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 2020 Annual 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

Lauren Nutter

Development Associate

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Secretary, Board of Directors

Ken Asher

Secretary, 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.

Treasurer, Board of Directors

Gary Tapella

Treasurer, 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.

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.

Member, Board of Directors

Al Musella, DPM

Member, Board of Directors

Bridge To A Cure Foundation Board of Directors member Dr. Al Musella, a retired podiatrist and technologist, is founder and president of The Musella Foundation For Brain Tumor Research & Information, Inc, a 501(c)3 nonprofit public charity established in 1997 to help brain tumor patients through emotional and financial support, education, advocacy and fundraising for brain tumor research.

In this role, Dr. Musella established the first clinical trial database for brain tumors, upon which the National Cancer Institute modeled Clinicaltrials.gov. He has issued more than $12.5 million in brain tumor research grants and co-payment assistance grants to help patients access needed treatments. Dr. Musella also helped secure Medicare Payment approval for Optune, Temodar and Avastin, and advocated for FDA approval of many treatments. His efforts include lobbying for the “Promising Pathway Act,” legislation that accelerates the clinical trial approval process in order to move new drugs to market more efficiently.

Rudi Dubois
Member, Board of Directors

Rudi Dubois

Member, Board of Directors

Rudi Dubois, a Vice President at Bernstein Private Wealth Management, joined the Bridge To A Cure Foundation Board of Directors in 2021. Her role is complementary to her support of research and organizations with missions to improve the quality of life of children battling brain tumors, and their siblings. Dubois also sits on the Family Advisory Board of The Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. She is a frequent speaker at One Summit, a program that builds resilience in these little warriors through experiential learning with Navy SEALS.

A dynamic investment professional, flexible global thinker, and philanthropist, Dubois partners with individuals applying their expertise and innovation to transform the world. She is enthusiastic about travel and diverse cultures, having lived abroad and speaking five languages. Before joining Bernstein, Rudi was a Managing Director advising ultra-high net worth clients at Clear Brook Advisors. Previously, she held leadership posts at New Providence Asset Management, Banco Santanders and UBS Private Wealth and The Chart Group, a boutique investment banking firm primarily investing for its non-US Limited Partners from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Given her passion for music, Rudi provides strategic advice to executives in the music industry. She helped launch Share Music You Love for the Recording Academy’s Foundation to raise funds for music industry professionals affected by Covid-19. Rudi holds a B.A. in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College, where she was a Charles A. Dana Scholar. Most of all, she loves staying active and spending time with her teenage son and daughter.

Member, Board of Directors

David Gibbons

Member, Board of Directors

David Gibbons knows first-hand the suffering that childhood cancer inflicts. In the early 1980s Gibbons’ teenage son was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma. At the time, the cancer was considered 99% fatal. His son survived, but like many childhood cancer survivors, lives with residual health effects of treatment. Gibbon’s journey through the healthcare system seeking out the newest treatments available led to his interest in improving healthcare outcomes for children with cancer.

Gibbons is an international executive whose career spans leadership at a number of global businesses, including 28 years at 3M. He also served as president of Rubbermaid Home Products, and eventually took the helm at Rubbermaid Europe. Subsequent stints include membership on numerous public company Boards, as well as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Perrigo, a pharmaceutical company now based in Ireland, from 2000-2007, and as Chairman of the Board of Cott Corporation, a global manufacturer of private label beverages, from 2008-2017.

In addition to his role as a member of the Board of Directors at Bridge To A Cure, Gibbons has served recently as Chairman of the Board of Naples Children’s Education Foundation. He is currently a trustee of Southwest Florida Children’s Charities and member of the board of African Parks Foundation USA.

Gibbons graduated from Villanova University in 1965.

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