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Our Organization

Our organization was founded by the family of Sarah Pauline Gonsalves to carry on the legacy of a dear wife, daughter, sister, mother, and friend, who gained her wings after a brave battle against adrenal cortical carcinoma (ACC). Before passing away in October 2017, she expressed her wish for others facing ACC to receive the support necessary to fight this rare disease, as well as her wish to find a cure and beat adrenal cortical carcinoma once and for all. The original Memorial Fund was established to honor Sarah's wishes and keep her legacy of bravery alive.

In early 2021, Sarah's family graciously joined forces with the family and legacy of Kathleen Deegan Hughes, who, like Sarah, bravely fought and ultimately lost her own battle with ACC far too young. Her life and story reached globally. Her own hope, identical to Sarah's, was to prevent even one person from suffering in the way that she had. The mission of the new "ACC Warriors" remains unchanged, but our force and our reach are stronger together. The organization honors the massive legacies of both Sarah and Kathleen, among so many other brave warriors of this disease.

Our Organization
Our Board

Michael Abasciano

President, Founder

Michael Abasciano is one of the original founders of ACC Warriors. Michael's sister, Sarah Gonsalves, was inspired to create a non-profit organization to raise ACC awareness following her own ACC diagnosis at age 32. When Sarah passed away in 2017, less than one year after her diagnosis, Michael set to work making her dream a reality. 


Michael is a Certified Public Accountant as well as a Certified Fraud Examiner who owns his own consulting firm, Harborside Advisory. He resides in Massachusetts with his wife, Jessica, and their two children, who inherited a passion for soccer from their Auntie Sarah. In his free time, Michael enjoys coaching his kids and watching them play sports.

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Carolyn Ermak

Board Member


Carolyn discovered ACC Warriors while looking for support after her sister, Kathleen, was diagnosed with stage 4 ACC in December 2018 at the age of 28. Michael and the organization provided not only informational support about doctors and treatments, but emotional support and a listening ear. Tragically, Kathleen lost her battle with ACC on January 24, 2020 at the age of 29. In August of that year, Carolyn officially joined ACC Warriors as a board member. Through the organization, her hope is to carry on Kathleen’s wish of educating people to pay close attention to their health, as well as create awareness about and help people dealing with ACC.

Carolyn is a heart rhythm device specialty nurse in the electrophysiology department at Geisinger Medical Center, in Danville, PA. She lives in Danville with her three kids. She enjoys running, reading, and traveling   

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Lou Ellis

Board Member

Lou was introduced to ACC when his wife of 27 years at the time, Tammy, was diagnosed with Stage IV ACC in October of 2021. Tammy had gone in for an abdominal ultrasound for a
seemingly unrelated issue. The ultrasound reveled a large mass on her right adrenal gland, 12
lung nodules and a mass in her inferior vena cava. She went on to spend a week in the hospital
being worked up with the final diagnosis of Stage IV ACC. Initially she was presented with a survival prognosis of 8 months if she was lucky. Being the overachiever that she was she lasted 12 months and succumbed to her disease in October of 2022 at the age of 56. During this time, she experienced chemotherapy, surgery, and biological immunotherapy. She never lost her sense of humor, passion for life and for her family including her two adult children both of
whom she was able to watch get married.


Lou joined the ACC Warriors Board of Directors in April of 2023. He retired in April of 2022 after spending 35 years in Pharmaceutical and Biopharma sales with most of that time in the Oncology therapeutic sector. During this time, he developed a passion for serving patients working with his customers to help provide access solutions and educational resources. With
the passing of his wife, Tammy, he wanted to leverage his experience to increase awareness and resources in this very rare and serious disease and to ultimately help serve the ACC community and the patients diagnosed with ACC. As well as being a recent retiree he had plenty of time on his hands to help contribute. He is a Northern California native and resides in the Greater Sacramento area. He possesses a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and an MBA.


Paul Abasciano

Director, Treasurer

Paul Abasciano is a native of Massachusetts retiring to Hilton Head, South Carolina in 2015. His plans were to spend a lot of time on the beach, enjoying nature, travel, church and especially his now seven grandchildren. Those plans changed when his daughter, Sarah Gonsalves, passed away from ACC in 2017. During her brief but courageous battle with ACC Paul and Sarah had many conversations about finding a cure and helping families with this one in a million disease. Shortly after she passed with the help of his son Mike and many others Sarah’s ACC Warriors, now ACC Warriors, was born as a way to make her dreams a reality.


As an owner/operator of CX Computer Exchange of Northboro for over 20 years Paul has supported many nonprofits, schools, towns and businesses with both their professional and charitable work.  In addition to ACC Warriors Paul is currently on the leadership council for Alpha at St. Luke’s Church in Hilton Head. Paul is dedicated to supporting the wonderful doctors and scientists attempting to find a cure for ACC as well as the families afflicted by this disease.


Morgan Deegan

Board Member

Morgan experienced first hand the devastation caused by ACC alongside her sister-in-law, Kathleen, who was diagnosed at age 28 and lost her battle a short 13 months later. Kathleen's mission was to advocate for health awareness. Morgan accepted a position on the board of ACC Warriors in early 2021 to carry out that mission, and to make as great an impact as possible in the fight to fund research and eventually cure ACC in honor of Kathleen.

Morgan completed her Master of Science degree in Occupational Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in 2013. She specialized in neurological rehabilitation treating patients with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. She has since obtained board certification in hand therapy, allowing her to provide specialized treatment for disorders of the upper extremity.


Alison Lopes

Board Member


Alison Lopes is one of the original board members of ACC Warriors.  Alison’s friend, Sarah Gonsalves, requested that a non-profit organization be created to increase awareness of ACC.  Alison assisted Michael and Paul Abasciano in the creation of ACC Warriors.  


Alison is a special education teacher with a specialization in autism.  She completed her Master of Science degree in Education and teaching certification in Severe Disabilities (Levels All) in MA and SC and an Early Childhood Special Education teaching certification in SC. She also has certification in the Wilson Reading Program from St. Joseph's University. She has also been an applied behavior analysis (ABA) coordinator, lead therapist for children diagnosed with autism, and a behavioral consultant with various private schools.


She lives in Hilton Head, SC with her husband, 3 children and dog. She enjoys spending time with her friends/family and going to the beach.

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Jenny Filkins

Board Member

Jenny learned about ACC Warriors when looking for ways to find a community, raise awareness, and help others affected by adrenal cancer. Jenny unfortunately lost her mother, Andrea Filkins, to ACC after a quick stage 4 diagnosis in 2019. Until the diagnosis, neither Jenny or her mom had ever heard of adrenal cancer. At that time, the diagnosis felt very isolating. Jenny was born and raised in western Massachusetts, but now lives full-time on Hilton Head Island. During her mom’s illness in 2019, she spent much of her time split between South Carolina and hospitals in Boston.


She works as a full-time Realtor on Hilton Head Island and is looking forward to helping those effected by adrenal cancer to know that they are not alone during their journey.

Our Mission
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Our Mission
  • Assist families afflicted with ACC.

  • Help fund research to find a cure and improve treatment.

  • Assist those entering the fields of education or medicine.

  • We are a 501(c)(3) not for profit public charity foundation. Officially known as the “Sarah Pauline Gonsalves ACC Memorial Fund," we refer to our organization and its supporters as “ACC Warriors.”

Our Board
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