About us

Our staff

Leadership Team

Mark Slocum — Executive Director
e: Mark@ChildrensCancerConnection.org
p: 515-243-6239 ext. 1101


Family Advocacy Team

Melissa Beaman — Director of Program Services
e: Melissa@ChildrensCancerConnection.org
p: 515-243-6239 ext. 1100
With fourteen years of experience in child life, Melissa is responsible for all hospital based programs, including Beads4Bravery, the Courage Store, Journey Book. She can often be found working with families at Blank Children's Hospital or the University of Iowa Stead Family's Hospitals and Clinics. A great resource to CCC families and our team, feel free to contact Melissa with any questions regarding her programs.

Sara Petersen — Programs Manager
e: Sara@ChildrensCancerConnection.org
p: 515-243-6239 ext. 1117
As a Certified Child Life Specialist and a member of the program team, Sara works to provide impactful experiences and opportunities for our CCC families. She is always on the lookout for new, innovative, and needed programming and services to better serve all our children and families! If you have any questions about our current programming, or any suggestions for future programming, Sara would love to hear from you!

Emily Nienhaus — Programs Coordinator
e: Emily@ChildrensCancerConnection.org
p: 515-243-6239 ext. 1103
As Program Coordinator Emily assists with all program needs and reaches out to our community to share the impact of knowing each of our unique families.  She also organizes day camps, which provide children with the excitement of summer camp without the commitment of a full week away from treatment/families.  Emily takes the experiences from past and present families, and uses these to help with planning new fun programs. 


Development Team

Kim Olmstead — Director of Donor Relations
e: Kim@ChildrensCancerConnection.org
p: 515-243-6239 ext.1110
Responsible for the fundraising team, Kim's niche is creating relationships with sponsors including organizations, corporations, and individuals.

Christina Hackbart — Volunteer & Development Coordinator
e: Christina@ChildrensCancerConnection.org
p: 515-243-6239 ext. 1114

A recent graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Christina works to engage volunteers by organizing impactful opportunities for anyone looking to get involved with Children’s Cancer Connection. She also works with our internal events including the annual Camping the Night Away events in Central and Eastern Iowa. Feel free to contact Christina with any volunteer/event questions or to get involved with activities happening throughout the year!

Kelli Schnurr —  Development Coordinator
e: Kelli@ChildrensCancerConnection.org
p: 515-243-6239 ext. 1104

As a past Oncology camper, Kelli has been a member of the Camp Heart Connection and Children's Cancer Connection family for nearly 19 years! Kelli brings a new and unique outlook to the Development team and works with our Fundraising by Friends as well as helps to build relationships with sponsors. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about becoming more involved with Children's Cancer Connection, Kelli would love to hear from you!


Marketing Team

Meryl Onnen —  Communications/Marketing Manager
e: Meryl@ChildrensCancerConnection.org
p: 515-243-6239 ext. 1113

Graduating from Iowa State with a degree in Public Relations, Meryl is in charge of community awareness.  She is the one posting on our social media pages to keep you up-to-date on all of our awesome events.  When she isn't on Facebook you will probably find her updating our homepage or online webstore! She makes sure that you have all the information you need on our website, and access to purchasing all of our great apparel.  


Business Team

Meridith Swoyer— Business Manager
e: Meridith@ChildrensCancerConnection.org
p: 515-243-6239 ext. 1107
Meridith has been a member of the Children's Cancer Connection team since 2008. As the business manager, Meridith is responsible for the day to day management of the organization, including the database and office management. For fun, Meridith manages the CCC trinkets and swag! Feel free to contact Meridith with any business questions.