About Maple Tree Cancer Alliance®

The work of Maple Tree Cancer Alliance® is deeply rooted in the personal experience of its Founder and Director, Dr. Karen Wonders. Her passion to study the effects of proper nutrition and exercise in the battle against cancer was inspired by the memory of her grandfather, Robert Kellermann, whose lifelong love of personal fitness only seemed to grow after he was diagnosed with the disease while in his early eighties. The positive impact of exercise on Mr. Kellermann’s health and quality of life had a lasting impression on Dr. Wonders who sought to honor his memory by making cancer research her life’s work.

The legacy of Mr. Kellermann’s energy and enthusiasm for life is even woven into the organization’s name which gets its inspiration from the three towering maple trees that sit at the base of a large hill that was once his front yard. The seeds of this dear and vivid memory have grown to become the Maple Tree Cancer Alliance, in the hopes that they would provide shelter, hope and healing for a new generation, and many more to come.

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Our Team

Karen Wonders, Ph.D. is the Founder and Director of Maple Tree Cancer Alliance®. She first became interested in Cancer Exercise Rehabilitation in 2003, while earning her doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology at the University of Northern Colorado. There, she became certified as a Cancer Exercise Specialist and worked at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute as a cancer exercise trainer. It was through this work experience that she was able to witness first-hand the positive effect that supervised exercise and proper nutrition can have on the life of an individual being treated with cancer.

In 2006, Dr. Wonders moved with her family to Dayton, Ohio. Currently, Dr. Wonders works as a Professor of Exercise Science at Wright State University, and serves as the Director of the Sports Science program. Dr. Wonders remains an active researcher in the area of exercise and cancer treatment-related pain and neuropathy and has given over 100 presentations on the national, state, and local levels as well as authored several professional manuscripts, books, and book chapters on this topic.

Finally, Dr. Wonders also holds a Master's degree in Ministry from Cedarville University. With this degree, she hopes to provide Christ-centered encouragement to those who are battling cancer.

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Rob Wise is the Exercise Oncology Instructor of Maple Tree Cancer Alliance®.  He has been with Maple Tree Cancer Alliance since 2012 and has been involved with the organization as it continues to grow every step of the way.  His passion for cancer exercise rehabilitation came from hearing a lecture by Dr. Karen Wonders. Rob completed his bachelors in Sports Science at Wright State University in 2014 and is a certified Cancer Exercise Specialist.

As the Clinical Exercise Coordinator of Maple Tree Cancer Alliance®, Rob oversees all daily operations of the cancer exercise instructors, new patient orientations, and patient education programs.

Exercise Oncology Instructors

At Maple Tree, each Exercise Oncology Instructor holds a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, as well as our nationally recognized, NASM-accredited Exercise Oncology Instructor certification.

Board Members

Jill Reese, RN, BSN, OCN
Dayton Physicians Network
Board President

Stephen Updegraff
UAI Accounting and Tax Services

Kelly McCluskey-Erskine, MD
Far Hills OBGYN
Board President

Jeff Sorrell
Life Enrichment Center

Jeffery Gammell
Attorney at Law

Ched Spellman, Ph.D.
Cedarville University