research Foundation after the death of my husband, she welcomed me with open arms. Karolyn was a great mentor and I found her to be open in sharing information relevant to the role and eventually roles that I took on as a volunteer Board member. I was a novice and I learned so much! I know personally, Karolyn, that you put a lot of time and energy into the organization from its onset often in the background while you were busy raising a family, and also working outside the home. It can be overwhelming at best but the contributions, ideas, and foresight to bring people into the fold, like Susan with her talents in IT and Deborah for her talents with research and knowledge, the organizations main mission, you put together a team of amazing volunteers and that is not an easy task and you always smiled with the “let’s get it done” attitude. All of this work done as a volunteer! Karolyn, you deserve great recognition for your hard work, dedication and knowledge of this disease to move ACPMP forward, especially in these last few years. Patients are better served because many of these ideas came directly from you … well done, my friend. Enjoy your next chapter! All my best, Therese Surges”
“Karolyn Lewandowski has been a critical volunteer of the ACPMP Research Foundation from inception to her recent resignation spanning nearly 14 years. Throughout that time period, she has advanced the mission of the Foundation and served both the patient community and the medical specialist community through her hard work and dedication. Her contributions have been instrumental in growing the organization from a small, grass-roots non-profit to ACPMP’s current status; providing support through medical research grants, educational awards and scholarships, and as an overall resource to the appendix cancer patient community. Karolyn has always done whatever was necessary to support ACPMP, from manning a table at a symposium to attending fundraising events often alongside her husband, Jerry, and their children Most recently, over the last 3.5 years as COO and General Counsel, she was able to contribute and initiate new programs and greatly support our staff. Karolyn’s mission (along with all other members of ACPMP) has always been a personal mission from the heart. Karolyn has positioned the ACPMP Research Foundation for continued growth and success and her countless hours of work are greatly appreciated. -Jim Carroll”
“I can’t overstate the level of gratitude and admiration I have for the work that Karolyn has done for all of us in the appendix cancer and PMP community. Patients, caregivers, doctors, researchers – all have felt the impact of Karolyn’s dedication to educate, to push forward and do new things, and to improve the state of knowledge, research and treatment related to appendix cancer and PMP. ACPMP truly wouldn’t be where we are today without her efforts. Karolyn’s level of care for those affected by appendix cancer/PMP and her passion to make progress have inspired me and many others, and we will draw from that inspiration and do our best to continue the good work. – Jerry Lewandowski”
“Karolyn was a huge inspiration to me during my journey with appendix cancer/PMP which motivated me to volunteer with ACPMP RF. After my recovery from CRS and HIPEC in 2010, I joined the Foundation as a Board and staff member and I got to work with Karolyn on many initiatives. I was always amazed with her ability to come up with new ideas that would benefit the AC/PMP community. She was always thinking ahead and made sure no details were missed. I am in awe of how much we’ve accomplished and I know that we couldn’t have achieved as much without her. Her passion and leadership has made my time with ACPMP extremely rewarding and fun. Her guiding light will be missed but I am excited for her to focus on her next adventure. I cannot thank her enough for all she’s done to make ACPMP the amazing organization that it is. – Susan Ortega”