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Our Staff

Caroline Kruse | Executive Director

Caroline Kruse is Executive Director of the Platelet Disorder Support Association. Prior to her appointment in January 2009 by the PDSA Board of Directors, Caroline was PDSA’s first Director of Public Relations. Before joining the PDSA staff, she served for two years as a PDSA board member, the second year as Vice Chair. Caroline co-founded the first local ITP support group in the country, in Cleveland, Ohio, and still serves as its co-facilitator.

Her focus on mission has resulted in PDSA’s greater emphasis on advocacy, growing the local support groups, creating more programs for children, teens and families affected by ITP, education initiatives to improve the quality of life for those living with ITP, and the designation of National ITP Awareness Month.

Before joining PDSA, Caroline worked as a broadcasting professional for over 20 years, working on-air and behind-the-scenes at WCPN, Cleveland’s National Public Radio affiliate, and at FOX and CBS TV affiliate stations. She is the creator, producer and co-host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, Family Matters. Caroline is the recipient of numerous broadcasting and journalism honors, including Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards, Cleveland A.I.R. Awards from the March of Dimes, Distinction in Media Excellence Awards, and Cleveland Communicators’ Award from Women in Communications. Her award-winning programs focused primarily on health and family issues.

Caroline has a B.A. degree in Communications from Cleveland State University. Personally, Caroline had ITP for three years and has been in remission ever since, so she knows firsthand the physical and emotional struggles ITP patients face on a daily basis.

Marjorie Ligelis | Chief Financial Officer

Marjorie joined PDSA in March of 2007. She was diagnosed with ITP in 1998 and found PDSA after an Internet search for any information she could find about a condition she had never heard of. Marjorie was born in Los Angeles and raised in Pennsylvania. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Managerial Accounting from George Washington University and is a Certified Public Accountant. She brings to the organization more than 25 years of accounting experience. When she is not handling the accounting needs and financial reporting for PDSA, she runs her own accounting practice from a home office where she specializes in tax preparation and financial consulting for individuals, small businesses, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Carol Hoxie | Communication Specialist

Carol’s first day with PDSA was at the June 2007 ITP Conference in Secaucus, NJ. She handles communication tasks related to our quarterly newsletter, online enewsletter, information booklets, conference publications, regional and annual meetings, Web site updates, and other written communication. She also talks with patients and answers questions sent by mail and email. Carol brings 14 years of professional experience to her job at PDSA. She was a Technical Writer/Editor in marketing at Telvent Farradyne, and she has also been a Technical Writer/Editor at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD. She has her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park. In addition, she completed a public relations internship at Montgomery General Hospital in Olney, MD. Prior to completing her education, Carol was a Senior Staff Assistant in the Physics Department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA and a medical secretary in the Department of Medicine at the University of Florida, College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL.

Nancy Potthast | Director of Marketing

Nancy joined PDSA in January of 2010. She started her marketing career working on Madison Avenue in New York City where she spent 10 years at the world’s largest advertising agency, Young & Rubicam New York. Nancy helped create branding for non-profits including The American Cancer Society, UNCF, Ad Council, and ChildFind, as well as corporate clients including Merck, Whitehall Laboratories, Xerox, and AT&T to name a few. Realizing her passion for the medical industry and it’s fitting union with her nearly 20 years of corporate professionalism, Nancy later became a successful Executive Recruiter in the medical and biotech industry placing sales and marketing executives. More recently, she has been a Marketing Manager in the clinical laboratory industry, marketing services to physicians including hematologists and oncologists. Nancy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Marketing from St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY.

Grace Filani | Administrative Assistant/Database Coordinator

Grace Filani joined the PDSA team in September 2013. She manages the online store, greets visitors, answers phone calls, assists our CFO with weekly financials, and assists our Director of Marketing with upcoming events. Prior to working with PDSA, Grace served as a development coordinator with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation where she provided fundraising support and worked closely with the organization’s volunteers. In addition to database management and fundraising experience, she brings a strong customer service background to PDSA.

Joan Young | PDSA Founder

Joan Young was diagnosed with ITP in 1992. After failing all the usual medical treatments available at the time, including a splenectomy, and suffering from numerous side effects from the medications, both Joan and her doctors thought she might not live. Joan decided to try the alternative treatments and lifestyle changes she’d read about in the hopes of improving her health. Working with other healthcare professionals, Joan slowly recovered from her ITP. Joan had her life back. When Joan went into remission, she could have walked away and put her frightening ordeal with ITP behind her. But frustrated by the lack ofinformation and support available for others afflicted with this disease, Joan created the Web site www.itppeople.com. Soon, people from all over the world found the Web site, shared their trials and successes, and learned of many options that could help them heal. The response to the Web site prompted Joan to create the Platelet Disorder Support Association and www.pdsa.org. Since the PDSA was founded in 1998, Joan has worked tirelessly on behalf of those individuals and families affected by ITP. She has personally answered thousands of phone calls and emails from people desperate for information, all along offering them hope and inspiration. Joan collaborates with top hematologists, researchers, and pharmaceutical companies working diligently to find new treatments for ITP and, ultimately, a cure.