Who We Are

The folks at Cancer Care Services have a tremendous commitment to help - and even bigger hearts!

Daniel Wessel, Volunteer

  • Our Staff
  • History
  • Board of Directors
  • Financials
  • Donors


Cancer Care Services Staff


Melanie Wilson
President & CEO

Melanie Lara, CPA
Chief Financial Officer

Todd Cooper-Dalton
Director of Operations

Kim Fulk
Finance Coordinator (AR)

Jill Plocar
Finance Coordinator (AP)

Savannah Garcia
Office Coordinator


Deanna Stuart
Senior Development Director

Laura Misuk, MPA
Director of Grants & Advocacy

Rhea Jackson
Donor Relations Manager

Becky Williams
Major Gifts Manager

Katherine B Ware, MBA
Development Marketing Coordinator


Social Workers & Client Activities

Tracey Willingham, LMSW
Senior Program Director/Social Worker
HIPAA Security Officer

James Earl II, LBSW, MPA
Director of Outreach and Health Equity
Survivorship Navigator

Margaritta Jackson, LBSW
Program Director/Social Worker
Caregiver Navigator

Annie Presley, LCSW, OSW-C
Community Counselor

Niels Falk, LMSW
Program Manager, Social Worker
Intern Task Supervisor

Martti McMurry, MSW
Community Social Worker

Fernanda Valadez, BSW
Bilingual Community Social Worker

Brianna Silva, LPC
Child, Teen, and Young Adult Counselor

Megan Clifton
Client Connection Manager

Tamika Chambers
Financial Advocate

Tori Mudge
Volunteer and Program Coordinator

Precious Harris
Targeted Outreach Navigator

Carlene King
Community Health Worker

Kayla Plocar, LMSW
Targeted Outreach
Arlington Social Worker

Danni Howard
Data Coordinator

Dacia Whitaker, LMSW, OSW-C
Clinic Social Work Manager

Erinn Anderson, LMSW
Clinic Social Worker

Brittany Thornton, LBSW
Clinic Social Worker

Christi Jackson, LMSW
Clinic Social Worker

Emily Swearingen, LMSW
Clinic Social Worker

Lindsey Graham, MSW
Rural Clinic Social Worker

Registered Dietitians

Lisa Hall, RD, CSO, LD
Dietitian Manager
Registered Oncology Dietician

Caryn Fields, MS, RD, LD, CNSC
Registered Oncology Dietician



Organizational History and Mission.


Mission Statement: Cancer Care Services supports cancer patients, cares for the caregiver, and empowers survivors to reduce the impact of cancer in Tarrant County. It is our vision that everyone who is affected by cancer in our community will partner with Cancer Care Services to CONNECT, COPE, and THRIVE.

In 1946, a group of Fort Worth physicians observed that many low-income cancer patients faced challenges – both fiscal and practical. Together with other community leaders, they created a unique and inventive organization for cancer patients. Cancer Care Services (CCS) has been a distinctive resource in the local cancer support arena ever since with a history of “firsts”: CCS opened the first breast and cervical cancer detection clinic in Tarrant County, paid the salary of the first oncology nurse at John Peter Smith Hospital, and hired the first oncology social worker in Tarrant County. As a perpetually evolving organization, Cancer Care Services added registered oncology dietitians in 2013 and licensed counselors in 2017 to the multidisciplinary team. We added advocacy to our service menu in 2019 and conducted visits with State lawmakers to encourage their support of the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas reauthorization and the subsequent public approval of needed funding. In 2020, CCS hired a financial advocate for those impacted by the financial trauma of cancer in Tarrant County.

Cancer Care Services’ collaborative approach uses a social work navigation model to reduce disparities and distress to improve outcomes. Cancer Care Services also offers support for those who do not need navigation or financial assistance, but are solely in need of emotional and educational resources. Our efforts optimize patient access to care and enhance the efforts of healthcare professionals. We level the playing field by improving the community’s capacity to care for and sustain under-resourced patients and their families – after all, we are here on earth to care for each other.


Community Need.


Unlike coronavirus, cancer is not contagious. But for the 9,588 residents of Tarrant County who will receive a cancer diagnosis in 2020, cancer is a physical, emotional, and financial challenge. Today cancer is the leading cause of death in Tarrant County, and it is expected to be the leading cause of death in the United States by the end of 2020.

The direct cost of cancer in Texas was $40.3 billion in 2018, 5% of which ($2.2 billion) was incurred by patients and their families as out of pocket expense (The Perryman Group).  The American Journal of Public Health reports that 530,000 American families were impacted by medical bankruptcy in 2018, and GoFundMe reports that it hosts more than 250,000 medical campaigns per year – raising more than $650 million to help pay healthcare expenses.

These are sobering statistics for our community especially in this time of new and widespread uncertainty. However, Tarrant County is fortunate to have a specialized resource dedicated to addressing the financial and emotional challenges a cancer diagnosis brings – at no cost to clients.

In addition to the staggering number of people impacted by cancer, the Community Oncology Alliance found that Americans fear the expense of cancer treatment as much as they fear dying from the disease. Sometimes referred to as the “Healthcare Mortgage,” the financial trauma of cancer often results in lower adherence to treatment regimens, reduced spending on basics such as food or clothing, and a decrease in overall sense of well-being. According to a study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology, financial trauma resulting from out-of-pocket cancer treatment costs increases the risk of death by 79%. This is why we provide financial assistance to those in need (e.g. health insurance assistance, medication copay assistance, transportation assistance and nutritional supplements). We also hired a financial navigator to help our clients avoid the devastating impact of bankruptcy – as well as helping clients understand their medical bills, select appropriate health insurance coverage, negotiate payment plans with providers, and much more.

Providing holistic survivorship services are paramount because the number of cancer survivors is growing rapidly, alongside population increases: Texas has 882,400 five-year cancer survivors who were diagnosed between 2008 and 2017 (Texas Cancer Registry). Our proactive Survivorship program is led by staff, and augmented by volunteer cancer survivors. These specialized survivorship programs are offered in addition to the comprehensive emotional and financial support that we provide to patients, caregivers, and survivors impacted by all cancer types, of all ages, all ethnicities, all genders, sexual orientation, physical ability, language and socio-economic status.

Board of Directors

Joseph Austin

Jesse Booher, CPA – Board Treasurer
Shareholder | Alexander Booher & Assoc.

Peggy Booher
Community Volunteer

Cameron Brown, D.Min.
Staff Care Chaplain| Cook Children’s, TCU, FW Fire Dept.

LaRhonda Brown-Barrett

Stevie Dawn Carter, PhD – Board Chair
Founder | Orange Compass

Nanny Christie, PhD
Psychophysiologist- Retired

Rosemary Galdiano, RN
Manager, Wellness for Life Services | Texas Health Fort Worth

Karen Garcia, CPA
Audit Supervisor | BKD

Jackie Gibbons
Community Volunteer

Travis Hopkins, MBA
Director of Business Development | FuseMind Inc.
Principal – Strategic Growth Consulting Services | TJH LLC

Deloris Hummel
Investment Manager | Bank of Texas

Audie Kuhn
Advancement | TCU

Cristy LePori, RN
Manager Outpatient Infusion/Thoracic Oncology Navigator | Texas Health Harris Hospital

Rosalyn Levy
Control Manager | JP Morgan Chase

Rodolfo Martinez
NextHome Real Estate Advisors

Dustin Miles
Entrepreneur | Cowtown Capital LLC

Ann-Margaret Ochs, D.O.
Medical Oncologist | Texas Oncology

Jane Oderberg, LMSW
Project Coordinator | UNT Health Science Center

Chianna Rodgers
Financial Planner, Principal | Secure Matrix Insurance

Sue Shields, RN
Retired – Director, Cancer Program | Texas Health Fort Worth

Louann Schulze, D.Ed.
Retired – College Administrator/Counselor | TCC Trinity River Campus

Norma Salinas
AVP Branch Manager – Southside Bank

Melanie Stevenson
Community Volunteer

Robert Sturns, MBA 
Director, Economic Development | City of Fort Worth

Steve Troy
OwnerTroy Financial

Tonya Veasey
President | Public Affairs OCGPR

Misty Wilder
Community Health/Healthy Start Program Manager | UNT Health Science Center


Thank you to the following foundations and organizations for helping us further our mission through their generous financial support during 2018.

Aegon Transamerica Foundation
Alcon Foundation
Paul E. Andrew Foundation
Arlington Tomorrow Foundation
C. B. Baird Foundation
BBVA Foundation
BNSF Foundation
The Capper Foundation
Amon G. Carter Foundation
Colleyville Women’s Club
Joe and Jessie Crump Foundation
Ken W. Davis Foundation
M. S. Doss Foundation
The DuBose Family Foundation
Genentech Foundation
Jeanne and Roy J. Grogan Charitable Fund
HNC Living Foundation
The Hodges Foundation
The Holland Foundation
The Hyde Foundation
Lockheed Martin AERO Club
The Lowe Foundation
Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Texas
The Morris Foundation
Network for Good
Pfizer Foundation
Marty Potishman Lard Trust
R4 Foundation
Ed Rachal Foundation
Sid W. Richardson Foundation
The Ryan Foundation
Guido and Ruth Shumake Charitable Trust
The Sportsmen’s Club
United Way
The Walsh Foundation
Gil and Dody Weaver Foundation


Thank you to the following corporations for helping us further our mission through their generous financial support during 2017.

 Allstate Insurance Company
Apex Capital Corporation
Federated Insurance
Fellfab Corporation
Fit Body Boot Camp
Fort Worth Country Day School
Junior League of Fort Worth, Inc.
Oakline Floors
Quilters’ Guild of Arlington
Sigma Lambda Gamma Omicron Beta
SourceHOV Tax
Southlake Women’s Club
Susan G. Komen Greater Fort Worth
Takeda Pharmaceuticals
Texas Oncology
The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders
Troy and Associates LLC
Unity Church of Fort Worth
UNT Health Science Center

Heroes of Hope Corporate Mission Partners: