Column of Hope
Chiari and Syringomyelia Research Foundation - Working toward a life without pain.
Mark Kane - President
Mark is a businessman and CPA in Buffalo, New York. His experience with developing international partnerships in business, as well as his work with physicians and with emerging bio and information tech businesses has proven invaluable in his work with COH’s research projects.
Mark worked to found Column of Hope with his wife, Barbara, and the rest of the board of directors because his daughter was diagnosed with Chiari malformation and syringomyelia in 1994. Laura had brain decompression, subarachnoid shunt placement in her spinal cord and a subarachnoid shunt revision, all at the age of 9. In 2001, it was discovered that Laura’s spinal cord was tethered. In June of that year, Laura had a fourth surgery to have her cord untethered. Her fifth and sixth surgeries were in March of 2007. She continues to work in a demanding career despite daily pain and symptoms. Since Mark’s family has been so deeply affected by the disorders (other family members have also been diagnosed), he has become dedicated to making a difference in the lives of those affected by Chiari malformation, syringomyelia, neuropathic pain, spinal cord injury and related conditions. He works hard to apply the knowledge he obtained in his professional life to help build Column of Hope.
Mark was born in Painted Post, New York when it was a factory village. He grew up the youngest of one sister and three brothers. Mark has three children, Laura, Joseph and Mathew, with wife, Barbara. All five of them, plus Laura’s husband, are graduates of the State University of New York at Geneseo. In addition, Mark earned an MBA from the University at Buffalo. While Mark is always loyal to his roots, he has become a strong supporter of his adopted hometown, Buffalo, New York. From a business perspective, Mark does what he can to support Erie County’s economy. He is a member of several boards in Buffalo, and is a member of SUNY Geneseo’s Alumni Association board of directors. He is a devoted Buffalo Bills and Sabres fan. Mark often can be found barbecuing, playing Frisbee, bocce ball, and Kan Jam with his family in the backyard.
Kevin Stringer - Vice President
Kevin has been an information technology and management consultant for nearly 25 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in Computer Technology, a hybrid program focusing on both systems analysis and business management disciplines. His background in analysis and problem solving has helped him bring a unique perspective to the organizations & patients that will benefit from Column of Hope’s efforts.
Kevin worked to found Column of Hope with the rest of the board of directors because his wife Lisa suffers from both Chiari malformation and syringomyelia. While she is not a surgical candidate at this time, they have dealt with the various issues surrounding these conditions. Medical issues include selecting physicians, developing treatment programs, and researching alternatives. Non-medical issues include coping, insurance, private disability, social security disability, and support organizations. In addition, they help others to avoid treading the same ground with each new diagnosis.
Kevin enjoys college football and has been a die-hard Purdue fan for 30 years and counting! Kevin and Lisa are involved in Greyhound rescue and always have at least 3 of them lounging around their Chicago home along with a couple of (also rescued) cats.
Jeff Miller - Treasurer
Jeff’s interest in syringomyelia and Chiari malformation began with his mother’s diagnosis in 1990. After witnessing the devastation they could cause, he and the other members of the board of directors founded Column of Hope.
Jeff has over 35 years of experience in industrial management and has worked for a variety of Connecticut manufacturers. He is certified in Production and Inventory Management by the American Production and Inventory Control Society, and has served as Director of Research for its New Haven chapter.
Barbara Kane - Secretary
Barbara is a retired special education teacher, with 29 years of experience in her field. She is considered to be a highly qualified teacher in the areas of special education, science, math, English language arts and social studies. Her years of experience have proven to be extremely useful in aiding parents who have children with Chiari malformation, syringomyelia, neuropathic pain and/or spinal cord injury, among other disabling conditions. She has advised parents on how to obtain a free and appropriate public education for their disabled children.
Barbara worked to found Column of Hope with her husband, Mark, and the rest of the board of directors because her daughter was diagnosed with Chiari malformation and syringomyelia in 1994. Laura had brain decompression, subarachnoid shunt placement in her spinal cord and a subarachnoid shunt revision, all at the age of 9. In 2001, it was discovered that Laura’s spinal cord was tethered. In June of that year, Laura had a fourth surgery to have her cord untethered. Her fifth and sixth surgeries were in March of 2007. She continues to work in a demanding career despite daily pain and symptoms. Barbara works hard to put her expertise to use in leading Column of Hope to success because Laura and other family members are deeply affected by Chiari malformation and syringomyelia.
Barbara enjoys spending time with her family. She also volunteers with Mark at their alma mater, State University of New York at Geneseo. Mark and Barbara met there during their freshmen year of college and have been together ever since. Their three children and son-in-law are also all SUNY Geneseo graduates. In addition, Barbara earned a Master of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. Mark and Barbara volunteer at various activities at SUNY Geneseo, such as participating on the Family Panel at Freshman Orientation since Laura started college, and events to teach current Geneseo students networking skills. To relax Barbara enjoys spending time with her family, reading, knitting, and playing the piano.