Stacie Hansen

Chair, Executive Committee chair@marklinderwalkforthemind.org

I am proud to serve on the Walk for the Mind committee in honor of my brother Mark Linder. Creating the Walk and building a community of support for survivors was Mark’s passion. For over a decade the Walk has grown exponentially because of the team he built, their passion and their commitment to raising awareness, community and support then funneling that support into local research and care.

In 2018, I joined the Committee and serve as a director, to continue Mark’s passion, to honor the survivors, to provide support for families and loved ones and to always remember those that have fought so courageously and are not longer with us.

Sally Wecker

Vice-President, Executive Committee

I met Mark at the ABTA Family Weekend in the summer of 2003 which I attended in the hopes of meeting others with a brain tumor--I felt so alone with my journey since my diagnosis and craniotomy in January 2002. You could have knocked me down with a feather to not only meet others but to meet Mark and his mom in the Meet and Greet session, finding out that not only did he live in Peoria, but that he was planning a Walk to raise awareness and benefit the American Brain Tumor Association. It amazed me that here I was, in a room that seemed to be filled with 500 people who shared the same/similar experience with me and now I knew someone in Peoria, too! I was able to help with that 1st Walk and have been on the committee ever since. I get referrals often to talk with others that have been diagnosed with a brain tumor and talk, visit, comfort and reassure them through their journey in an effort to give them company so they do not have to walk alone. I knew I had to help others. Brain Tumor Survivor, Atypical Meningioma

Amanda Smith

Treasurer, Executive Committee amanda@marklinderwalkforthemind.org

My mother, Mary Bennett, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme on April 1, 2006. I spent almost every day with her as she went through surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and other trials, helping her live life as best as she could until she passed away in October 2007. I attended my first Walk in 2006 to find she was not the only one is the area with a brain tumor. I joined the committee in 2010 to support brain tumor survivors and raise awareness and funds for brain tumor research. My hope is, one day soon, there will be a cure for brain tumors.

Sonja Ahrens

Secretary, Executive Committee sahrens@heylroyster.com

I was 38 with a daughter who had just turned 4 when I was diagnosed with and treated for a Meningioma brain tumor. I was just getting back on my feet and returning to work when the 1st Annual Walk for the Mind was being planned. I had heard about the walk through co-workers, as I work for the law firm where Mark's father is an attorney. After the first walk, Mark and several of the survivors got together and started a support group. It was then that I realized to completely heal emotionally I needed to find a purpose and an outlet for what I had gone through. I needed to become a part of the Walk committee. That was 15 years ago. For me personally, if it hadn't been for Mark's vision and courage to create the Walk, I'm not sure where I would be today. In honor of Mark's memory, I'm committed to the continued success of this Walk.

Brenda Hunter

Planning Committee

Joined a few years ago.

Our 2021 MVP!

Peggy Flannigan

Planning Committee

I joined the Walk for the Mind committee immediately after the first Walk when I asked Mark Linder, the founder of the Walk, if I could help the following year. I was so excited when I got the flyer in the mail for that first Walk, that I knew it was something I just had to be involved with. I had been diagnosed with a brain tumor only a year earlier and at the first Walk for the Mind, I felt like I had just found a network of friends that could relate to my experience. It was important to me to join forces with this group. Together we could do something to help others who would be diagnosed with a brain tumor. Mark and I became friends through the Walk for the Mind, but only a few short weeks after the 3rd Annual Walk, he lost his battle with brain cancer. Each time I lost a friend, my commitment to the Walk was reinforced. I realized that brain tumors would continue to claim friends until the day we find a cure. I feel so fortunate that my tumor diagnosis has not prevented me from continuing Mark’s mission to raise awareness of brain tumors and money for research on brain tumors. My hope is that someday brain tumors will be in our past.

Pat Heck

Planning Committee

I am serving as secretary for the Mark Linder Walk for the Mind. My husband John was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma Multiforme tumor in January 2006. The doctors told us he had 3 to 6 months to live. But we know only God knows the time we have.

We attended two ABTA conferences and felt there was some hope and found out that we were not alone in this battle. We attended two of the Walks before my husband passed away in November 2007. Since that time I joined the committee to help in any small way I can to further the research in this deadly disease and let people know that there is Hope and Support for them while they battle brain tumors.

Janet Jackson

Planning Committee

I became involved with the Mark Linder Walk for the Mind for three reasons. One reason is because I value what they do. Their charter is to raise awareness of brain tumors and raise money for research on brain tumors. And that money they raise stays right here in Central Illinois helping facilitate brain tumor research at the University Of Illinois College Of Medicine at Peoria. Second, my grandfather died from a brain tumor when I was in grade school. Even, though I was young, I remember very vividly the impact on our family. It was the first time I had ever seen my father cry. Lastly, it is because of my good friend, Peggy Flannigan, a brain tumor survivor and Chairman of Mark Linder Walk for the Mind Planning Committee. She inspires me with her passion for this cause and tireless support to make the Mark Linder Walk for the Mind a success! I am glad to help in any way I can to support the walk and its cause. 

Mandy Eichelberger

Planning Committee

A few days after my sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I saw a sign for the 2016 Walk for the Mind. I immediately signed up for the walk, but ended up missing it as my sister's surgery was scheduled for the same day. After seeing the level of care that my sister received right here in Central Illinois, I knew that I wanted to not only participate in the following Walks, but also join the committee that organizes and plans events throughout the year to help fund local research and brain tumor support.

Mark Alig

Planning Committee

Rejoined 2021

Nate Darko

Planning Committee

Joined 2021

Jennifer Dawson

Planning Committee

Joined 2021

Colleen Clark

Planning Committee

Joined 2021

Kathy Nixon

Planning Committee

Joined 2021

Tammy Finch

Planning Committee

Joined 2020

Megan Swan

Planning Committee

Joined 2021