Parent Advisory Committee

Home / About / Parent Advisory Committee

The mission of the NANT Parent Advisory Committee, NANT-PAC, is to enhance the work of the NANT consortium by providing parent and family input during the development and conduct of NANT clinical trials, to assist with effective communication to the neuroblastoma family community and related foundations, to develop educational tools for families, to assist with fundraising, and to provide support to families participating in NANT trials. The NANT-PAC is composed of neuroblastoma parents, the NANT Medical Liaison (pediatric oncologist), and the NANT Administrative Director and has quarterly virtual meetings. 

If you or your child is entering on a NANT trial, please feel free to contact NANT-PAC members for support. Please remember these are parents, like you.  They are not medical professionals.  Any advice regarding treatment options and your child’s disease should be directed to your physicians and not to NANT-PAC members.

Parents/guardians of patients with high-risk neuroblastoma who are interested in becoming a member of NANT-PAC should contact the NANT Operations Center at 323-361-5687 or New members require approval of the current NANT-PAC members and the NANT Executive Committee.  

If you would like to get in contact with any of the NANT-PAC members listed below, 

please contact the NANT Operations Center at

Susan Guisto (Chair) 

Susan and her husband, Steve, formed Friends of Cathryn–FRoC Foundation in 2010 when their (then) 5 year old daughter, Cathryn, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. FRoC raised funds for NANT and supported families of children battling cancer.  Cathryn is a neuroblastoma survivor and happy college student who inspires Susan every day. Susan and Steve live in Southern California and are now empty nesting parents to Cathryn  (20), Grace (21), and their dog Sammy. Susan has been a NANT-PAC member since 2010, has volunteered at Childrens Hospital Orange County,  sits on the board of the CHLA Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute, and is a member of CAC2 (Coalition Against Childhood Cancer). She is focused on delayed diagnosis of children's cancer and has presented her research to several children's cancer institutions. She is also active in cancer survivor issues. Susan enjoyes hiking , swimming, reading, and travel.. Susan has an undergraduate degree from UCLA and an MBA from University of San Francisco. Prior to departing the corporate world for raising her girls, Susan worked for The American Express Company, based out of New York. 

Heather DeBruin 

Heather lost her 2-year-old son Wade to stage 4 MYCN amplified neuroblastoma on November 12, 2011 after a 6-month battle. Soon after she formed Wade’s Army in an effort to raise money for neuroblastoma research and to support families through their battle with cancer. Heather has also been an advocate for Childhood Cancer with the Alliance for Childhood Cancer since the death of her son. She believes in the power of collaboration and the importance of research to change the outcome for children with cancer. Heather has a Bachelors of Art from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. Prior to Wade’s battle with cancer, Heather worked in healthcare direct marketing. She currently lives in Dublin, Ireland with her husband, 2 daughters and son. 

Antonia Palmer 

Antonia Palmer founded Neuroblastoma Canada in 2010 after her oldest son, Nathaniel (Nate), was diagnosed with stage 4 MYCN amplified high-risk neuroblastoma at the age of 2 1/2 years old. Nathaniel was treated on COG protocols at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada; however, he suffered a central nervous system relapse near the end of treatment and was enrolled in the 8H9 protocol at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Antonia is the Executive Director of Kindred Foundation and also co-founded Advocacy for Canadian Childhood Oncology Research Network (Ac2orn).  She volunteers for a number of cancer organizations across Canada, the US, and internationally.  Antonia holds a master’s degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo and lives in Ontario with her husband Aaron and three beautiful boys, Nate, Alex and Jonathan.

Lara Weberling 

Lara lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, Kevin, and pets Smokey and Cher.  Her daughter Elle lives and works nearby.  The Weberlings lost their precious Hans at age 9 in 2012, after a 6-year fight with MYCN-amplified stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma. Hans was treated at several NANT sites across the country and was on multiple clinical trials.  Lara learned early on that facing neuroblastoma is best done with the support of other parents and families.  After losing Hans, she founded Neuroblastoma-Parents, Angels, Caregivers and Kids (N-PACK), a neuroblastoma family support group at CHLA, to create a vehicle for parents to support one another through treatment.  She has served on NANT-PAC since 2013. Since 2015, Team Hans has raised funds for pediatric cancer research at CHLA through running, biking and doing an ocean swim in the Malibu Triathlon.  She works for the Red Cross in the blood banking program, feeling gratified that her work helps ensure that blood products are available to pediatric cancer patients when needed.  She always has at least a couple of books going, and loves being outside-walking, biking, hiking & working in the yard, but most of all she loves grabbing time with family and friends.

Gavin Lindberg

Gavin Lindberg is President and Co-Founder of the Evan's Victory Against Neuroblastoma Foundation. Gavin and his wife Wendy established The EVAN Foundation in 2011 in memory of their only child who passed away from neuroblastoma at the age of 7. The Foundation is a national non-profit serving childhood cancer patients, families, survivors, and investigators. The organization drives progress through its patient and survivor wellness, research, as well as advocacy and awareness programs.  

In addition to his work with The EVAN Foundation and NANT, Gavin serves as a patient advocate on the National Cancer Institute’s Pediatric Immunotherapy Network, the NCI’s Pediatric & Adolescent Solid Tumor Steering Committee, the Cancer Grand Challenges award-winning NexTGen and KOODAC Teams, and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation's Empowering Pediatric Immunotherapies for Childhood Cancer (EPICC) Team. 

From 2007 - 2011, Gavin served as the Founding President of the Band of Parents, a neuroblastoma research charity based in New York.  In 2023, Gavin was appointed to the board of directors of Alice’s Arc US, a non-profit focused on rhabdomyosarcoma.  Gavin and Wendy are also outspoken advocates for improved end-of-life care for terminally ill children and their families. They live in Germantown, MD.

Donna Ludwinski

Active as a research advocate since her son Erik battled neuroblastoma (diagnosed in 1991 at age 6 and died in 2010 at age 24), Donna has been involved in the neuroblastoma parent community for decades. She tracks clinical trial research in pediatric cancers, attends oncology meetings, constantly surveys the medical literature, and mentors young advocates. She serves on the NCI Pediatric Central Review Board, NCI Pediatric and Adolescent Solid Tumor Steering Committee, FDA Patient Representative for Advisory Committees, NANT Parent Advisory Council, prior founding Board of Directors of CAC2 (Coalition Against Childhood Cancer), DOD CMCRP Rare Cancers Research Programmatic Panel, SIOPEN Advocates Committee, and ACCELERATE Steering Committee. Donna has worked for Solving Kids' Cancer since 2010 managing research programs and for Solving Kids' Cancer UK supporting neuroblastoma families and serving on the research team since 2015. Donna has authored several peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on pediatric oncology. She has a BS in Chemical Engineering.  Donna lives in Virginia with her husband Paul and enjoys time with three grown children, their spouses, and 8 grandchildren. Pickleball consumes all her free time.

Pat Tallungan

Pat lives in Bloomingdale, IL with her dogs Stacy & Marcell and babysitting duties for her son’s dog, Sully (a beagle puppy).  Pat lost her son Nick in 1999.  Nick was diagnosed at age 6 and lost his battle at age 10.   She and her husband started the Children’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation (CNCF) in 2000.  The primary focus of CNCF is to fund research, provide parent education resources and to increase awareness of neuroblastoma in the community.  CNCF has funded nearly $3 million in research at hospitals & institutions across the country including NANT sites.  We have supported the NANT Operations Center as well funding critical new clinical trials.

CNCF has sponsored 23 Parent & Caregiver Education Conferences with attendance of parents and medical professionals from all over the world.  We have also helped to start the first ever parent conferences in the UK for European families. CNCF has an extensive online Parent Handbook written by neuroblastoma parents and physicians that cover many topics of the neuroblastoma journey.

Pat was the administrator for 4 years of one of the first online support groups for neuroblastoma parents. She joined NANT-PAC in 2023 to help further the number of clinical trials available to children with relapsed/refractory neuroblastoma.  Pat enjoys spending time with her two grandchildren, working in the yard and taking her dogs for a walk.  She’s excited to be a part of the NANT-PAC and making a difference in the lives of families battling neuroblastoma.

Megan Nelson

Megan’s daughter Ella was diagnosed with MYCN amplified, Stage 4 high-risk neuroblastoma in 2020 at the age of 2. She and her husband made the life-changing decision to uproot their family and move across the country to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for Ella's therapy.  After an early relapse and enrollment in a successful clinical trial, Ella completed treatment in 2022.  Megan works in Research Strategic Operations for a CAR-T cell therapy company with the hopes of finding more effective, less toxic treatments for cancer patients worldwide.  In addition to serving as a member of NANT-PAC, Megan serves on the Board of Trustees for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as an advocacy committee member.  Megan also leads the Neuroblastoma-Parents, Angels, Caregivers and Kids (N-PACK) support group for families impacted by neuroblastoma in the Los Angeles area. She earned her B.S. in Sociology with a minor in Systems Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Megan lives in Redondo Beach, CA with her husband, Marcus, and children Francis, 3, and Ella, 5.

Lindsay Jackson

Lindsay's daughter, Evelyn, was diagnosed at 20 months of age with MYCN amplified, ALK-mutated high-risk neuroblastoma. She was initially treated on a Phase 3 trial with the ALK inhibitor lorlatinib. This targeted therapy was supported by pre-clinical testing and a Phase 1 trial done by NANT investigators. Evelyn recovered from life-threatening side effects of conventional therapies only to relapse 6 months later. A year into relapse, Evelyn still has treatment options to target her aggressive disease thanks to research supported by NANT. After discovering her daughter’s relapses with molecular screening, witnessing precision medicine provide her daughter a better quality of life, and learning first-hand how important each participant is to a trial, Lindsay is motivated to be a voice for a better standard of care driven by quality research and investigative partnership with those currently in treatment. Lindsay has a BS in Biology and is a licensed Registered Nurse. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Adam, daughters Ellie (7) and Evelyn (4) and son Gus (2). 

Dr. Judith Villablanca (Medical Liaison)

NANT Medical Liaison (Oncologist) Dr. Judith Villablanca was the founding Medical Director of the NANT Operations Center (2000-2010) and founding co-Leader of the NANT consortium with Dr. Matthay. She is a Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She is an experienced clinical investigator with a focus on novel therapies for neuroblastoma, and has led multiple trials in both COG and NANT. She is the medical liaison for the NANT Parent Advisory Committee, and the NANT fundraising coordinator 

Courtney Magdaleno

NANT Administrative Director Ms. Magdaleno is responsible for overseeing the administrative structure of the NANT Operations Center for all clinical, regulatory, and budgetary functions. She provides administrative support for NANT-PAC, the NANT public website, and philanthropic fundraising. 

Past Members