February 26, 2017
About Us

In February of 2007,
Sophie Elizabeth Quayle, at age three, was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) - a cancerous brain tumor. This type of tumor is located in the brainstem, at the base of the brain. Affecting primarily children, it is the rarest and worst of pediatric brain tumors. Approximately 150 to 200 children are diagnosed each year. This type of tumor is considered terminal, and survival time is typically nine to twelve months following diagnosis.

Sophie's parents, Marc and Emily Quayle of Avon Lake, felt an overwhelming sense of helplessness when learning there was nothing the doctors could do to save Sophie's precious life. Sophie passed away October 6, 2007, just seven and a half months after diagnosis. 

This great despair and frustration lead Marc and Emily on a mission to help children and families suffering from DIPG, while raising awareness and money that will lead to a cure for this awful disease and other types of pediatric brain cancer.

Our Mission


The mission of Smiles For Sophie Forever* - A Foundation Confronting Pediatric Brain Cancer is threefold:

  • to provide financial and emotional support to families burdened by pediatric brain tumors 
  • to promote a global awareness of not only pediatric brain tumors, but also an awareness of the lack of funding allocated for pediatric brain cancer research; and 
  • to provide financial support to St. Jude, where Sophie was treated, and to other viable organizations committed to the treatment and cure of pediatric brain cancer. 
  •  

Our Board of Directors:

To create the Smiles For Sophie Forever Board, Emily and Marc personally solicited each member. They are all individuals who had supported Marc and Emily, emotionally, physically, and financially since Sophie was diagnosed in February, 2007, and well before Smiles For Sophie Forever became a non-profit organization. Honored and humbled by their continuous support Emily and Marc could not think of a better group of people to help run the foundation, established in memory of their beautiful Sophie. With pride and gratitude, they present the Smiles For Sophie Forever Board of Directors.

 

* Smiles For Sophie Forever is a tax-exempt, 501 (c)(3) organization.

Board of Directors
Mike & Kelly Bova
Mike & Kelly Bova

Kelly Bova        

Kelly Bova                          Mike Bova
Email Kelly                    Email Mike

 

The Bovas, Kelly and Mike, were introduced to Sophie’s story through the Avon Lake Early Childhood PTA and were “truly inspired by Marc and Emily’s courage and strength,” and were eager to be a part of the SFSF Board. Both from the Cleveland area, they settled in Avon Lake with their two boys, Michael (8) and Jake (5), and their daughter, Kayley (2).

A District Sales Manager for Abbot, Mike was among the many fundraising runners in the First Annual Smiles For Sophie Forever 5K and 1 Mile Run/Walk. Between selling Thirty-One, serving as a part-time multiple account assistant for Hallmark and her job as a stay-at-home Mom, Kelly made time to work both the Fall Festivals and the race and solicited needed supplies. 

Kelly and Mike are members of the Fundraising Committee. Both Kelly and Mike “want to help families who face the monster of pediatric brain cancer and hope that someday families will not have to face this horrible disease.”

Biography updated January 2012

Andrea Bucci
Andrea Bucci
Andrea Bucci

Andrea Bucci


Email Andrea

Having worked in the telecommunications field for nine years, Board Member Andrea Bucci is a great asset to SFSF. Currently a stay-at-home mom to daughters, Kayla (9) and Mia (6), Andrea's volunteer efforts with the Avon Lake Early Childhood PTA introduced her to Sophie and the First Annual Fall Festival in September, 2007. Helping with the Festival was both meaningful and relative to Andrea.

"Sophie and my daughter were the same age...I needed to help in some way...I hope that someday SFSF is a household name and that we can help many more families dealing with DIPG."

Andrea is a member of the Grant Committee and Fundraising Committee.


Biography updated January 2012
Dan Bucci
Dan Bucci
Dan Bucci

Dan Bucci

Email Dan

Dan Bucci, SFSF Board Member, became involved with SFSF through his wife Andrea and her volunteering efforts with the Early Childhood PTA, a husband-wife team whose involvement is a family affair.

"Humbled to help in any way," Dan serves on the Grant Committee. Dan says, "Marc and Emily's vision for The Foundation and ultimate goals are truly inspiring." Before moving to Avon Lake four years ago, Dan worked on Capitol Hill and at The White House. He currently practices construction law for Thompson Hine, a Cleveland law firm.

 

Keith Dando
Keith Dando
 

Keith Dando

Email Keith

Keith Dando, a senior project manager at Swagelok Company, became familiar with SFSF through his wife Maureen's work with the Avon Lake Early Childhood PTA.  As neighbors of Board members, Kelly and Mike Bova, Keith resides in Avon Lake with Maureen and his children, Nathan (6), Emma (2), and newborn, Kiera.

No stranger to volunteer work, Keith was involved with THON, fundraising for The Four Diamonds Fund while at Penn State. The organization was aimed at "conquering cancer by assisting children treated at Penn State Hershey Hospital though superior care, comprehensive support, and innovative research." Keith commented, "Through my work with THON, I was inspired by the strengths that these childern and their families have shown...(it) inpsired me to support causes that are focused on supporting families facing pedaitric cancer, as well as looking for its cure."

This is Keith's second year on the Board and he is a member of the Grant Committee.

Biography updated January 2012
Shawn Green
Shawn Green


Shawn GreenShawn Green

Vice-President of Giving/Grant Committee Chairperson
Email Shawn

As a social worker for Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services for the past fourteen years, Board Member Shawn Green is no stranger to helping and serving the needs of families and children.

Along with his wife, Stacey, Shawn, who is the proud father of Abby (9) and Ellie (6), met Sophie through mutual friends and members of the Avon Lake Early Childhood PTA. "Hearing the stories of sweet Sophie, both happy and sad," Shawn knows, "…my family just as easily could be going through the same trying times, and I would hope that I could have the strength that Marc and Emily show us everyday."

As VP of Giving and Grant Committee Chairperson, Shawn's involvement "mirrors the entire mission statement of SFSF," and he is "grateful to be a part of something much bigger than any one of us."

Biography updated January 2012 

Susie Miklaski
Susie Miklaski
Susie Miklaski

Susie Miklaski

Secretary
Email Susie

Emily’s mom, Susie Miklaski, loves her position as secretary of SFSF. A retired high school English teacher, living with her retired middle school math teacher Frank in Trenton, MI, Susie enjoys writing and the fact that she can help The Foundation from a distance, via the internet.

Susie is also the proud mother of Sarah and Charly, doting grandmother of Sarah, Zach, Nicolas, Marie and Frank, and not-so-mean mother-in-law of Matt, Marc and Dawn. According to Susie, “Any grandmother would understand my dedication to SFSF…I am involved for many reasons, but the greatest of these is LOVE.

"Sharing in Emily and Marc’s purpose and passion for my Sweet Sophie Girl is an easy task.” Researching for, writing and editing articles for Smiles For the Season, the quarterly SFSF e-newsletter, fundraising, and training for the 4th of July race occupy Susie’s time when she is not substitute teaching at her former high school or participating in yoga or boot camp classes.

Biography updated April 2015

Michelle Polinko
Michelle Polinko
Michelle Polinko

Michelle Polinko


Email Michelle

Also having met Emily through the Avon Lake Early Childhood PTA, Board Member Michelle Polinko, is married to John and mother to Nathan (5) and Isabella (2). She is an Account Representative for a Marketing Communications Firm called The Shamrock Companies.

In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with family and friends, exercise, sports and watching movies. At the First Annual Fall Festival in September 2007, Michelle began her dedication to Sophie's cause and has been dedicated ever since, working every fundraiser.

As a member of SFSF, Michelle hopes to fulfill her personal mission of "reaching out to as many families in need as possible and raising awareness of this tragic cause of death.... Some day (we will) not have to lose another loved one to pediatric brain cancer."

 

Emily & Marc Quayle
Emily & Marc Quayle

       

EMILY AND MARC QUAYLE

Emily and Marc Quayle, Sophie's Mommy and Daddy and President and Co-Treasurer of SFSF are the committed founders of Smiles For Sophie Forever. Proud parents of Sarah (8) and Marie (3), Emily and Marc are also proud residents of Avon Lake. In their almost eighteen years of marriage, they have resided in five other homes and moved to Avon Lake in 2004, where the support and help of the city and the surrounding communities have overwhelmed them. Emily, a former teacher, and Marc, a district manager for Altria, are dedicated, beyond words, to The Foundation; they graciously and willingly inspire and facilitate the volunteer efforts of family, relatives, friends, and strangers.

Their never-ending ideas, hard work, and enthusiasm direct the Board's activities and efforts. Frustrated by "an overwhelming sense of helplessness when learning there was nothing the doctors could do to save Sophie's precious life," Emily and Marc began their mission of "helping children and families suffering from DIPG, while raising awareness and money that will lead to a cure for this awful disease and other types of pediatric brain cancer." As founders, organizers, directors, planners, and workers they are involved in all aspects of The Foundation.

Their faith, commitment, generosity, and positive outlook provide the entire Board and community with the reality that a cure will be found. "We can't bring our precious Sophie back, but we can ensure that her legacy lives on. We are forever grateful to all those who believe in and live our hope and dream."

Biography updated April 2015

Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith
Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith

Vice-President of Awareness
Email Sarah

Sarah Smith is a contract physical therapist at Hurlburt Field, FL.  After practicing as an active duty physical therapist in the Air Force for 9 years and an active Reservist for 2 years, she was a stay-at-home mom to Zachary (7) and Nicolas (4) for 7 years. She returned to the work force in April 2014 after her husband, Lt Col Matt Smith retired in January 2014 after 20 years of service in the Air Force. Sarah and Matt currently reside in Fort Walton Beach, FL where they have lived on and off since 2001. Sarah is Emily’s older sister (by 11 months) and Sophie's aunt. Truly honored to be chosen as Sophie's godmother, Sarah chose to be involved with SFSF to honor Sophie's memory, to support Emily and Marc, and to help meet The Foundation's ultimate goal of some day finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer.

Sarah strongly avers: “Not another child should have to fight the difficult battle Sophie fought in her short life, nor should any parent need to live through the agony of losing a child to this monstrous disease.”

Until a cure is found, Sarah is dedicated to raising awareness about DIPG and to fundraising for both a cure and to provide financial assistance to families who are fighting the DIPG battle. She enjoys exercise, sports, reading and traveling to spend time with family. Sarah is VP of Awareness and works with Board Member, Susie Miklaski, to put together the quarterly e-newsletter, and is the website correspondent, working with John Kepko, the website developer, to keep the SFSF website up-to-date.

Biography updated April 2015 

Kristin Stobe
Kristin Stobe

Kristin Stobe

Co-Treasurer
Email Kristin

Avon Lake resident Kristn Stobe officially joined the SFSF Board on December 16, 2012, although she and her family were avid supporters of The Foundation, long before then. Having attended the Bash & Dash several years ago, the Stobes (Jim, Kristin's husband, daughter Savannah (9), and son CJ (7)) were very familiar with Sophie's story. Kristin and Emily became fast friends as their daughters, Sarah and Savannah, were in the same first grade class. Their acquaintance led them to take on the shared role of troop leaders for their daughters' Girl Scout troop.

Loving community involvement, Kristin offered her organizational services to SFSF. And organized she was! Kristin serves on the Grants Committee; has re-organized the data base, and also serves as the SFSF treasurer. As a CPA with Ernst & Young, Kristin is a great asset to SFSF.

According to Kristin, "SFSF has accomplished so much, and I just wanted to be a part of such a great organization that helps families of children with pediatric brain cancer."  


 

Amber and Paul Theodore
Amber and Paul Theodore

Amber and Paul Theodore


 

 

 
Smiles For Sophie Forever