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Jay Burton, DO, President and Founder
Jay Burton, DO, President and Founder

Dr. Jay Burton has been a primary care physician with Springfield Medical Associates in the Enfield,Connecticut office since 1988. He has provided medical care for generations of local families. Dr. Burton was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in May 2010. He has undergone chemotherapy, total body irradiation, and a stem cell transplant as part of his cancer treatment. He has been in remission since July 2010. During and subsequent to his cancer treatment, Dr. Burton realized that cancer survivors often do not receive comprehensive primary care. Dr. Burton developed The Primary Care Cancer Survivorship Program (PCCSP) within Springfield Medical Associates to help cancer survivors coordinate and receive primary care services during and after active cancer treatment. Dr. Burton founded Survivor Journeys because of the lack of social and emotional support services in our region for cancer survivors, their caregivers, and families.

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​Jay Presser
​Jay Presser

Jay M. Presser was a practicing attorney for over forty years, many as a principal in a Springfield Massachusetts firm.  He presently serves on the Board for the Suffield Rotary, as a Trustee for the Suffield Rotary Foundation, Chairman of “The Suffield Observer” (newspaper) and as Vice-President for the Suffield Volunteer Ambulance Association. He was previously the Secretary and Board member for the Suffield Sports Council (a 501(c) organization), Treasurer for the Suffield Platform Tennis Association  and was the President and Board Member for the Suffield Little League, and Suffield Travel Basketball Club.

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Kara Sawyer
Kara Sawyer

Kara Sawyer is a primary care nurse practitioner with Springfield Medical Associates in Enfield, CT. Kara was diagnosed with T cell leukemia/lymphoma in 2006. She went through treatment for four years after diagnosis, including surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, and an allogenic stem cell transplant in January 2011. Her involvement in cancer survivorship began during her personal journey. She has fundraised for Team in Training (Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) raising over $7,000 for the Nashville Marathon, which she ran in 2008 and the Boston Marathon in 2012.

She has also participated in local cancer survivor support services through Cancer Connection in Florence, MA and then as a blood cancer support group facilitator for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society in the Natick, MA location. Kara has continued this work as co-facilitator for the Survivor Journeys Blood cancer support group in Enfield, CT. Kara is grateful to be a part of a growing, local organization that provides endless opportunities to meet and connect with cancer survivors, their families and caregivers.

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Wayne Schmidt
Wayne Schmidt

A Connecticut native and cancer survivor, Wayne comes to Survivor Journeys with a combination of Fortune 50 business, broadcast media, and higher education leadership experience.  During his 20-year tenure at Yale University, Wayne was the Chief Operating Officer for Yale’s commercial broadcast station WYBC where he developed a comprehensive training curriculum, secured a long-term operations partnership with Cox Media, and spearheaded the acquisition of WNHC Media Corp. Wayne’s Fortune 50 experience includes senior roles at Xerox and Travelers where he led global teams driving media, communications and learning programs in partnership with Intel, NBC Universal, Siemens, Luxottica, and others. In addition, Wayne sat on several outreach committees and was a key driver for many public service programs including scholarship programs for inner city youth, on-air educational media programming and numerous leadership training and coaching programs for both students and professionals.

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Karen Glass
Karen Glass

Karen joins Survivor Journeys with over 25 years of experience in Marketing and Communications leadership in the advertising, corporate and nonprofit sectors which provides her with extensive knowledge in building strong brands and cohesive communications strategies. She has a BA in Communications Sciences from the University of Connecticut and is a member of the UConn Women & Philanthropy Network and participates in student mentoring programs at the university. Karen was previously the Secretary and Board Member for the Purr-fect Cat Shelter in Millis, MA and continues to volunteer there on a regular basis.

Most recently, Karen led the communications for a nonprofit dedicated to helping New England cancer patients financially affected by their treatment costs. Having had both family and friends impacted by cancer, Karen is honored to bring her experience to support the mission of Survivor Journeys to help ensure that no cancer survivor travels this journey alone.

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Autumn Mathias, PhD, MSW, LCSW, Director of Programs
Autumn Mathias, PhD, MSW, LCSW, Director of Programs

Autumn is a licensed certified social worker in Massachusetts and received her MSW from the University of Connecticut. She also furthered her education and received a Master’s and then PhD in Sociology from Northeastern University. She has gained invaluable leadership, interpersonal, organizational, and research/evaluation skills in diverse social service and higher education settings that are essential for this position. She has numerous past experiences in community outreach and developing/coordinating programs and trainings.

She most recently was an Assistant Professor of Social Work/Sociology Program Coordinator at Elms College in Chicopee, MA.

Autumn has personal experience with cancer and has benefitted from online support groups. She also has close family members and friends who have battled cancer. She is therefore, very much aligned with the Survivor Journeys mission of providing emotional, social, and educational support for cancer survivors, their families, and caregivers.