Out of Pain, Purpose.

How One Grandfather’s Journey Powers our Mission.

Bridge To A Cure Foundation

Bridge To A Cure Foundation Founder and President Robert (Bob) Martin understands the flaws in our healthcare system. He knows why cancer research is failing our children — so much so that just three new childhood cancer treatments have been developed in the past 40 years. His granddaughter, Clara, was stricken with a form of brain cancer at just 4 years old. In seeking a cure for her, he uncovered several serious shortfalls in America’s approach to childhood cancer research and treatment.

Bob collected insights from more than 120 cancer researchers and practitioners to learn what’s behind the absence of breakthroughs to cures: the absence of a national childhood cancer database, a clinical trial process designed for children, and appropriate funding.

Sadly, Clara passed away from the disease in 2017 at age six. Her courage and positive spirit continue to inspire Bob’s unique, multifaceted approach to accelerate the pace and success of cures for hundreds of thousands who suffer from childhood cancer. In 2017, he established Bridge To A Cure Foundation to help families touched by this terrible illness.

Download the 2019 Progress Report

Hear more about Bob Martin’s journey of discovery, disappointment, and determination.

We’re Modernizing Childhood Cancer Research,

Dedicated to Healthier, Happier Kids.

STAFF

Founder & President/Chair, Board of Directors

Robert Martin

Founder & President/Chairman, Board of Directors

Understanding, empathy, and courage. This combination of qualities is a driving force in Robert (Bob) Martin’s life. He enlists them daily in the service of Bridge To A Cure Foundation and has exemplified them in the young reader books he’s penned to inspire kids to chase their dreams and to help those who can’t.

Martin’s grandchildren are the motivation behind his drive — one he endeavors to ignite in other grandparents. His firsthand journey seeking solutions for his own granddaughter serves as catalyst for the change desperately needed to repair the shortcomings in our pediatric healthcare system.

With a background as a successful Fortune 500 company division president, he combines his personal passion with a real-world, results-oriented approach to nonprofit leadership.

Wendy Payton

Executive Director

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Member, Board of Directors

Gary Tapella

Member, Board of Directors

Gary Tapella is Operating Partner in the Specialty Manufacturing and Healthcare Products vertical for One Rock Capital Partners, LLC.

In 2005 he joined New York private equity firm Ripplewood, and subsequently, One Rock Capital Partners, where he serves on a number of portfolio companies. Mr. Tapella is a former director of publicly listed Butler Manufacturing Company and Watsco, Inc. and privately held Airxcel, SRS Distribution and RelaDyne. He is currently on the board of CentroMotion and chairman of Kova International and Robertshaw. He has served as a member of the Bridge To A Cure Foundation Board of Directors since 2019.

Born in Northern California, Tapella is a U.S. Navy veteran. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in international relations/international service and has completed executive management programs at Northeastern University and Columbia University.

Member, Board of Directors

Ken Asher

Member, Board of Directors

Ken Asher is a partner in the New York City-based law firm, Brown Rudnick LLP, where his practice includes tax matters and administration of private and public charities. He provides counsel and serves as member of the Bridge To A Cure Foundation board of directors and ten additional private and public charity boards.

Asher is a graduate of SUNY Buffalo and Harvard Law School.

Peter Tombros
Member, Board of Directors

Peter Tombros

Member, Board of Directors

Bridge To A Cure Foundation Board of Directors member Peter Tombros is Executive Board Chair and Acting CEO of NeuExcell Therapeutics. His professional career includes 8 years as President and CEO of Enzon Pharma, where he built the company into one of the top 20 biotech firms in the United States.

Prior to that, Peter spent over 25 years with Pfizer Inc., where he helped the company to focus on and build the pharmaceutical business in a variety of senior executive positions. He currently serves an emeritus role as Professor and Distinguished Executive in Residence in the Eberly College of Sciences BS/MBA Program at the Pennsylvania State University.

Peter has also served on eight different public company boards, including NPS Pharmaceuticals, where he was Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, Cambrex, Inc., where he was Chairman of the Audit Committee, and Dendrite International, Inc. He was also a Director and Non-Executive Chairman of the Board for Alphapharma, Inc. and Pharmanet Development Group Inc. During his tenure on these boards, Peter chaired many standing board committees and has been involved in a wide variety of board matters including CEO succession, corporate restructuring, financing, regulatory (FDA, SEC) dealings, and corporate governance issues. In 2015, Peter was selected as Director of the Year by the Financial Times. Peter was also Chairman of the 7.5-year Pennsylvania State University $2.2B Capital Campaign.

Mr. Tombros received his BS and MS at Penn State and MBA from University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business.

Member, Board of Directors

Tricia Martin

Member, Board of Directors

Tricia Martin, RLA, LEED AP, joined the Bridge To A Cure Board of Directors in 2020.

Martin is owner of WE Design, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based landscape architecture and urban design planning firm, and teacher of urban design at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University. In 2017, Tricia’s six-year-old daughter Clara Ely passed away due to a form of brain cancer. This tragic event led to the establishment of Bridge To A Cure by Tricia’s father, Foundation President Robert Martin.

Tricia brings to the Board of Directors those qualities she applies daily in her profession — collaboration, community inclusion, advocacy, and the vision to create sustainable solutions for complex problems. And, as a parent who’s been touched by the tragedy of childhood cancer, she contributes a direct and profound perspective concerning the valiant efforts of America’s frontline healthcare workers and the troubling failures of its healthcare system.

Martin graduated with a BA in environmental studies from the University of Vermont and received her MLA from the University of Oregon.

Member, Board of Directors

Ira J. Dunkel, M.D.

Member, Board of Directors

Dr. Ira Dunkel is a Member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Professor of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Attending pediatric oncologist at Memorial Hospital and New York Presbyterian Hospital.

His main research interests are in the fields of Pediatric Neuro-oncology, Retinoblastoma, and Developmental Therapeutics. In addition to his role as a member of the Board of Directors for Bridge To A Cure Foundation, he serves as Chair of the Pediatric Brain Tumor Consortium, a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Brain Malignancy Steering Committee, and as a Special Government Employee for the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, FDA.

Dr. Dunkel received his undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University and his medical degree from Duke University. He completed his pediatric residency at Duke and then spent 1 year as a fellow in pediatric infectious diseases, both at Duke and at Muhimbili Medical Center in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania before completing a pediatric hematology-oncology fellowship at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and New York Hospital.

Member, Board of Directors

Henry S. Friedman, M.D.

Member, Board of Directors

Dr. Henry S. Friedman is an internationally renowned academic adult and pediatric neuro-oncologist who helps to lead The Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University. Author of more than 500 peer reviewed articles, reviews, and book chapters, he has presented extensively at both international and national meetings.

Dr. Friedman has proven experience in drug development working with leaders in the pharmaceutical industry, Food and Drug Administration, National Cancer Institute and advocacy groups. He’s a seasoned innovator and team builder who has built organization cultures for new products and therapy development, and his network of decision-makers includes a broad spectrum of industries including financial/banking, healthcare, health insurance, sports media, federal, legal, and political.

As a member of the Executive and Super Executive Committees of Duke Medical School, Dr. Friedman is a committed educator responsible for the recruitment, screening and selection of medical students. He is the senior editor of CNS Oncology, was the Associate Editor for the Neuro-Oncology Section of Cancer for 15 years and is a reviewer for over 25 academic journals.

Dr. Friedman serves on the advisory board of a number of organizations including Voices Against Brain Cancer, the Tug McGraw Foundation, Pinnacle Care, Transforming Medicine, the National Children’s Cancer Society, Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research and Information, Blast Glioblastoma, The EndBrainCancer Initiative, and Cancer Expert Now. He sits on the Board of Directors of the Bridge To A Cure Foundation, TEAM Doctors Preferred Access, the Michael Mosier Defeat DIPG Foundation and the Foundation for Biomedical Research. He has received a number of awards for his work including the Visionary Award from the Tug McGraw Foundation, the Gary Lichtenstein Humanitarian Award from the Voices Against Brain Cancer Foundation and the Healthnetwork Foundation Service Excellence Award. Dr. Friedman is a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and an Honorary Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association.

ADVISORY BOARD

The Bridge To A Cure Foundation Advisory Board is a panel of renowned healthcare practitioners and industry experts who help inform the organization’s strategies, priorities, and policies.

Lois Juliber

Advisor

Carolyn Rogers

Advisor, CFRE, APR, CPRC