Board of Directors
Jill A. Gurfinkel, Director & Co-Founder
In November 2012, after the removal of half of her thyroid, Jill was diagnosed with both Papillary carcinoma and the rare form of thyroid cancer called Hurthle Cell Carcinoma. This resulted in another surgery just five days later to remove the remaining lobe of her thyroid, and radioactive iodine treatment ("RAI") a few weeks later. Jill has had her fair share of struggles since her diagnosis, but with the benefit of groups like the Thyroid Survivor Network support groups, she has been able to get her life back and thrive! Jill hopes to use her experience in order to support others suffering from thyroid disease, and to raise awareness to create better health care for the entire thyroid community. Check out her blog for a healthy dose of positivity, laughter and inspiration! You can also read about her journey in the Huffington Post article "The 6 Injustices of Thyroid Cancer," by Jodi Meltzer.
Angela Greenwell, Co-Founder
Angela's thyroid was ablated with RAI treatment due to benign nodules in 2006. Her endocrinologist then prescribed Synthroid, which Angela took faithfully every morning trusting that the "one little pill a day" would continue her completely normal life after RAI. Not one single endo (3) ever told her she would be hypothyroid for the rest of her life. During the course of seven years following, her health declined to the point that she was experiencing a wide range of serious symptoms including suicide ideation. Angela was only recently diagnosed with Hashimoto's, some 8 years after RAI. Angela has since used her years of struggle to help raise awareness, and her goal within the thyroid community is to help as many thyroid patients as she can for as long as she is able.
Carole Lawrence-Machen, Co-Founder
Carole was diagnosed with Papillary Carcinoma ( right lobe) in December of 2005. She was originally told it was Lymphoma, and was ready for anything at that point. Her thyroid was removed, along with a total right neck dissection. Because no cancer was found in her lymph nodes, her doctor did NOT recommend RAI. She gets annual neck sonograms and WBS (whole body scan) based on a lingering hard lump in her neck. If it wasn't for support groups like the Thyroid Survivor Network groups, she would have continued on clueless about the lingering effects living without a thyroid can bring. Carole is grateful for the support she has received every single day, and hopes to support others along their journeys to wellness.
Carol Van Linda, Co-Founder
Carol had been suffering from hypothyroidism for years, and finally found someone to test more than her TSH. Carol had textbook Hashimotos disease and huge nodules which resulted in an inconclusive biopsy. Carol was told she had to have a thyroidectomy ("TT") right away. To her surprise, 9 days later, her thyroid was gone! No one ever told her a thing about what would happen after a TT other than to say it was "no big deal." After her TT, she had a raidioactive iode put in her neck as she had "suspicious cells," which is different than a treatment dose of RAI. Serveral doctors later, including numerous raises in Synthroid and 3 specialists, Carol was told she had fast moving lupus, and was told she would be in a wheelchair in 6 months and dead in 18. She was told to get her affairs in order. To her shock, after learning that some of her issues could be related to her thyroid issues, she started researching and learning that most likely she could not convert T4 properly, and her Free T3 levels were well below the bottom of the range. Carol credits groups like the Thyroid Survivor Network support groups, as well as discovering Natural Desiccated Thyroid medication, for saving her life, and she hopes to pay that forward to other thyroid disease survivors.
Erica Andrews, Co-Founder
Erica self-diagnosed her goiter during her Freshman year of college. She too faithfully took her synthroid/levoxyl for the next 20 plus years. 11 Endos in three states told her that her various symptoms were unrelated to her thyroid condition. Every six months an ultrasound would discover growth of existing nodules or new ones having developed. Due to the stress of the process, difficulty turning her head and swallowing, Erica chose to have a TT in 2013. She then discovered Natural Desiccated Thyroid and an Integrative doctor shortly after her surgery. He ran the necessary blood work and explained that she was unable to convert the T4 only meds like so many other thyroid patients. Finally something that made sense! Erica now has her life back and has energy, a mind that works, her weight gain is gone, and her anxiety at bay. Erica knows it is a process to get well, but she is truly thankful for the life she has now.
Jaime Summers, Co-Founder
Jaime was diagnosed with multi-nodal Papillary Carcinoma in both lobes in July 2013. The cancer was semi-encapsulated and since then, and she has had to have two rounds of RAI as well as the tracer dose for monitoring. Jaime also found out that she had Hashis as well when her thyroid was removed. She has conquered most of her issues thanks to support groups like the Thyroid Survivor Network support groups, and is finally feeling alive again! Jaime hopes to use her experience to continue to help other throid cancer patients, and to teach others to be their own best advocates when it comes to their health care.
Jim Falke , Co-Founder
Bio coming soon!
Julie Minear, Co-Founder
Julie has suffered from hypothyroidism since birth (behavior / physical feature & comparison with her non-hypo twin). However, she was not diagnosed until the mid 1980's. She was then given synthroid with a large goiter growing out of the right side of her neck. Many fine needle aspirations later, she was diagnosed with Papillary & Follicular thyroid cancers. She had a TT in 1991, massive neck dissection, 100 + pins added to her neck. Julie's jugular vein was removed with muscle around her clavicle. After all she has been through, Julie is grateful to be alive! She was treated with RAI twice and given T4 only meds. However, Julie's health slowly declined until 2011 when a series of events, which included support groups like the Thyroid Survivor Network groups, led her out of her constant state of hypothyroidism. Since 2011, Julie has experienced two additional cancers, which she believes were caused by too much radiation exposure. Julie is on top of her cancer, and is doing exceptionally well! She is a true survivor in every sense of the word and devotes much of her time to helping other thyroid disease survivors.
Linda Roberts Horsman, Co-Founder
After having "cold" nodules for about 5 years, Linda was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after the birth of her first child, following a TT. She then had RAI treatment, and later had another child. It has now been 10 years since her initial diagnosis and with the help of other thyroid survivors in groups like the Thyroid Survivor Network groups, as well as learning about alternative therapies for replacement hormones, Linda has her life back. Linda also hopes to use her experience to help raise awareness and support fellow thyroid disease survivors on their journey to wellness.
Liz Baxley, Co-Founder
Liz was diagnosed with Graves disease after a decade of complaining of problems swallowing, goiter, eye changes, and sleep apnea. She developed an allergy to all prescription anti-thyroid medications and only found relief after taking Lugol's iodine before having a total thyroidectomy. Her health continued to deteriorate for the next 6 years under the care of 11 different endocrinologists and trying 11 different dosages and 5 different brands of synthetic levothyroxine. Once she was finally able to try Cytomel and natural dessicated thyroid, she no longer needed pain meds, anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications that she was taking for fibromyalgia and a variety of autoimmune disorders she has, including systemic lupus. Because of her sucess with NDT and T3, Liz has become an advocate trying to raise awareness about the different treatment options available to patients, as well as the need for tests other than TSH. Liz hopes her experience will help others achieve wellness.
Michelle Banks, Co-Founder
Michelle was diagnosed with multi-nodal Papillary Carcinoma in July 2014, right after surgery. She then had RAI treatment in October of 2014. While Michelle is still struggling with a few issues, she feels 200% better since finding groups like the Thyroid Survivor Network support groups, which have supported her throughout her recovery. Michelle is devoted to helping other thyroid disease survivors and hopes that her experience will help others get their lives back.