Meet the outstanding volunteers who serve on our Board of Directors and lead our Chapter:
Carla Day has been volunteering and serving LFA, IN Chapter for more than eight years. In 2013 she was named our Chapter Volunteer of the Year, in 2015 was inducted into our Volunteer Hall of Fame, and in 2016 was honored to be named the national LFA Volunteer of the Year! She was diagnosed with lupus in 1988, and having struggled and persevered over the disease for more than twenty years, she is an exemplary role model for others who are trying to do the same. Carla is married to Happy Day, who is also an avid LFA, Indiana Chapter supporter and volunteer. Carla currently serves as the Nurse’s Guild president at St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church, where she has been a member for more than 30 years. She has been employed by Ricoh USA for over 25 years. She enjoys reading cooking, traveling and spending time with family.
Currently the Outreach and Education Specialist at the Indiana Latino Institute, Michelle-Marie Polanco holds a BA in International Affairs with a concentration in Contemporary Cultures and Societies from the George Washington University. Prior to attending college in Washington, DC, Ms. Polanco earned her international baccalaureate from the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales, UK. Having experienced up close the effects of autoimmune conditions, Ms. Polanco sought the opportunity to participate in programs of advocacy, awareness, and education benefitting those who struggle with lupus and similar autoimmune diseases. Given that lupus affects a large segment of the Latino population, Ms. Polanco especially hopes to make a difference in her community.
After a career focused on process improvement working for Eli Lilly and Company and Dow Agrosciences, Robin Miner retired to work with not-for-profits to streamline their processes and help people achieve their full potential by assisting non-profit organizations achieve their mission. She has done projects with the Julian Center, Gleaners Food Bank, Wheeler Mission, Shepherd Community Center and others. Robin has degrees in statistics and computer science, industrial engineering, and business. Robin is married and has two adult children.
Crystal Bradley has been in her fight against lupus since 2006. For the past 11 years, she has been employed with the Kroger Company Central Division office as a marketing assistant. Crystal coordinates store grand openings, plans and executes large-scale company meetings and events, and handles major sponsorships. Crystal is a former member of the Kroger company's Cultural Council and Uplift Committees. Having been involved with our Chapter for several years as a support group member, volunteer, and Walk to End Lupus Now planning committee member, Crystal has seen the Chapter grow and evolve, making an impact on the community. She believes it’s important as a lupus patient to help other patients, be a part of the continued growth, increase financial contributions and build ongoing successful relationships. She is excited to bring her skills and knowledge to help spread awareness about the disease she fights daily. We are thrilled to have Crystal on our Board and know she is going to be an excellent addition.
Karen Deno is a former LFA, Indiana Chapter Board member and chair, retiring in 2016. Karen also served as a support group facilitator for our Chapter and was a long-time Walk to End Lupus Now planning committee member. Since her daughter was diagnosed with lupus in 2007 at the age of 17, Karen has worked hard to understand the disease and how it affects the patient. Since it is unpredictable and there isn’t a cure, Karen continues her journey for her and all those affected by lupus. Karen is a realtor for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Hancock County and in 2017 received the Berkshire Hathaway Indiana Community Service Award. We are excited to have Karen returning as a Board member and look forward to her continued involvement with our Chapter.
Allyson is an attorney practicing corporate litigation in Indianapolis. She obtained an undergraduate degree from Butler University, and a law degree from the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. Allyson has served on the event committee for LFA’s A Tasteful Affair for the past three years and is excited to become further involved with the LFA community by joining the Board of Directors in 2018.
Kelly French has been fighting lupus since 2004 and is a mother of three. Born in Indianapolis, Kelly attended Indiana University and is a registered nurse. She has volunteered at the Walk to End Lupus Now in the past and the past several years at the Indiana Black Expo Health Fair. Kelly strongly believes in educating other lupus patients as well as healthcare professionals about lupus and looks forward to getting involved with advocacy work on behalf of lupus patients.
Amy E. Higdon was admitted to the bar in Indiana in 1999. Born in Marion, Indiana, Ms. Higdon obtained her undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from Ball State University in 1996 and her law degree, cum laude, from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in 1999. Ms. Higdon commenced her legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable Margret G. Robb, Indiana Court of Appeals, in 1999, and thereafter began practicing law in 2001. Ms. Higdon is a Certified Family Law Specialist, certified by the Family Law Certification Board. Amy serves on the LFA, Indiana Chapter Board of Directors to improve life for individuals and families affected by lupus.
Maria Silk received her BS in chemistry and PharmD from the University of Kentucky and moved to Indianapolis for a pharmacy practice residency and fellowship with Indiana University Health and Butler University. She has worked as a clinical research scientist at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis since 2008 and has been involved in the design and conduct of SLE clinical trials for 8 years. She joined our Board in 2017 to support the LFA, IN Chapter in improving the lives of patients with SLE and promoting understanding of the disease and strives to ensure patient voices are represented in clinical trials.