Mark NeJame, Chairman of the Board
A native of Orlando, Florida, Mark NeJame attended the University of Florida where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree and his Juris Doctorate. Mark is the founder and senior partner of the Law Firm of NeJame, LaFay, Jancha, Ahmed, Barker and Joshi, P.A.
Raised by his mother and grandmother, Mark first became inspired to help sick children by watching his mother work as a pediatric health care provider. Always having a passion towards helping the underprivileged and sick, Mark has volunteered his resources to numerous charity organizations. After marrying his wife, Josie, and becoming a proud father to his two cherished daughters, Valentina and Alessandra, his dedication toward this cause only grew. In 2007, when Tara Fontana approached Mark about being involved with The Pediatric Cancer Foundation, his heart was touched. For the next three years Mark and Josie NeJame volunteered their time as the event chairs for Fashion Funds the Cure and became further inspired to the cause of pediatric cancer. It had been Mark’s lifelong dream to start a foundation of his own and hence, started Runway To Hope along with his wife, Josie. Dedicated to children, this is one way Mark believes he can give back and help make a difference in the lives of others.
Josie NeJame, President
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Josie NeJame was initially raised in Zaragoza, Spain, as her father, Art, was in the Air Force and stationed there. Eventually she relocated back to Florida, where she graduated from the University of Central Florida (UCF) with honors. While attending UCF, Josie also worked in an Orlando law firm during which time she met Mark. She previously owned and managed a jewelry store in Orlando and attended fashion school. With a love for fashion and style, Josie combines these with her commitment to children with Runway To Hope.
Josie has served as chairperson for the American Heart Association’s “Go Red For Women,” campaign, became deeply involved with and served as chairperson of Shepherd’s Hope, and has supported and contributed her efforts to a host of other charities, including opening her family home to a fundraiser for The Foundation For Foster Children. She discovered her passion for helping children with pediatric cancer when she began chairing Fashion Funds the Cure to benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation in 2008. Since then she has been an integral part in raising funds for pediatric cancer. A proud and devoted mother of two daughters, Valentina and Alessandra, Josie is inspired to this cause as her heart has been forever touched by the blessings of her own children. Josie now focuses her energies primarily on her family, its commitments and her charity work.
Mark NeJame, Co-Founder of Runway To Hope and Senior Partner at NeJame Law
Josie NeJame, Co-Founder and Director of Runway To Hope
Jenni Baker, Director, Quarter5 Accounting
Andrea Batchelor, Public Relations Manager, Neiman Marcus Orlando
Dick Batchelor, Dick Batchelor Management Group
Tara Fontana, Founder, Grapevine Events and Marketing
Rebecca Grossman, Esteemed Member of the Orlando Community and Philanthropist
John Hill, Host of XL 106.7's "Johnny's House" and Founder of the Baby DJ Foundation
Johnny Holloway, Philanthropist
Dawn Mateer, Philanthropist
Gene Muhart, SVP Quality Control & Compliance, Bags, Inc.
Peggy Parish, Community Relations & Employee Events, SeaWorld/Aquatica/Discovery Cove
Dena Pichardo, Donor Relations Manager, Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation
Adam Plotkins, NOPACTalent, Celebrity & Sports Talent Agency
Kelli Skorman, Philanthropist
Roel Yambao, Chief Operating Officer, Florida Hospital for Children
Proudly, Runway To Hope has partnered with both Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Florida Hospital as beneficiaries of their fundraising efforts. Not allowing any politics to enter into the cause of helping defeat childhood cancer, Runway To Hope has entered into a unique arrangement serving to benefit both Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Florida Hospital by providing goods, services and funds for the following:
- Research - Provides funding for pediatric cancer clinical trials and patient participation in such trials.
- To view the drug protocol and trial results please visit www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/search. This site is sponsored by the National Cancer Center.
- Technology - Expansions, renovations and enhancements in pediatric cancer treatment facilities, particularly those which aid in the treatment of pediatric cancer inpatients and outpatients including distraction and play therapy items as well as emerging technologies that directly benefit the treatment of patients with cancer and related blood disorders.
- Family Assistance - Qualifies families in need of financial assistance (as a result of pediatric cancer) in areas including, but not limited to, household expenses, food, gasoline, and medical bills. Assists in the overall well being of the family.
There has been little to no increase in survival rates of childhood cancer in the last 20 years due to the lack of access to new cancer agents.
Pharmaceutical companies see little incentive to invest in the research needed to test experimental therapies in children because of the small patient population. Government funding only accounts for 3% of the monies given to the National Cancer Center annually. Although there are only 12,400 new cases of childhood cancer diagnosed each year nationwide, it is still the leading the cause of death by disease in children.