Team Blake Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in April 2018 in honor of Blake Cazier. Blake was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia at the age of one. He fought for 15 months with great strength and courage before he earned his angel wing’s shortly after his 2nd birthday.
During Blake’s treatment, there were countless individuals and groups all over the United States who reached out to help the family emotionally, financially, and physically. Because of the outpouring of support, Blake’s parents are determined to provide that same comfort and support to families and children experiencing similar hardships.
OUR BOARD MEMBERS:
Jaclyn Cazier is president of the Team Blake Foundation, a foundation she formed as a bereaved mother of her son, Blake, who passed away from cancer.
In December 2016, Jaclyn and her husband’s lives changed forever when they learned their one-year-old son had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. After supporting her son through 15-months of intense chemotherapy, including a stem cell transplant and a failed trial medication, Jaclyn regards herself as a proud cancer mom on a mission. Her pain and grief has fueled her as she assists other families going through the unimaginable.
Jaclyn graduated from Washburn University in Topeka, KS with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing. She has always enjoyed helping others, which is why she became a nurse; but she found her real passion was helping others after she was personally touched by cancer. The year after her son passed away, she decided she wanted no other parent to ever feel the pain she felt. She, along with a small team, worked hard to raise over $50,000 to donate towards pediatric cancer research. She now manages fundraisers to accomplish her mission of helping to reduce the burden cancer has on families.
Chris Cazier is the co-founder of the Team Blake Foundation. As father to Blake, his passion for the foundation is his way of honoring his son and carrying on Blake’s legacy. He knows first-hand what it’s like to have your world turned upside down when you hear those horrific words, "your child has cancer." Everything you have going on, and everything you thought was important, no longer matters.
Blake's family received help along the way from their local community and non-profit foundations, providing financial and emotional support. These gestures along with their unwavering faith are what helped them through this difficult time. Knowing how much support means to families battling pediatric cancer, Chris realized the importance of helping others going through similar hardships.
Chris is the owner of Modern Masonry LLC. in Topeka, KS, where he uses his skills as yet another way to give back to others. His local company recently donated all of the stone work to the 2019 St. Jude Dream Home in Topeka, a home built by local contractors at no cost. The house is then raffled off to raise money for pediatric cancer research and patients at St. Jude. Chris dedicates his work in his beloved son’s memory.
Patti Cazier is the paternal grandmother of Blake Cazier. She is an integral part of the Team Blake Foundation, serving as the secretary & treasurer.
Patti attended Washburn University emphasizing in business and finance, and has worked in the industry since 1975. She is passionate about working with children and families, and fulfills that passion through her role at the Office of Financial Management with the Department for Children and Families.
Patti has served at Topeka Bible Church in the 2 and 3-year-old Sunday School Class, and she loves working with children. After watching Blake go through 15-months of treatment and spending most of that time in the hospital, she explains she witnessed firsthand the struggles, both emotional and financial, other families go through during treatment. Patti worked with Chris and Jaclyn to set up the Team Blake Foundation through a private attorney; they established a 501(c) status as a Non-Profit with a Mission to help families who went through the same struggles we encountered.
Melissa Goodman is a board member on the Team Blake Foundation, which she claims has been one of her greatest honors. Having her first son born just a few months before Blake Cazier, his story completely captured her heart. Melissa has always had a great deal of empathy for children, specifically children facing cancer battles and other life-altering conditions. Because no mother should ever face the unimaginable alone, she has vowed to always stand by their sides. Blake’s story inspired Melissa in so many ways, but one thing is certain, he left a mark on her soul when he set it on fire.
Melissa earned her Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Washburn University. She serves as Director of Federal Programs at Mirror Inc., Residential Reentry Center in Topeka, KS. Her career is focused on helping people create a better tomorrow, for themselves and for their families.
Michael Driver, CPA currently has his own full service accounting, tax and business consulting practice serving Northeast Kansas. This firm serves a variety of clients ranging from individuals, businesses, non-profit entities, and estate and trust work. Michael has been a CPA since 2002 and has practice mostly in regional public accounting firms, most recently CBIZ. In 2013, Michael left CBIZ to practice with another CPA until 2017 when Michael started his own firm, Michael W Driver, CPA, LLC.
"I'm involved with Team Blake because I want to help children with cancer and their families," said Michael. "I've personally lost both of my parents to cancer, and know first hand the hardships that people can go through."
Nancy Sumpter, Blake’s Great Aunt, serves as an advisor for the Team Blake Foundation. She said she was inspired by Blake’s bravery and strength during his treatment, and adds his parents were just as strong and remained steadfast in their faith while supporting their son. Nancy supports organizations like the Team Blake Foundation for children like Blake, as well as parents like Jaclyn and Chris. She also assists with the foundation so no family ever feels alone, and no parent has to suffer the loss that Jaclyn and Chris did. Nancy is proud to volunteer her help because she is #foreverteamblake. In addition to her service to Team Blake Foundation, Nancy also participates in Relay for Life in memory of her brother and Blake, who both fought this dreaded disease. She believes raising awareness and raising research funds is critical to finding a cure for cancer, which she passionately advocates for.
For over 13 years, Nancy has been a financial advisor with Edward Jones. Prior to joining Edward Jones, she worked as a Certified Public Account (CPA), specializing in individual and corporate taxes. Her current role allows her to help clients throughout a lifetime of financial decisions. Nancy feels honored to serve a wide variety of clients whose goals range from growing wealth, planning a successful retirement, saving for higher education, and charitable giving.
The mission of the Team Blake Foundation is to assist in reducing the burden of childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses on children and their families. We accomplish this by:
Providing care packages to children who are going through the unimaginable
Providing spiritual and emotional support to families
Financially supporting the families with medical costs, household expenses, or other related costs.
Donating to other community non-profits such as the Ronald McDonald house, a local organization that assists children and their families with health concerns
Donating funds to pediatric cancer research and spreading pediatric cancer awareness