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Castleman’s Awareness & Research Effort ("CARE" doing business as "Castleman Disease Collaborative Network" or "CDCN") is a California-based, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was founded in 2006 by patient advocate, Greg Pacheco, and his wife, Charlyn Pacheco, to raise funds for Castleman disease research and to raise awareness for the disease. Since holding its first fundraiser in Paso Robles, CA in 2006, CARE brought together friends and family in Greg's community to put on fun events that raised over $100,000 for Castleman disease research at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The funds raised provided seed money to start the first-ever research lab dedicated to studying HHV-8-negative Multicentric Castleman disease, which was named the Gregory Pacheco Laboratory for Castleman's Research.

When Drs. Fajgenbaum and van Rhee set out to create the CDCN to expand research, collaboration, and fundraising on a global scale in August 2012, they decided to join together with CARE to build on the impressive seven-year history of the organization. Today, the organizations are fully integrated, and we use the "Castleman Disease Collaborative Network" name to describe our organization. The organization is led by a dedicated Board of Directors.


Greg Pacheco, Co-Founder & Board President of CARE, is the Vice President of Operations at BH&TF Inc and a Castleman disease survivor. Greg was diagnosed with Multicentric Castlemans Disease in June 2004 and co-Founded CARE in 2006. Greg was President of the Native Sons of the Golden West (NSGW) Parlor 150 from 2005 - 2007 and Chairman and district representative for School Site Council 2009 - 2011. He has utilized his extensive background in business administration, nonprofit organization, and public administration to lead CARE's efforts to raise over $100,000 for Castleman disease research as Treasurer (2007-2011), Vice President (2011), and currently President (2012-present). Greg graduated with a Business Degree from Heald College in 1992.

Charlyn Pacheco, Co-Founder & Board Secretary of CARE

Michael Stief, Treasurer of CARE, is also the Operations Manager at Black's Hatchery & Turkey Farm, a privately owned and operated hotel group in Paso Robles, California. He grew up with Castleman disease (CD) survivor, Greg Pacheco, and joined the Board in 2012 to help fight back against CD. He is passionate about helping the organization and Castleman disease patients in any way possible, particularly through helping to raise awareness of CD. Before Black's, Michael worked for almost 20 years in the automotive business with a focus on insurance and auditing.  

JC Diefenderfer, Board member of CARE, is a winemaker in Paso Robles. JC grew up with Greg Pacheco and considers Greg to be more like a brother than a friend. JC first heard of Castleman disease when Greg began his battle with idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease, and he struggled to find information about the disease.  JC was thrilled to be one of the founding members of the CARE board to help advance treatments and awareness for Castleman disease. JC is proud to be a part of the board still and looks forward to being able to touch more and help more as the organization grows. 

Kim Driscoll, Board member of CARE

Bette Jacobs, PhD, Board member of CARE, is a Professor, Health Systems Administration at Georgetown University; Distinguished Scholar and co-founder at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law; and a Fellow and Visiting Professor at Campion Hall University of Oxford. A Native American whose body of work spans community, academic, service, and corporate leadership, she is recognized for contributions in successful start-ups, financial integrity, and interdisciplinary innovations. She served with distinction as Dean for the Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies for 11 years overseeing unprecedented programmatic growth within the University. Previous executive experience includes vice presidency for Honda of America Manufacturing; founding faculty member and Associate Director of Applied Research at the Civitan International Research Center; and Acting Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at California State University. 

Joseph Jacobs, MD, MBA, Board member of CARE, received his medical degree from Yale University and obtained his MBA at the Wharton School of Business. Dr. Jacobs served as director of the Office of Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health and he has authored and/or contributed to eight books including Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology, Medical Futility and the Evaluation of Life Sustaining Interventions and Community-Oriented Primary Care: From Principles to Practice. Dr. Jacobs is a member of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and a Board Member of the Global Academy Genome Institute.

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, Co-Founder of CDCN, Executive Director of CDCN & CARE, & Board member of CARE