Sarah House Board of Directors/Trustees
Kimberly Marcum Mercier, Chair
Founder, Sarah House; RN Home Health Care and StarShine Hospice of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Kim Marcum-Mercier is the Founder of Sarah House and Sarah’s Mom. Kim has been a registered nurse for 23 years. Before that, Kim worked as a medical assistant for 10 years. Kim graduated from The Institute of Medical-Dental Technology in 1985, and later received her Associates and Bachelors of Nursing degrees from Miami University, of Ohio. She is also a certified pediatric nurse. Kim is a current member of Sigma Alpha Pi-The National Society of Leadership and Success. Working in the medical profession has been a life-long calling for Kim and one she considers a privilege and a blessing. Kim has devoted her life’s work to primarily caring for ill children; including medically fragile children in need of private duty nursing and an occasional respite, as well as dying children in Hospice. Kim has worked in pediatrics for the majority of her nursing career at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She is currently employed full-time as a liaison resource nurse for CCHMC’s home health care agency. In this role Kim helps to prepare parents and caregivers how to safely care for their child’s health care needs at home. She also coordinates care related to discharge planning from the hospital to home. Kim’s devotion to the mission and vision of Sarah House, coupled with her years of experience in caring for medically fragile children and their families, as well as serving on the board of directors, provides her with great insight into how Sarah House should operate and continues to be an advocate for children and families in need of respite
Kim is married and lives with her husband Bob in the Colerain township area. Even though they had the unfortunate loss of Sarah at age 16 to childhood cancer, they have raised 3 other children to adulthood and have 2 adorable grand-children!
Kevin Kane, Vice-Chair
Investment Strategist, Optimized Transitions Wealth Management
Kevin graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH in 1982. Kevin is an Investment Strategist/Relationship Manager. His role is to help clients meet their long-term goals through prudent and strategic investment planning. Kevin is responsible for constructing and developing investment strategies that help clients maximize their investments and reach long-term goals. He uses his 33 years of experience in the financial services industry to help his clients navigate through the multiple cycles of the capital markets. He also handles the relationship management role and is responsible for the day to day management and ongoing communication with clients.
Kevin’s previous role was as Vice President Senior Wealth Management Investment Advisor at US Bank. During his 12 year tenure in this role, Kevin assumed full responsibility for managing trust and investment management accounts valued at over $500 million in market value while continuously identifying, specifying and reconfirming client investment objectives. Kevin is experienced in account performance analysis, investor relations, market research, alternative investments, financial planning and networking.
Previous to his role at US Bank, Kevin spent 7 years at Wachovia Bank as a Vice President Investment Advisor. He was a key member of the Wealth Management team that focused on continuous growth of assets and the investment needs of affluent individuals and family wealth investors.
Kevin started his career at the Chicago Stock Exchange where he spent 14 years working as a Floor Broker and an Equity Specialist. He was responsible for order execution and market making in his various roles over his years at the Exchange.
Kevin is on the following Boards where he offers his insight and guidance:
St. Joseph Orphanage
Xavier University Executive Board of Advisors for the Williams College of Business
Kevin is married to Martha and they have two children, Fiona and Michael. He likes to play golf, read history, and attend Xavier Musketeers basketball games.
Nancy Stiefvater, Secretary
Retired, Delta Air Lines & Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Nancy is a graduate of Thomas More College where she received her B.A. in Spanish. Nancy was a founding member of the Alpha Eta chapter of the Theta Phi Alpha national sorority at Thomas More. Upon graduation, Nancy worked in a variety of roles for approximately 30 years for Delta Air Lines where she had the opportunity to travel extensively around the world. After several weeks, Nancy found that retirement wasn’t for her, so she worked for several years as a seasonal associate at Coldwater Creek. She then accepted a position as an executive assistant/marketing associate for a Cincinnati area law firm and then for worked for eight years as a patient services coordinator and administrative assistant in the Center for Professional Excellence at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where she supported the hospital’s nursing education department. While employed at Children’s, Nancy was the president of the hospital’s chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals, a member of the Veterans Advisory Council, the consumer advocate board member for the Council for Ohio Health Care Advocacy (COHCA), a nominee for Women of the Year, a nominee for the Cares Spirit Award, and the recipient of the Jefferson Award, founded by Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy in 1972, that honors outstanding Americans for making a difference inspiring others to act. Nancy was a hospital team captain for the March of Dimes “March for Babies” annual campaign, the Cincinnati ArtsWave annual campaign, and a planning member of the committee for the hospital’s Martin Luther King Day of Service.
In her spare time, Nancy is actively engaged in the community as a volunteer. As the chair and co-chair of four “Swing Fore the Cure” golf outings for breast cancer, Nancy raised over $80,000 for St. Elizabeth’s Hospital Women’s Health and Wellness Center and most recently as the co-chair of a fundraiser to support Cincinnati Children’s Division of Integrative Care, over $45,000 was raised. Nancy has been a committee member for special events supporting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the University of Southern California Office for Parent Programs, the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign, the Disabled American Veterans, the Over the Rhine Chamber of Commerce, Brown County General Hospital, The Ronald McDonald House “Red Tie” Gala, and the Cincinnati Athletic Club. Nancy is a past member of the Yearlings, a volunteer organization comprised of community-minded individuals who raise money for non-profits and is currently a member of the Humanitarian League which has raised several hundred thousand dollars for area non-profits. Nancy is also working with the Q-Kidz Dance team of Cincinnati’s impoverished West End to help them find funding to continue their programs to keep the young girls safe and teach them the value of a good education, living drug-free and stopping the violence in their community.
Amy Simpson Bennethum, Co-Founder
Staff Chaplain, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Rev. Amy Simpson Bennethum is a board certified Staff Chaplain at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital working primarily in the cancer institute. She received her Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, MN. She is endorsed through the Federation of Christian Ministries and Board Certified through the Association of Professional Chaplains. Prior to her hospital chaplaincy work she served as a Children and Youth Pastor in local churches which is where her involvement with Sarah and her family began. Amy first met Sarah while working at the church where Sarah and her family attended and they became fast friends. Through Sarah’s illness and treatment, Amy had the opportunity to witness the great need for a pediatric respite and hospice facility in the Cincinnati area. In Sarah’s memory, Amy began working with Sarah’s mom, Kim, as one of the co-founders and current board member of Sarah House. Along the way she has had the privilege to meet and work with many other families that would benefit from Sarah House. Sarah, Sarah’s family, and the many other families she has journeyed with is what fuels Amy’s passion to make Sarah House a reality. She is privileged to work with a Board of Director’s that has that same passion and energy.
When Amy is not at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital or at a Sarah House Board meeting she is finding opportunities to connect with her three wonderful children, their spouses, and her amazing granddaughter.
Training and Education Coordinator, Crossroads Hospice
Rebecca Stringer graduated from Christ Hospital School of Nursing in 1978, after a childhood dream of becoming a nurse. She was exposed to hospice nursing through her curriculum, but wasn't interested in end of life care. However, after two years of acute care (mostly oncology) and 13 years of long-term care, she started working for the first for-profit hospice in Cincinnati, in early 1992. It has become a career-long passion, now spanning 25 years. She has been a Case Manager, a Team Manager, a Clinical Director, an Educator on End-of-Life Care and a Regional Administrator, traveling to open new offices in Missouri, Georgia, Indiana, and Ohio, as well as an Inpatient Unit in Ohio. As a "newbie" in Hospice, she was blessed to be exposed to Hospice Pioneers. She was able to hear speeches from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Ira Byock, and Dr. R. Tycross, to name a few. Rebecca believes her life has always been directed by her faith. She is now Regional Director of Quality for Queen City Hospice, LLC, with currently a program and Cincinnati and Columbus, with a vision to expand to other areas.
In 2001 Rebecca’s only child, Rachel was in a rafting accident. She was attending Lee University in Tennessee. Prior to her junior year, she was on a rafting trip with other guides and was drowned. Her rescue was miraculous, and after 3 weeks in intensive care at a hospital in Tennessee, she was flown to Children's Hospital in Cincinnati. She eventually came home in January of 2002 and was cared for by an aide during the day, while Rebecca continued to work full-time because she needed health insurance. She cared for her daughter after work every day, through the night, and on all weekends. In February 2003, Rachel succumbed to her injuries.
In 2004 Rebecca saw an article about Sarah House, and after some consideration and conviction, she contacted Kim. She became a member of the Steering Committee and then the Board of Directors, and has been involved ever since that time. She continues to have a passion for the Sarah House Mission. Through a scholarship established in Rachel's name at Lee University, and Rebecca's work with Sarah House, she hopes to honor her daughter, and support other parents with disabled children who have very few resources and means of support.
Transplant Coordinator, Blood Cancer Center, Jewish Hospital/Mercy Health
She has been involved with the bone marrow transplant program for the last ten years. She is originally from Chicago, and moved to Cincinnati in 1990. Judy has been married 40 years to her husband Ted and they have three grown daughters. They also have three grandchildren. Judy went to nursing school with Sarah House founder Kim Marcum-Mercer. Judy says, “Sarah was a very special young lady and I am humbled to be a part of this mission.”
Medical Director of StarShine Hospice, Assistant Professor of Anesthesia, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Dr. Rachel Thienprayoon is a pediatric hospice and palliative physician and the Medical Director of StarShine Hospice and Palliative Care. Rachel grew up in Georgia and completed her general pediatrics residency and a fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. She moved to Cincinnati in 2013 to complete a fellowship in pediatric hospice and palliative medicine, and she has been on staff at Cincinnati Children’s since 2014. Rachel lives in Cincinnati with her husband and children.
Karen E. Allen
Associate Director Laboratory Operations for PPD Global Central Laboratories
Karen Allen has a long-standing passion for pediatric palliative care and eagerly serves as a board member for Sarah House. Karen previously provided volunteer leadership, consulting, and advocacy for other pediatric palliative care facility initiatives around the nation. Karen's career track has involved forensics, diagnostic pathology lab services, laboratory operations, and consulting. She currently leads clinical trial laboratory operations for PPD Global Central Laboratories. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Morehead State University, a Pathologist Assistant degree from course curriculum offered thru University of Kentucky, a Master's Health Administration from Pfeiffer University, a Green Belt Six Sigma certification from Villanova, and a Project Management Professional certification from Villanova/PMI.