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 forlife 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.

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.

Rob Wise is the Clinical Exercise Coordinator 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.

Dr. Melissa Faulkner earned her Ph.D. in composition and rhetoric from Miami University of Ohio in 2006 with a specialty in the qualitative research methods of story and discourse analysis. She has used her research to improve education for working-class and first generation college educated students, but in 2009 God used the death of her brother from cancer to turn her attention to the healing powers of writing, journaling, and storytelling on the human body, mind, and spirit. Dr. Faulkner is currently an Associate Professor of English at Cedarville University in Ohio, serves as the facilitator of the Journaling Your Way Through Cancer classes at Maple Tree Cancer Alliance, and records Life Celebration Stories for patients through Hospice of Dayton. She is the author of many presentations and articles and is currently working on a book analyzing the stories of the gravely ill to highlight more useful ways of communicating with them.

Rev. Anthony Sobocinski is available to offer Christian-based spiritual support and counseling to patients and their families as they walk this difficult road. Pastor Sobocinski has been the pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church in Oakwood, Ohio since 2001. He majored in Psychology at Wayne State University and received his Master of Divinity degree from Asbury Theological Seminary. He has served as a church planter and pastor in British Columbia and Ontario, Canada for 12 years as well as serving churches in Michigan.

Kelly McCluskey-Erskine, MD
Far Hills OBGYN
Board President

Karen Wonders, Ph.D., FACSM
Maple Tree Cancer Alliance
Wright State University
Executive Director

Stephen Updegraff
UAI Accounting and Tax Services

Jeff Sorrell
Life Enrichment Center

Josh Lounsbury
Attorney at Law
Coolidge Law

Jill Reese, RN, BSN, OCN
Dayton Physicians Network

Jeffery Gammell
Attorney at Law