About Us

Candlelighters of Brevard, Inc. is a non-profit organization offering emotional support and financial assistance to children with cancer and their families in Brevard and Indian River counties. We are dedicated to the children we serve and the families that support them. We know that in addition to the shock of diagnosis and treatment, there is a tremendous financial burden, an endless amount of travel, and an overwhelming emotional impact. A parent should never have to choose between being with their child when they need them the most or paying their bills. Too many families are weighed down by financial burdens at the worst time of their lives, as they try to save their child’s life.  Candlelighters is committed to ensuring that our local children and their families have the support and resources they need in order to fight back.

Candlelighters provides nearly 20 programs and services that help alleviate the financial and emotional stress related to pediatric cancer. Additionally, we host numerous family outings, engagement events, and experiences for families to heal as one unit. Our mission is to provide light amid the darkness that comes with battling a life-threatening disease.

Staff & Board of Directors

Since 1992, Candlelighters of Brevard has been instrumental in providing programs and services to children with cancer and their families. As the years progress, we tailor our services to fit the unique needs of childhood cancer families living in Brevard and Indian River County. The Candlelighters’ Board of Directors donates their time and expertise in leading this organization. Our board members work tirelessly to keep our programs and services alive for childhood cancer families.

Natasha Duran
arrow

Natasha Duran

Executive Director
close
info:
Natasha serves as Executive Director for Candlelighters of Brevard. She attended the University of Central Florida, receiving her degrees in advertising, public relations, and legal studies. Before joining Candlelighters in 2014, Natasha specialized in corporate strategy and development for Harris Corporation in the areas of University Relations, Corporate Relations, and the Harris Foundation’s Community Relations departments. Natasha was the award recipient of Lead Brevard’s “4 Under 40” and the Melbourne Chamber’s “Woman to Watch” Awards for her public and community service along with her career success. Her passion for the children of Candlelighters stems from her health challenges in battling Systemic Lupus – as she has experienced firsthand the treatment required when facing a life-threatening disease.
Adis Perez
arrow

Adis Perez

Director of Family Services
close
info:
Adis has been a “Candlelighter mom” since 1994 when her son was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumor at the age of two. In appreciation and gratitude for all the support she received from Candlelighters of Brevard, she became active in volunteering with fundraising events and in the resale store. In 2006, her passion and strong beliefs in the organization inspired her to become Director of Family Services. Using the positive outcome of her son’s experience, she welcomes new families with compassion, hope, and understanding of their difficult situation.
Carolyn Cook
arrow

Carolyn Cook

Resource Development Specialist
close
info:
Carolyn moved to Brevard County in 2016 and immediately connected with local organizations to help make a positive impact in her new community. Carolyn is driven by her interests in local government and community programs and holds a degree in Political Science. Before joining Candlelighters, she worked for the Melbourne Regional Chamber of Commerce. Carolyn has seen second hand the struggles this diagnosis confronts families with and is passionate in efforts to make a difference in their lives.
Samantha Roualet
arrow

Samantha Roualet

Operations Specialist
close
info:
Samantha holds a degree in Entrepreneurship and Management from Central Michigan University. She is experienced in customer service and quality development through her background working with Darden Restaurants and Starbucks industries. Samantha started in a volunteer capacity with Candlelighters in 2016. Since then, she has led the organization in the areas of operations, financials, technology, and more. The personal experiences Samantha brings to being part of a bereavement family enables her to show great compassion for the families of Candlelighters.
Brendan McCarthy
arrow

Brendan McCarthy

President
close
info:
Brendan has been a Financial Advisor for over 20 years and currently serves as Director of Wealth Management, at his company, Three Bridges Planning in Melbourne. A graduate of Florida State University, Brendan was born and raised in Brevard County. After his daughter, Julia, underwent successful brain surgery in 2008, he and his wife were inspired to serve families battling pediatric cancer. Brendan’s exceptional leadership of the board as Board President has led to the growth of the organization.
Stephanie Brown
arrow

Stephanie Brown

Member
close
info:
Stephanie holds a Nursing diploma from Allentown Hospital School of Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Pennsylvania State University. She practiced as a Cardiac Intensive Care Nurse for over 10 years. Stephanie has always been passionate about health care and the mission of Candlelighters. Stephanie’s involvement with L3Harris’ Community Relations initiatives has brought growth to Candlelighters in the areas of development, community partnerships, and donor relations.
Sandy Burge
arrow

Sandy Burge

Member
close
info:
Sandy is a Principal Business Relationship Manager for the Brevard County area of Wells Fargo Bank. She has 33 years of retail and business banking experience with Wells Fargo. Ms. Burge earned her bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Florida. Sandy is actively involved in the community and is passionate about community development and growth.
Tony Diana
arrow

Tony Diana

Member
close
info:
Tony is the President of Global Marketing Research Services. Tony is a marketing and business development leader with over 20 years of experience in various areas, including market research, property management, food services/restaurant, entertainment promotions, and film/professional photography. Tony has been a long-term top financial supporter of Candlelighters of Brevard and brings so much passion to the organization.
Kim Downs
arrow

Kim Downs

Member
close
info:
Kim is native to Brevard County as a graduate of Satellite High School. She returned to Brevard after graduating from the University of Florida. For 17 years, Kim held a lead volunteer position for the signature Have A Heart Gala. Kim brings compassion to the organization through her own experience as a bereavement family and a family with a child on treatment for a life-threatening disease.
Tracey Latshaw
arrow

Tracey Latshaw

Member
close
info:
Tracey is a co-owner of Brevard County Hyundai Dealers. The dealership, under the leadership of the Nelson family, has been the top corporate donor for Candlelighters over the past 20 years. Tracey has served as Event Chair for numerous Candlelighter fundraising events and initiatives. Under Tracey’s leadership, she and the dealership provide support to Candlelighters through the Angel Car Care Program, Employee Giving Program, Signature Sponsorships, Car Give-Away, Volunteer Engagement, Direct Contributions, and much more.
Mark Mikolajczyk
arrow

Mark Mikolajczyk

Member
close
info:
Mark is Director of Internal Operations for Craig Technologies in Cape Canaveral, FL. Before joining Craig Technologies, Mark was President and Publisher of FLORIDA TODAY Communications, the leading newspaper and digital publishing company in Brevard County, Florida. Mark is passionate about community development and has dedicated his time to acting as an ambassador for several local organizations.
Jim O’Brien
arrow

Jim O’Brien

Attorney
close
info:
Jim is a founding member of the Board of Directors for Candlelighters. Jim practices as the chair of corporate in the areas of business transactions, supply chain and estate planning at Lowndes. Prior to joining the firm, Jim founded a boutique business and real estate firm in Melbourne. Before that, he spent ten years working as a business and transactional lawyer representing private and public companies in Daytona Beach and Melbourne.
Linda Parker
arrow

Linda Parker

Member
close
info:
Linda’s oncology practice began at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, TN, where she worked for 14 years before moving to Melbourne and adult oncology in 1984. Years of working with and witnessing precious children and families cope, survive, and/or succumb to a cancer diagnosis, have made her a strong patient advocate. Linda is a founding member of Candlelighters and the board of directors.
Ross Whitley
arrow

Ross Whitley

Accountant
close
info:
Ross has extensive expertise in financial management, tax, and accounting for commercial enterprises, nonprofit and governmental entities, and employee benefit plans. Ross has over 25 years of experience primarily in accounting and management consulting. Ross donates countless hours to the organization each year as the Board Treasurer. His leadership of the board and its financials are deeply valued.

Nancy Dyer, Honorary Member

Edna Fairbanks-Smith, Honorary Member

Mike Moss, Honorary Member

Mike Spragins, Honorary Member

Charlotte Wienckoski, Honorary Member