Cancer has impacted each of our lives and brought us together with a renewed focus on helping others.
Over the past few years, we have raised over a quarter of a million dollars for many local and national charities. In the summer of 2018, we decided to find a way to have a larger impact on even more peoples' lives.
After hours of research, brainstorming, and conversations with friends and family, the concept of In This Together was born! We received our IRS 501(c)(3) exempt status on August 5, 2019, and are excited to help people in our community!
In This Together Founders: Dana Lesniak, Jessica Casey, Sarah Emerson, and Sarah Jordan.
Dana Lesniak currently serves as the Executive Director of In This Together.
Dana’s career progression over the past 20 years has all led to this new role. She earned a Master’s in Social Work in 2001 and spent 10 years working with high-risk children and families in multiple states. After moving to Maine, Dana made a job shift when she began working for Unum as a Long Term Disability benefits specialist in 2006. Dana eventually moved into the Information Technology world at Unum as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, and now as a Global Program Manager for HomeServe.
While Dana has always had a focus on improving the lives of others, it wasn’t until her mother passed away from lung cancer in 2009 and she completed her first Tri For a Cure that she decided to work toward improving the lives of people with cancer in Maine. Dana became the top fundraiser for the Tri in 2015 by holding multiple fundraisers and engaging donors from across the country.
Dana also co-founded The Pink Tutu Ladies in 2014, a group of women who wear tutus and do grassroots fundraising around the state at sporting events and concerts. This group has raised over $200,000 for Maine Cancer Foundation (MCF), The Center for Grieving Children, and other local non-profits. Dana has served on the MCF Board of Directors since 2015.
In This Together gives Dana the opportunity to continue to make a difference in people’s lives on an even larger scale.
Dana lives in Lisbon, ME with her partner Tim Fitzgerald. In her free time, Dana is usually training for the Tri For a Cure or a road race, listening to great local bands, or watching crime dramas with a strong female lead on Netflix.
Sarah Emerson previously served as the Employer Funds Program Manager for In This Together.
Sarah’s passion for helping others was something that her parents introduced to her at a young age. Over the years her parents welcomed over 15 different foster kids into their home to help provide them a better childhood, eventually adopting her younger brother and sister. Sarah went on to graduate from the University of Southern Maine with a bachelor's degree in Therapeutic Recreation. After graduation in 2007, Sarah spent seven years working at St. Mary’s Regional Medical center as a recreation therapist on their behavioral medicine and detox units. Looking for a change of pace, Sarah left St. Mary’s in 2014 and took a job as a Program Coordinator at a residential treatment home through The Opportunity Alliance, for adults with mental health and substance use disorders.
In Sarah’s free time, she is an avid long distance runner completing eight marathons including the 2018 Boston Marathon, 2 50Ks and a 50 miler. In 2015 Sarah started to combine her running with her love for helping others. It was then that she began using her running as a way to raise money for charity. Sarah became involved with St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. After two years of fundraising for St. Jude, in a crazy turn of events, Sarah was diagnosed in March 2017 with an aggressive form of breast cancer.
Although this was an unexpected diagnosis, it didn’t damper Sarah’s spirit but only made her stronger. Sarah wanted to give hope to anyone following in her footsteps the faith that they too could battle the storm. It was during this time that she was introduced to the other founders of In This Together.
Sarah lives in Westbrook, ME with her husband Ruddley, son Tyler, and dog Pollie. Sarah loves to travel, spend time being active, and watching Tyler train in martial arts and play baseball.
Jessica Casey currently serves as the Community Outreach Director for In This Together.
In the winter of 2016, Jess's life changed forever when she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Soon after finishing her last round of radiation, she lost her mother and caretaker very unexpectedly. She immediately realized the struggle and financial burden that one experiences when faced with these types of life altering events. While she was lucky enough to have an immense amount of support from family and friends, she met many others who were not as fortunate in receiving this kind of help. More importantly, she realized that many people don’t feel comfortable asking or putting themselves in the spotlight during such a difficult time, and she became passionate about wanting to help.
Jess is grateful to work with her business partners at In This Together who have also used their own personal tragedies and setbacks to serve a positive purpose within our community.
Jess currently works remotely for Health Advances, based in Newton, MA, as a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, where she has experience putting on large corporate events that raise money for various charities. Prior to that, she was a Training Specialist at Pierce Promotions in Portland, ME.
Jess served on the Maine Cancer Foundation (MCF) Board of Directors and Development Committee from 2017-2020. In 2017, she was the top fundraiser for the Tri for a Cure, setting a record for the most money ever raised. Jess has raised close to $100k for MCF to date, along with her sister and business partner, Sarah Jordan. Together, their primary focus is managing In This Together's Community Fund events, grants, and finances.
Jess lives in Cape Elizabeth, ME with her husband and son, is an avid runner, and enjoys Maine summers and time spent with her family.
Sarah Jordan currently serves as the Community Fund Program Manager for In This Together.
Sarah graduated in 1996 from St. Michael’s College with degrees in both Psychology and Elementary Education. She has taught Physical Education and coached multiple sports for over 15 years. She also worked in Special Education, where she helped to create and run a program for children with disabilities. Her desire to help others has always been her strongest passion, but it was when her life was dramatically altered by her sister’s cancer diagnosis, and her mother’s sudden death, that she became an avid fundraiser and joined forces with her three partners.
Between 2017-2019 Sarah helped her sister, Jessica Casey, raise close to $85,000 for Maine Cancer Foundation, in memory of their mother. She has taken part in organizing several successful fundraising events and discovered her love for supporting charitable causes. Her passion to continue this work on a larger scale inspired her to collaborate with three fellow fundraising champions, including her sister, to start the non-profit organization, In This Together.
Sarah's background in planning and organizing throughout her career has given her the ability to work well with both individuals and groups. Her enthusiasm, positive energy, and networking skills have made her a strong partner for In This Together.
Sarah lives in Cape Elizabeth, ME with her daughter, Faelen, and their dog, Buddy. She enjoys sports, exploring new places, and being near the water. But it’s her time with family and friends that she cherishes most of all.