Chop Cancer - Supporting the Cancer Survivors Park Alliance

Meet Our 2019 Crew

 

Child Chef Amassador: Myleigh McDowell

Myleigh McDowell, age 8, was diagnosed with Wilms Diffuse Anaplasia on Feb 3, 2018. She received 11 rounds of radiation and 10 rounds of chemotherapy over 1 day or a 4 day  inpatient cycle. Luckily, she had 4 brothers to keep her company during the summer and the weekends. In November, she had a lesion on her lung which turned out to be benign. She was declared in Remission January 2, 2019. Throughout treatment, Myleigh never lost her smile or her passion for dance.     

Child Chef Ambassador: Jack Williams

Jack Williams, age 4, was diagnosed with High Risk Pre-B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia on April 10, 2017 at 2.5 years old. With a 10 month old brother at home, Jack spent the next few weeks/months in the hospital receiving intense chemotherapy. After 8 months, Jack moved into the Long Term Maintenance phase of treatment where he continues to receive chemotherapy and other treatments. His end of Treatment date is set tentatively for July 2020. Jack is a kid full of life and even on his worst days he spends his time playing Superheros with his brother, running with his dad, and refusing to let Cancer slow him down.  

 

 

Child Chef Ambassador: Clara Lawrence

Clara Lawrence, 13, diagnosed with an aggressive, rare form of leukemia at 4 months.  She loves to travel, dance & swim. She loves helping Clements Kindness  and the Cancer Survivors Park. A few years ago she wrote for a coloring book supporting the Park: "Rain or shine is what people should remember when they go through anything scary. But remember everybody should have a little shine every day. Then, maybe, after some days of rain and sunshine, a rainbow will appear to light your day."
 

Emcee: Jane Robelot

Jane is a nationally acclaimed television news correspondent and anchor with two National Emmy Awards and a prestigious Peabody Award to her name.  A chef in the inaugural 2015 CHOP! Cancer event, Jane and her CHOP! partner Alita Webster won the dessert competition.  Jane was the 2016 CHOP! emcee and is delighted to return again as emcee for the 2019 event.

Jane is a 1982 Clemson University graduate and a native Greenvillian.  She began her career in broadcast journalism right here in the Upstate.  The highlight of her professional life was anchoring for CBS News in New Your, "CBS This Morning."  While at CBS News, Jane won two national Emmy awards for journalistic excellence and a national Emmy nomination.  

She returned to her hometown in 2006 with her husband, Mario DeCarvalho and son George, to start a video production and marketing company, Carolina Zoom Productions.  In November of 2017, Jane joined the anchor team of Gabrielle Komorowski and Meteorologist John Cessarich on weekday afternoons at 4 pm for WYFF News 4 at 4.  Jane also hosts WYFF's special report magazine show "Chronicle"and co-hosts the daily Christian radio show, "Leading the Way with Dr. Michael Youssef."

Cancer hit Jane's family when her beloved sister and best friend, Natalie Robelot Gibson, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in August of 2013.  Natalie is fighting her battle with ovarian cancer and is bravely winning thanks to her faith and her amazing family and friends, and her talented and caring team of doctors and technicians!

 

Emcee: Mary Freeman

Mary Freeman is a native of Kingstree, South Carolina where she was raised on Low Country vinegar-based BBQ, farm-raised beef and pork, and homegrown vegetables. Mary credits her mother and grandmother for her culinary skills - it was in their kitchens she learned to fry chicken, bake a pound cake, and can jelly. Her father taught her how to grow vegetables, hunt and fish, and prepare wild game and fish stew. All of his recipes began with, "first you fry up a piece of fatback.” Mary was a chef for Chop! Cancer’s 2016 winning team Culinary Kaleidoscope and has served on the CSPA Planning & Development Committee.

Accustomed to singing for her supper, Mary received a Bachelor of Music degree from Columbia College. Over the past 36 years she has been actively involved in the arts communities in Alexandria, Virginia and Greenville where she has performed in over 75 stage, commercial, and musical productions. Mary has taught elementary and pre-school music, sang with chorales, and served on several arts boards. Currently she is the Chair of the Greenville Theatre Board of Directors. Greenville audiences have seen her in lead roles at Greenville Theatre, Centre Stage, Warehouse Theatre, and the South Carolina Children's Theatre.

Mary and her husband Caleb are the developers for the Acadia community and the proud parents of adult sons John and Thomas Freeman. Thirteen years ago, Caleb and Mary started the GHS Dragon Boat Upstate Festival to raise money for cancer research and survivorship programs. Whether it's on the water or in the kitchen, Mary would like to honor all of the cancer survivors in her life. She dedicates her on stage CHOP! efforts in loving memory of her father, both grandfathers, dear friends, and other family members who have lost their battles with cancer.  

Judge: Chef Francis Turck

Chef Francis Turck’s culinary career spans more than 25 years. Early on, Francis trained under Michelin Star Chef Jean-Gorges Vongeritchen at Jean-Georges in New York and then James Beard award-winning Chef Larry Forgione. Francis has also worked for such prestigious facilities as the Peabody Hotel in Orlando and Ta-boo in Palm Beach, Florida. Upon joining The Cliffs Valley team in 2006, Chef Francis was quickly promoted to Executive Chef of The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards in 2007. In 2018, he assumed the role of The Cliffs Senior Executive Chef, supporting six other Executive Chefs and the diverse culinary programs across all seven of The Cliffs communities.

Francis is inspired daily by local, seasonal ingredients and his cuisine has been described as American with regional flair. An honors graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, Francis is passionate about not only food but exquisite wine and recently achieved his Certified Sommelier designation through the Court of Master Sommeliers. Francis is also passionate about health and wellness and recently collaborated with The Cliffs’ wellness and culinary teams to update The Cliffs Wellbeing Program menu guidelines, which expand the variety of nourishing options on all menus.

Francis also serves as the Vice Conseiller Gastronomique of The Cliffs Chapter of Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

Chef Francis notes, “I am honored to be a judge in this year’s CHOP! Cancer event to support the Cancer Survivors Park Alliance. My wife has been an oncology nurse for the past 17 years, and it is amazing to see all of the advances in cancer treatment. I know this park will be a wonderful addition to downtown Greenville in providing great services for those affected by cancer.”
 

Judges: Beth Bradley and Bill Ellis

The Ellis and Bradley Show is Bill Ellis, an early riser at WSSL-FM since 1987 and Beth Bradley, a 30 year radio veteran, who teamed up with Bill for the Ellis and Bradley Show in 2001 and they're still laughing about it. The 3 Time CMA Nominated morning show is known for it's daily fun and games but also for their committment to community. In 2018, Ellis and Bradley and Team WSSL hosted a wonderful night for survivors at the "Kickin' Cancer" benefit concert at REVEL with Carley Pearce, Rachel Wammack and Claire Dunn. "We're thrilled to be a part of another event to support Greenville's Cancer Survivors Park" said Beth Bradley about tonight's event. Bill has a personal connection with Greenville Cancer Survivors Park. He lost his mother, Ruth to breast cancer in 1980. Her name is both remembered and honored on a plaque of the Park's Boardwalk.    

Judge: Bob Munnich

Bob Munnich grew up in Philadelphia and started working in the hospitality industry when he was 16 years old. He graduated high school and his dad gave him a weeks rent at the beach for a graduation present. Bob decided he wanted to stay longer than a week so he got a job washing dishes at a Greek diner and never left the industry. He worked for a large restaurant group in Philly and later purchased a restaurant from them and converted into an Italian restaurant. Bob sold the restaurant 2 years later and began working in restaurant consulting. After a little while he decided to start working in the hotel side of hospitality. Bob and his wife Cindy moved to Greenville, SC in 2000 and he continued working in the hotel industry until 2005 when he began working at Larkin’s Restaurants.


Bob was a chef in a variety of restaurants and has spent countless hours in various kitchens. One of his most memorable experiences was at a charitable dinner for 150 people when he worked alongside Chef Annie Pettry from Top Chef and Decca Restaurant in Chicago and his son, Boz.  While you can mainly see the two grilling wings by the pool in Bob and Cindy’s backyard, you can still catch them collaborating at one of the restaurants.   


 
Crowd Pleaser: Lynda Leventis-Wells

Lynda was the overall fundraising champion for CHOP! Cancer in 2017.  She since has joined the Cancer Survivors Park Alliance as a CSPA board member and shares her talents to this cause.  Lynda  has over thirty years of professional management experience in the educational, law enforcement, coaching and instructional fields. She has received numerous awards for her outstanding leadership qualities, including the Order of the Palmetto by Govenor Nikki Haley in 2012.  The Cancer Survivors Park is dear to her having lost many family members to the disease but left with fond memories of their courage, strength and love.  

Crowd Pleaser: Jamarcus Gaston

Jamarcus is currently a contributing host and producer for "Your Carolina with Jack and Megan” airing weekday mornings at 10am on WSPA. 
Jamarcus grew up in the very small town of Great Falls, South Carolina in Chester County. After graduation, Jamarcus headed to the mountains to attend Furman University on an academic and music scholarship. 

While at Furman, Jamarcus studied Tuba with Dr. Mark Britt, playing in the Furman Paladin Regiment, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Brass Quintet, and Symphony Orchestra. He served as principal tuba for several years while at Furman. He also contributed to The Paladin student publication and was the News Director for the campus television station. Prior to graduation, Jamarcus was awarded the Charles A. Batson Outstanding Student in Broadcast Journalism Award from Furman University. Jamarcus holds a B.A. in Music and Communication Studies from Furman. 

Jamarcus started his career at WSPA as an intern for the "Problem Solvers" unit and was offered a job after graduation as a marketing writer and producer. During that time, Jamarcus wrote and produced station promotional spots for the number one newscast in the market. 

Jamarcus also served as a field producer for “Your Carolina with Jack and Kimberly” and started the "Cool Jobs" series for brand new, news magazine show "Scene on 7." After successful series of "Cool Jobs," "Home Hopping," and "Gaston Grubs," Jamarcus was promoted as the first reporter/photographer for the show. After several years of reporting, Jamarcus was promoted as Host and Producer of "Carolina Now" on the Carolinas CW 62. Jamarcus transformed the show into an all things local show featuring local musicians, foodie, and makers, also changing the name to "Studio 62." Jamarcus used his background in marketing and as a content producer to build Studio 62 into a respected community platform. 

The show ended in March of 2017 and Jamarcus was promoted to Co-Host/Co-Producer of Scene on 7, returning to a show that started his love in promoting all the things that make the Carolinas great.  In April of 2018, Jamarcus was added to the “Your Carolina” team as a fill-in host/contributor.

Jamarcus has been honored as an Emerging Leader by the Greenville News and a Talented Tenth Young Professional by the Urban League of the Upstate.  The community honored Jamarcus as the Top Social Media Influencer for the Best of the Upstate 2018. Talk Magazine also named him as of the 10 Most Stylish.

In his spare time Jamarcus enjoys scouting new local folk to feature, live music, trying new restaurants, and traveling to the beautiful places around the country.

 

Crowd Pleaser: Jackie Brooker

Jackie Shapiro Brooker is the creator of OffTheGridGreenville.com, an award winning photo-centric website that highlights local restaurants, lifestyle and events.

Originally from Miami Beach, Florida, with a detour to Northern California, Jackie is an accomplished art educator and a SC folk artist with work in the Mary Praytor Gallery. She is also a food stylist for FishEye Studios, a local commercial photography studio. With a true love for arts education, she’s taught arts integration as an adjunct professor at Clemson.

Jackie spent 2017 growing Off The Grid Greenville, while simultaneously facing the challenges involved with a breast cancer diagnosis. She affirms “music got me through it” requesting Pink Floyd during her daily dose of radiation. Making art kept her balanced and parenting a 10-year-old daughter reminded her that life is precious. She managed a full schedule while producing weekly content for Off The Grid Greenville’s website. Her art background favors photography and art direction whereas the teacher in her loves connecting with people. If you follow Off the Grid, you will see that Jackie has an extensive culinary understanding with a love of bridging culture through food and drink.

The Cancer Survivors Park has a deep personal connection.  Her father-in-law, Dr. Reginald Brooker co-founded the Cancer Center of the Carolinas.  In addition, multiple members of her family are cancer survivors, including Dr. Brooker, mother-in-law Patsy Brooker, and mother Sheila Fleischer. Currently, her beloved Aunt Suzie is being treated for breast cancer.