Child Life Specialist
Director of Family Programs
Melissa grew up in Ankeny, Iowa before heading off to college at the University of Iowa. She earned her degree in Health, Leisure and Sport Studies with an emphasis in Therapeutic Recreation and became a Certified Child Life Specialist in 2002. Melissa worked in Child Life at Blank Children’s Hospital for 13 years before joining the Children’s Cancer Connection family in 2015. Melissa, daughter Olive and son Hank call Des Moines home and spend most of their time pretending, imagining and making people laugh. Melissa spends her work hours making sure what we do for families is the best it can be.
Conar is from Cedar Falls, Iowa, where he spent most his time listening to blink-182, playing fantasy role-playing games, and delivering pizza. An alumnus of the University of Northern Iowa, he took his time earning his degree as he attempted to tailor his studies to fit the dream of being a “professional camp counselor.” As CCC’s Camp Director, it looks like he did alright. Conar was an oncology camper at Camp Heart Connection, and has been attending Camp since 2004. He now leads all of Children’s Cancer Connection’s camp and retreat programs, including summer camp, family camp, and the teen Ski Trip. When he’s not camping, his favorite hobbies include reading about, writing for, and playing Dungeons and Dragons. He also loves the Legend of Zelda video games, the Lord of the Rings, World of Warcraft, and the web series Critical Role. On the rare occasion that his head isn’t in the clouds of medieval fantasy worlds, he enjoys hiking, archery, eating peanut butter, and spending time with his family and pets. Also, he is a grandma’s boy and proud of it.
Family Activities Coordinator
Bailey was born and raised in Boone, Iowa. She graduated from the University of Iowa with her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Human Relations and then moved to Des Moines with her husband, Kurt and step son, Keaton in 2014. Outside of work, Bailey and her family enjoy taking their very energetic yellow lab named Georgia to parks, going out for ice cream, visiting friends and family, and having movie marathons at home. Bailey and Kurt are currently expecting a new little addition to their family come November 2019 where they plan on hibernating in baby snuggles next to the fire all winter. Bailey started at Children’s Cancer Connection in March 2019 where she plans and schedules events for the children/families at the Hansen Home for Hope and in Central Iowa.
Family Programs Project Manager
Jourdan was born and raised around Cedar Falls, Iowa. After high school she attended University of Northern Iowa to study design and project management. In her free time she enjoys anything that involves being crafty (i.e. quilting, crocheting, wood burning, painting, drawing, etc.) She also dabbles in video games and board games such as World of Warcraft, Dungeons and Dragons, Untitled Goose Game, Pokemon, etc. She never misses an opportunity to make fun of herself, crack a dad joke, or whip out a punny phrase. Jourdan has an Instagram account for her dog, Hayden, and cat, Ren, which she loves very dearly. Her “paw-dience” is growing. *shameless plug – @ren_and_den* She loves working at Children’s Cancer Connection and being able to spend her time getting to know and interact with all of our families!