Our Staff

Suzanne Tierney



“I have spent the last 30 years dedicated to the lupus patients in Ohio. The goal is to provide a better quality of life until a cause or cure for lupus is found. My passion is providing programs to empower those affected by lupus so that they will have a better journey with lupus through education and emotional support. Lupus does not have to be a lonely, miserable, and misunderstood illness. My goal is to provide my chapter with the tools and resouces to provide such services to all those in the state of Ohio.

It was my privilege to serve as a National Board Member. This position has allowed me to be a part of a thriving National organization that has been leading the lupus movement. For many years my skills have included Board Development, Strategic Planning, Program Planning, Fund Raising, Development initiatives and much more. Together, with my   colleagues, we have created operating standards for our affiliate chapters and guidance documents. As a long standing member of the Chapter Network Committee, I have an active, instrumental role in setting guidelines for the chapters across the country. I am an advocate in local government and have been to Washington many times to be heard as the voice of those we serve here in Ohio to make change."


Kathy Holmes

Finance Manager


"After earning my bachelor degree in Business Administration from Ohio University, I worked full time as a retail manager for a number of years and also have acquired accounting experience from working in my husband’s family business. I have been married to my husband for almost 25 years and we have a daughter who recently started college. 

I was diagnosed with lupus in 1989 and joined the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Cleveland Chapter the same year.  Back then, we did not have an office or paid staff, we were run by volunteers. I have been able to grow with the organization as it became the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter.  Being a patient, starting out as a volunteer, and eventually becoming an employee gives me a unique perspective. Knowing how important it was to have somewhere to turn when I was first diagnosed with lupus is what motivates me to do all I can to help our chapter continue to further our mission of finding a cure and supporting all those affected by lupus. I am so fortunate to have been in remission with no major flares for the past 17 years.  This has enabled me to take an active part in the growth of our chapter.

If you have any questions on how to support our cause or if you want to share your experiences on living with lupus, send me an email or give me a call!"


Leslie Vizcarra

Vice President of Operations and Patient Navigator


"I have dedicated over fifteen years to the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter. I started volunteering in middle school and have grown with the foundation. I have been able to see firsthand all of the achievements our chapter has championed. My dedication is driven with passion to help fight lupus.  All the people I have met and worked with throughout the years have inspired me to want to do more for them and our community. My personal back ground in nursing has given me a stronger platform to assist the people who need our services. I have been able to strengthen my knowledge about lupus through direct patient contact. Lupus leaves more of an impression when you witness it in person. The Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter and the members have become an extension of my family. I genuinely care for all people affected by lupus. In my efforts to help assist our chapter, I have made it my personal goal to help any patient better self-manage their disease."




Adrienne Rice-Fernandez

Administrative Assistant


"First and foremost, let’s get the important stuff out of the way. I’m a wife and proud mama to two lovely young ladies that keep me busy every second of every day. When I’m not tending to skinned knees, making chicken nuggets, or driving to dance lessons, I spend my time here at the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter. I work part-time in an administrative role, though my job is ever changing. I basically do whatever the office needs! Whether I’m grant writing, folding envelopes, entering membership information, or helping patients, I love what I do and the fact that I make a difference every time I’m here is especially rewarding!

The mission of finding a cause and a cure for lupus is especially important to me because I’m also a lupus patient. I understand what many of our constituents face because I live with this disease every day. I can also empathize with the families because I see what challenges are present in my own family and what it is like for them to deal with this cruel illness.

Finally, when I have a moment to myself I can be found making vegetarian food, addictively reading, exercising, and sneaking chocolate out of the office candy jar!"




Aletha Acree

Community Outreach Coordinator


"I am the devoted mother of two wonderful sons, they are the reason I fight lupus daily. I share my story everyday hoping that it might help or encourage someone else on their journey. I try to leave lupus patients with these thoughts and that is keep your environment positive in all aspects and do what you can while you can!"


Gina Bierman

Communications Manager


"My name is Gina and I am a proud graduate of Kent State University. I studied Applied Communication Studies with a double minor in Public Communication and Health Communication. I could not be happier to be working in a facility that applies to what I earned a degree in.

About three years ago, my mother was diagnosed with lupus.  My family and I were concerned about what this meant for her  future. After finding the Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter, all of our questions were answered. I am thankful to be working at a facility that gives help and comfort to others who are battling lupus. Together we will fight this mystery."


Jessica Darling

Marketing Manager


"My name is Jessica and I am proud to work on the marketing team at LFA, GOC! I have a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Kent State University and a minor in marketing. I came to the foundation with experience Marketing, Graphic Design and Communications. I love to work with people and interacting with them through different channels!

The people I have met and worked with thus far have inspired me to continue the mission to find a cure for lupus. I have learned that everyone who comes through our door is family and whole-heartedly belive together we can find a cure for a life free of lupus."