Karen Anthony, President - Executive Board - [email protected]
Karen is President and co-founder of RJ Children’s Haven. She began her career as a Licensed Practical Nurse in 1971. Working as a nurse and a mother, Karen returned to school and became a Registered Nurse in 1995. Karen started in Bone Marrow Transplantation with Heart of American Bone Marrow Donor Registry in January 1989 where she was responsible for coordinating with marrow donors from all over the US. While working under the auspices of the National Bone Marrow Donor Program (now called - Be the Match). She set up the Unrelated Bone Marrow Harvesting Center at Research Hospital in Kansas City. A few responsibilities included finding and bringing unrelated donors to Kansas City, preparation and calculation of marrow, and couriering the marrow to a waiting recipient in the US and abroad.
Karen has a true love and passion for children and in 1998 she accepted an offer to work with Children’ Mercy Hospital as the Stem Cell Transplant Nurse Coordinator for a new and growing segment of the hospital’s practice. During her time there, she was responsible for matching children with potential donors, setting up stem cell harvesting procedures, and managing the process of a child’s transplantation through admission and infusion of stem cells. While Karen’s contributions to the program were significant, she became more aware of the challenges that the children, and families of the children she transplanted, faced after discharged. Karen retired after a 16 year period in the fall of 2014 to focus her efforts on addressing these challenges.
“It became evident while watching these children undergoing therapy, and those getting lost in the necessary grips of the process, that there was much more that we could do to help enhance their recovery. Along with parents and several medical persons we started RJ Children’s Haven.”
Wanda Gooch, Vice President, Executive Director/Treasurer - Executive Board - [email protected]
Wanda Gooch is Vice President and co-founder of RJ Children’s Haven. Wanda began her career as an LPN in 1978. Working as a nurse and mom, Wanda returned to school and became an RN. She has worked as a Registered nurse for Consultants in Gastroenterology for 34 for years as both a Physician nurse and ambulatory surgery staff nurse. She has been a volunteer for Boy Scout troop 383 teaching First Aide and was a camp buddy at Camp Quality of Greater Kansas City. Her hobbies include biking, clogging, traveling and spending time with her family. Her son Jason, who was also a registered nurse, wanted to help children with cancer after also spending a session as a camp buddy at Camp Quality. He is the “J” in RJ Children’s Haven. He saw the struggles they faced with having cancer and wanted to make a difference in their lives. After losing his life in a tragic car accident, Wanda now works to carry on that vision. With the help of other board members, she strives to help these children by creating a safe place to be while they are healing. Thus, RJ Children’s Haven was created.
Robin Harris, Executive Director/Secretary - Executive Board - [email protected]
Robin is an Executive Board member for RJ Children’s Haven. She is part of the management team of 2 major community served clinics for the St. Luke’s Hospital. Robin began her career in healthcare over 30 years ago, and for twelve years, she worked at Children’s Mercy Hospital as the Anatomic Pathology Clinical Manager in the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Departments before moving to her current position of Management at the St. Luke’s Healthcare System. Her skill set includes organizational management and leadership, analytical and problem solving, communication strategies and team building. She is seasoned in training operations for Word, Publisher, Excel and PowerPoint. She also has produced, maintained and operated websites. Robin is married and loves her 2 dogs, Lil Miss and Charlie Ray. She has a Master’s in Organizational Management and a 2nd Master’s in HR Management. She has a MBA Certificate from Avila University and is a Certified Administrative Professional in Organizational Management. She has been diligently involved in volunteering and supporting various Foundations and Non-Profit organizations including RJ Children’s Haven Immune Recovery Daycare.