yes board member - deb hanna

DEBORAH HANNA

Founder

Deborah Hanna is one of the founding members of YES! She is armed with passion to support and advocate for families affected by young onset dementia.

The development of programs for education and support for families of YES! is Deborah’s heartbeat. With a BS in Psychology and MA in Therapeutic Education, Deborah completed her Specialist in Aging post graduate degree from McDaniel College. She completed Clinical Spiritual Support Training at GBMC and Hospice certification in both direct patient care and bereavement training. A transition in career from early childhood to gerontology was triggered when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 17 years ago.

Deborah is a facilitator for the early stage, young onset memory loss support group at the Alzheimer’s Association. She provides a bi-monthly educational presentation series on topics of dementia, is co-founder of Pretty Awesome Ladies (PALS), a social group for caregivers, and has been a panelist speaker at various Maryland Alzheimer’s conferences. She is currently employed as the Director of National Patient Advocacy at Clinical Support Services (CSSi), and supports enrollment for clinical trials, including Alzheimer’s disease research. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and making memories with her five grandchildren.

SHANNON HAMMOND

President

Shannon L. Hammond, Esq., is a founding member and current President of YES!, Inc., and contributes extensive professional and personal experience with young onset dementia to our mission.

Shannon has dedicated her legal career exclusively to the practice of Medicaid and estate planning. She is deeply committed to assisting clients in greatest need and zealously advocates for those with diminished capacity. She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the Coalition of Geriatric Services (COGS), the Senior Provider Information Network (SPIN), and the Elder Law and Estates and Trusts Sections of the Maryland State Bar Association. She was named a Maryland Super Lawyers Rising Star in the field of Elder Law in 2013-2015, 2019, and 2020, as published by Baltimore Magazine.

Shannon is a frequent lecturer on legal issues involving Medicaid, estate planning, and probate. She has taught “Strategic Planning for Aging and Asset Protection,” at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland Renaissance Institute and “Legal Issues and the Elderly,” at the Johns Hopkins University Odyssey Program.

She presently serves as a Member of the Peer Review Committee, appointed by the Attorney Grievance Commission; a Member of the Carroll County Adult Public Guardianship Review Board; a Member of the Board of Directors for the Glen Meadows Foundation. Shannon previously served on the Board of Directors for the Maryland non-profit organization By Their Side, which advocates for developmentally disabled Marylanders and their families.

Personally, Shannon is the primary caregiver for her mother who was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia at age 61 and who moved in with Shannon, her husband, and her two young children in 2017.

LINDA BAUMLER

Treasurer

Linda Baumler, EA, MBA, is the Treasurer of YES!, but more importantly, the widow of Robert, who died from complications of Lewy Body Dementia in 2018 when he was 63 years old. Linda met Deb Hanna two months before Robert’s death and was invited to join a PALS (Pretty Awesome Ladies) support group for a much needed chance to meet others in a similar situation. Once involved with PALS she enjoyed connecting monthly for an evening of relaxation and break away from the stress of caregiving.

Linda began her accounting/tax practice in order to be home with her children after working as a financial planning analyst. This decision ultimately allowed Linda to be able to care for Robert during the twenty years he suffered from neurological disease. Initially diagnosed with cerebellar ataxia in his early forties, Robert suffered from REM sleep disorder, anger and personality changes, and gradual memory and executive function issues that were ascribed to his ataxia disorder. It was not until hallucinations and psychosis began 15 years later, that they finally learned he had Lewy body dementia. The emotional and financial effects of the illness, coupled with a lack of diagnosis, created a tremendous strain on their young children and both Linda and Robert.

Linda recently semi-retired to Florida to obtain physical and psychological healing from the stress of twenty years of living with early onset dementia. She is committed to helping others deal with this dreadful disease and to educate and inform families, as well as the medical community, of the early signs of the illness and of strategies that work best with those who suffer from dementia.

EVIE VANDER MEER

Secretary

Evie Vander Meer is a founding member and secretary of YES! Inc. She is an advocate for legislation that advances young onset dementia training, education, and support for families. She is a member of the Maryland Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Council that is responsible for Maryland’s dementia strategic plan.

Evie’s drive for Alzheimer’s disease support and research funding began when her beloved husband, Mark was diagnosed with the disease at age 61. A highly regarded pastoral minister, Mark became depressed in his late 50s as his executive functioning skills steadily declined. He resigned his position in 2014, unable to perform his responsibilities, and died in December 2018. He was 65 years old.

The local Frederick Magazine in Maryland captured the heartbreaking but inspiring story of their journey through young onset dementia.

Evie equipped herself for her role as a dementia caregiving wife by immersing herself in educational and support forums of Alzheimer’s disease. She and Mark tapped into the local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and began saying, “Yes!”

Yes, we will be members of a panel. Yes, we will fundraise and walk to end Alzheimer’s. Yes, we will share our story with legislators. Yes, we will participate in a clinical trial. Yes, we will interview with news media. Yes, we will persist in our social life and be open with our journey. Yes, we will seek God and ask others to take the spiritual walk of faith and prayer with us.

Now Evie is shifting her energy and passion to the support and education of others who enter into this unwelcomed space. Evie lives out of an attitude of faith and promise that life and love rises out of the ashes of disease and anticipatory grief as we receive hope and support through our fellow journeyers.

LISA GORETSAS

Chair of Internal Committee

Lisa is a partner and financial advisor with Kairos Wealth Advisors of Raymond James. She has witnessed the financial impact a family may go through with the diagnosis and treatment of a disease such as young onset dementia. As part of the financial plans Lisa develops, she reviews the probability and costs of a long term care event, as well as options to protect a client’s net worth should one’s capacity diminish.

She has earned the Accredited Asset Management SpecialistSM and Registered ParaplannerSM designations through the College for Financial Planning in Denver, CO. She is licensed in life, health, and long term care insurance, and holds the Series 7, 9, 10 and 66 registrations.

Outside of her profession, Lisa is Secretary and Treasurer of her husband’s contracting business, Evergreen Builders, Inc. Her personal interests include spending time with family and friends, hiking, gardening, and kayaking.

PAUL SORENSON

Chair of External Committee

Paul Sorenson serves on the board of YES and heads up the external relations committee!

Paul is a Financial Planner with Puckett and Sturgill Financial Group in Westminster, MD. Paul graduated with a BS from Manchester University and completed the Certified Financial Planning program at George Mason University.

Through his experience helping clients and their families on a daily basis Paul knows all too well the impact not having the proper knowledge or resources available when needs arise like those experienced with Young Onset Dementia. Paul enjoys lending his unique skills and perspective to YES! with the goal of helping those individuals and families dealing with Young Onset Dementia get access to the help and resources they need to deal with the challenges being faced.

In his professional life Paul specializes in working with busy professionals, individuals, and families to help them navigate a host of complex financial needs while pursuing their goals so they may work toward growing their financial resources over time. Paul is especially passionate and skilled in working with medical professionals and individuals starting out on their financial path.

Paul, his wife Emma and their two sons reside in Carroll County on their third generation family farm. Paul enjoys spending his free time attending live music events with friends, traveling to the lake with family and is an avid outdoorsman and collegiate wrestling fan.

JILL HORN

 

Jill Horn is a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) currently working for Carroll Hospice helping children, teens and young adults navigate their anticipatory grief and grieving journeys associated with the loss of their loved one. She has 19 years of experience working in the field of Child Life with families who are managing a variety of chronic illnesses including Alzheimer’s and dementia related conditions. She hopes to be a good resource for the YES! organization and the young onset dementia (YOD) community. She welcomes families to contact her for advisement on how to help children, teens and young adults understand and how to cope with the many challenges that a YOD diagnosis can bring into the family system.

Jill enjoys being outdoors when walking, biking or hiking. Time with family is a priority, she appreciates the sunshine and especially relaxing on the beach.

LYNDA LOCKARD

 

Lynda Lockard learned first-hand the importance of meeting with a support group of women who were caring for their husbands diagnosed with young onset dementia. The strength and encouragement shared between these women lead to Lynda’s role in co-founding the launch of PALS (Pretty Awesome Ladies) and Little PALS, both support groups for women whose husbands or partners have or had dementia. She truly cares for people who are dealing with family members or friends who have dementia. As a member of Yes! Program Committee, Lynda has another avenue to expand her dedication.

With a degree in education from Frostburg State College Lynda became an elementary school teacher. Her career focus changed when she worked as an administrative assistant at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ for 21 years. Lynda has a deep history of being a difference-maker in the Westminster, MD community. She is a part of the Greater Federation Woman’s Club of Westminster, the Delta Kappa Gamma honor society of women educators, United Methodist Women at Westminster United Methodist Church, and several other local groups.

Her husband, Brian, was diagnosed with Young Onset Alzheimer’s when he was 65 years old. At first Brian realized that something wasn’t right as he experienced memory gaps. Soon he became increasingly challenged in his activities of daily living. Lynda added the role of a primary caregiver to their relationship. It meant the world to Lynda as their many family and friends were generous in their support and care. It is this experience that inspires Lynda’s outreach to others.

Brian lived in Carroll County his entire life. He achieved a PhD in education and served his community as a revered educator for 43 years. Brian became Superintendent of Carroll County Public Schools. He was a professor of education and coordinator of the graduate program at Western Maryland / McDaniel College.

Brian and Lynda were married for 52 years. Both their daughter and son work in the field of education. They have 4 grandchildren who love and miss their Pop-Pop very much.

JUDY MARSIGLIA

 

Judy Marsiglia is a founding member of YES! Inc. and an advocate for Alzheimer’s disease.  She had a stellar career of 41 years as an RN at Carroll Hospital in MD.  Judy and her husband enjoyed raising their blended family and completing bucket list travel. Judy began noticing unusual changes in her husband. He was becoming forgetful, misplacing things, and his temper become short. After a going to a series of medical specialists Ron was diagnosed with frontal lobe Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. His decline was slow the first 5 years but as it progressed Judy had lots of questions and nowhere to go for answers. Meeting with other women who were also caring for their spouses was a lifeline she desperately needed. Judy was relieved to be on this journey with others who understood what she was experiencing and would help her through the many heart breaking challenges. Like many others she experienced fear of being judged, guilt for moving her husband to residential care, and alone in her complex feelings.

Judy recognizes the need to broaden the reach of support and educational services for families living out the arduous journey with young onset dementia. She is is now on the front lines of moving YES!, forward. Judy has been there, is ready to help, support and care for ALL ages of families caring for a young onset dementia family member.

ERIN MILLIGEN

 

Erin Milligen, an ambitious and gregarious young adult, was eager to find her niche in the world of eager youthfulness and independence. She had just planned a year off from college when her trajectory was profoundly impacted by the diagnosis of young onset Alzheimer’s disease given to her 52 yr. old mother, Nancy.

Erin is one of those incredible self-taught women. When faced with a challenge she takes action. Already generous in her outlook toward others, Erin sees a gap and goes into problem solving mode to address the perceived needs. So it’s not surprising that Erin moved in to her parent’s home to care for her mom for 3 years. Returning the care and love she had received from her mother was her natural response. Erin and her mom put their groove on and had fun during their days together.

Erin has a unique ability to rally people for a cause. Adam Jones, a well known player for Baltimore Orioles and his wife, were inspired to hold a fundraiser at their personal home after meeting Erin. The funds went to Erin’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s team, a fundraising event of Alzheimer’s Association.

As a member of the YES! Board, Erin is emboldened by her experience to reach other young adults who are impacted by their parent’s diagnosis of young onset dementia. In her usual style she will listen to their stories, find the gaps and move into action.

PAULA MONROE-DAVIDSON

 

For thirty years Paula Monroe-Davidson, member of the YES! Board, has been an integral contributor to education in public and private schools. Her expertise in writing has allowed her to contribute to every grade level through higher education in Georgia and Maryland.

Paula volunteered and served on many non-profit boards in her community in MD. She directed her leadership skills to developing solutions where needs of all ages were under-served, such as scarcity of food, advocacy for foster children in the court system, literacy in prisons, and education for GED diplomas.

Then came her husband’s Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. As an influential woman accustomed to delving into solutions, she began to apply those same skills to her personal life as wife and caregiver. There were many questions, physical, mental, and emotional strain, and barriers in addressing the complex, changing needs of her husband and herself as a dedicated wife and caregiver.

As Paula and Ken followed a 10-year course of decline during this grueling disease, a friend introduced her to a support network of women who shared her experiences. Because of this sisterhood, she realized the acute need for support among the families confronted by young onset dementia. Paula will continue to be courageous and skillful as she brings her resources and experiences to YES!, Inc. proving valued resources to all who come seeking.

DAWN O’MEALLY

 

Dawn O’Meally, MSW, LCSW-C is a mental health professional that has been practicing as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 1988.  Dawn had worked in a variety of outpatient settings, including Sheppard Pratt Hospital, until deciding to go into private practice in 2004.  While at Sheppard Pratt, Dawn ran a multidisciplinary Geriatric Services Team which provided in-home psychiatric care to at risk older adults. In recent years, Dawn collaborated with Copper Ridge psychiatrists and received many referrals of patients with early Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.  Approximately 6 years ago, Dawn experienced the personal family tragedy of witnessing own her mother-in -law’s demise from Alzheimer’s Disease.  Dawn’s professional and personal experiences with Alzheimer’s disease gave birth to her and her husband, Edmund J. O’Meally, hosting The Forget Me Not Gala fundraiser to benefit The Alzheimer’s Association of Central Maryland.  This gala was held on May 19, 2019 at Antrim 1844 in Taneytown, MD, and raised $35,000.  Those funds were all donated for Alzheimer’s Disease Research.  In January 2020, Dawn was asked to join in the groundbreaking development of YES!, and serves as a member of the Board and on the Program Development Committee.  Dawn is wholeheartedly committed to the YES! mission in creating much needed resources and programs to help afflicted individuals, their families, and the medical community deal with early onset dementias.