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 Board
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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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Kristy Gonsalves

Board Member

Kristy has a passion for supporting efforts related to cancer research and funding after losing two of her aunts to breast cancer at a young age, so it’s no surprise that
ACC Warriors’ mission immediately resonated with her upon joining the
organization in January 2019. In addition to ACC, Kristy supports Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund through her annual participation in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a 190-mile bike ride across Massachusetts. Professionally, Kristy works for The Siegfried Group supporting their continued growth and higher purpose through business development in the Boston market.
She works as a Trusted Business Advisor to create compelling relationships with leading financial executives. Kristy started her career with Ernst & Young as an
external auditor where she spent 6 years servicing her clients in the Insurance industry.

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Lucia Tejada

Board Member

Dr. Tejada received a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia, where she conducted research in the field of behavioral neuroendocrinology. Her research interests included exploring the underlying molecular basis of sexual dimorphisms in brain and behavior as well as the correlation between sociability and decision making in humans. Since her time in academia Lucia has served a business development executive designing, developing, fundraising and launching multiple award-winning initiatives for non-profit organizations in healthcare.

 

Both at the personal and professional level, Lucia is greatly passionate about supporting underserved communities especially those suffering from endocrine-related conditions. 

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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.

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Morgan Deegan

Board Member

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.

 

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.

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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.   

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Kait Folinus

Board Member

Kait graduated from Bentley University with a BS in Corporate Finance and Accounting and a Masters Degree in accounting. She is a CPA with over 12 years of public accounting experience and currently works at RSM as a senior manager in the audit practice. Kait works with privately held and publicly held clients in the life sciences industry.

 

She joined the Board of Directors of ACC Warriors in 2018 and is passionate about supporting the cause for a cure from a different angle in the non-profit sector.

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Amanda Stone

Board Member

Mandie is a wife, a mother of 3, a daughter, a sister and an ACC Warrior! She was diagnosed Oct 17, 2017 with stage 4 Adrenocortical Carcinoma. She went through 8 rounds of EDP, surgery to remove the cancer, 25 sessions of radiation and endured 3 years of Mitotane, an aggressive drug with severe side effects. She has a huge passion for helping fellow ACC Warriors and their families affected by this horrible disease. She is motivated to educate as many people as possible. 

 

"I fight for my family. I fight for a cure. I fight for my fellow warriors who passed and those to come. And I fight for ME!" -Mandie

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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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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.”