Board of Directors

Carrie Favaro - PresidentCarrie Favaro

Carrie is a speech therapist at Beekmantown Middle School in West Chazy, New York . She resides in Saranac, New York, with her husband, Craig, and daughter, Kiera. She is the aunt of Hannah Sames, the namesake of Hannah’s Hope for G.A.N. and is sister to Lori Sames, Executive Director. She is constantly in awe of the progress that Hannah’s Hope for G.A.N. has made since her nieces diagnosis in March of 2008. She feels it is a blessing that newly diagnosed families have an organization to turn to when they learn of their child’s diagnosis and that a treatment for G.A.N. is in the making.

Carrie is the aunt of Hannah Sames, the inspiration of Hannah’s Hope for G.A.N. and sister to Lori Sames, Executive Director. She is committed to helping patients with G.A.N. get their life-saving treatment, as is the rest of her family.

Beth Haig - SecretaryBeth Haig

Beth Haig has been a registered nurse since 1993, she attended Albany Memorial School of Nursing, and also graduated from SUNY Canton with an AAS in Hotel Technology.

She has been friends with Lori and Matt Sames since childhood, they are an extended part of my own family. Beth often thinks of how proud she is of them both and the work and progress that has been made in the fight to cure children with GAN. Beth and her husband Walter and their two daughters live in Rexford within shouting distance of the Sames family. Beth is currently employed at the Eddy Visiting Nurses and in her spare time likes to run marathons with board member Erkia Ligouri.

Lagenia ClarkLagenia Clark

Lagenia graduated cum laude from Vanderbilt with a degree in Economics in 1990.  Immediately upon graduation, she served as an active duty Military Intelligence Officer in the U.S. Army for 3 years (including Desert Storm).  After receiving her MBA from Boston University, she worked in medical device sales in Houston until the birth of her twins in 2000.  She now works part-time as a team coordinator for Kids Triathlon Inc., a non-profit. She resides in Bellaire, TX with her husband, Dave, and fraternal twin boys, Jared and Justin, and daughter, Lexi.  

Since two of her children were diagnosed with G.A.N in the fall of 2013, Lagenia now spends the majority of her time trying to find a cure for G.A.N.   Justin, created the campaign, Justin’s TRIumph over GAN to help spread awareness in the Houston area and was the guest speaker at the Hope and Love Ball in 2014. 

Joe KakatyJoe Kakaty

Joe serves as Chief Marketing Officer for College Loan Corporation (CLC) and has been responsible for all school sales and marketing activities since 2000. Over the past decade, Joe’s leadership helped CLC become the nation’s 7th largest student loan originator and today the Company remains the 10th largest holder of student loan assets. Prior to his current position, Mr. Kakaty was Director of Business Development for FastWeb, Inc. and he spent four years as a top performing regional sales manager for PNC Bank’s education loan division. Mr. Kakaty received his B.S. degree in Business Administration & Marketing from the State University of New York, College at Brockport and has been honored for his outstanding service to the Brockport Alumni Association . He also serves as Board member for Ventegy, LLC as well as the St. Clements Regional Catholic School board. He and his wife, Josey, have 3 children and live in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Matt SamesMatt Sames

Matt is Co-Founder of Hannah's Hope Fund and Hannah's Father. Married to Lori and proud father of Madison and Reagan, too, he helps spearhead the fundraising, marketing and management of our Public Charity. Matt worked for over 18 years in various Management positions at TV stations in Plattsburgh, Burlington, VT, Syracuse, Buffalo and Albany, NY. In the fall of 2007, he started a new career and launched a company called Pet Lodges, Inc., which operates 5 doggie daycare and boarding facilities, a pet food and supply store and bottle redemption center. Matt is sole owner of Sames Media Group, which does consulting work with law firms around the country. Matt has a B.A. from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, NY. However, his main mission is to save his daughter and every other child who has GAN.

Todd Silaika

Todd is a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in Clifton Park NY.  Born and raised in Schenectady, Todd graduated from Niskayuna High School, then attended Hudson Valley Community College. In 1992 he graduated from SUNY Albany, Summa Cum Laude, from the school of business.  Todd and his wife  Beth, have six children:  Karen, Victoria, Isabella, Xavier, Sophia and Genevieve.  Xavier and Hannah have been classmates since kindergarten, and this connection extended to a friendship between the Sames and the Silaika families.  Beth and Todd have been and continue to be involved in Hannah’s Hope Fund and are praying for a cure for GAN.

Alex J. Tronco, CLU, ChFC, CFP, CASLAlex Tronco 
Managing Partner/Northwestern Mutual

Alex was born in Sicily in 1974 and came to the United State when he was 8 years old.

He attended Colonie High School and then Siena College where he graduated in 1997 with a degree in Business Administration, with a specialty in Marketing.

Alex joined Northwestern Mutual after graduation as a Financial Representative.  He attained Million Dollar Round Table since 2000, and was awarded MDRT Court of the Table in 2003 & 2007, and attained Northwestern Mutual Forum in 2006.  In addition to his sales responsibilities, he became a Managing Director and mentored 10 Financial Reps in his unit. 

In February 2009, Alex was named Managing Partner of the Latham Office of Northwestern Mutual.  The organization has offices in Latham, Albany, Saratoga, Glens Falls, Bennington & Pittsfield and has grown its field force to 70 Financial Advisors.  The annual First Year Commission has increased by 30% over the last 5 years.   

In addition to Alex’s many responsibilities in management, he donates much of his time to Siena College and SUNY-Albany, and does extensive charitable work with The Center for Disability Services, The Ronald McDonald House, Hannah’s Hope Fund, St. Peter’s Hospital Foundation, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Albany Medical Center & the American Diabetes Association.  Alex’s efforts along with his associates have raised in excess of $1.2 million in the last 5 years. 

Alex lives in Loudonville NY with his wife Gina, and daughters, Julia, Isabella and Olivia.  He enjoys spending time with his family, reading, playing tennis, and being active with his daughters and in his community.

Sandy Harding 

Sandy is a life-long Rotterdam, NY resident.  She resides there with her husband, Dave Farstad.  They have 4 children – Matthew, Emmy, Ian and Ben.  She graduated with a BS in Psychology from the University at Albany and a MBA in accounting from Union College.  She presently is the CFO for The Tronco Financial Group in Latham, NY and the owner of her own small business – Sandy Harding & Associates in Schenectady, NY.

I met the Sames family through my brother, Paul, and continue to be in awe of the amazing job they have done fundraising and funding studies for GAN.  They are an inspiration to us all.  

Hannah's Hope Fund Staff

Lori Sames - CEO & Co-FounderLori Sames

Lori Sames received a Bachelor's degree in economics from St. Michael's College, in VT, in 1992. She worked for IDX Systems Corporation as a computer software installation consultant for healthcare until 1996. She then became a Senior Project Lead for integrated heath care delivery system installations. Before becoming a stay at home mom in 2001, prior to the birth of her second child, Reagan, she lead web-based software installations on wireless networks, in the outpatient setting for Allscripts. She helped with her husband's Pet Lodge businesses from time to time, while caring for her three daughters until her youngest daughter, Hannah, was diagnosed with GAN in March of 2008. From that moment forward her life has been dedicated to a treatment and cure of GAN, and making lasting memories for her family.

In Loving Memory

Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong

Karen, “Auntie,” Armstrong was Hannah’s Hope’s first Treasurer and the loving Aunt of Lori and Hannah Sames.

Karen passed away after a courageous battle with cancer on December 4, 2013.

Prior to her final cancer battle, Karen fought off cancer and sent it to remission multiple times.  One of the reasons she gave for continuing her courageous fight was that she “still had more to do for Hannah’s Hope.”  She was one of Hannah’s Hope’s most passionate and loving supporters as the charity took flight.

We remember Karen with the deepest love and gratitude and know that she is among the angels watching over and guiding Hannah’s Hope.  We honor her memory in our continued courageous and passionate fight against GAN.

You may read Karen's obituary here.

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