Executive Team

Danielle Lysak President

Danielle is a registered nurse in pediatric cardiology at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. She is currently in the final stages of completing her Masters degree in nursing at the University of Alberta. Her thesis aims to explore the experiences of parents who have children with complex medical needs when they visit the emergency room. In her spare time, Danielle enjoys spending time outside by a lake or in the mountains as much as possible! She can be reached at

Mackenzie Doll Vice President

My name is Mackenzie Doll, I am 28 and I live in Camrose Alberta. I was diagnosed with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus soon after I was born. I have been a part of the association as a member for as long as I can remember. Currently I am taking my final course for Accounting Technician through NorQuest College. My hobbies include para powerlifting, doing my nails and makeup, and helping with community theater by doing actors makeup before they get on stage. I look forward to getting to know all the members of the association and helping in any way possible.

Brooke Bateman Treasurer

Chera Giesbrecht Secretary

I have been involved with the multiple Spina Bifida associations over the past 18 years. When our son was born, we wanted to connect with other families and build relationships with people who knew what we were going through. That is when I decided I wanted to get involved and started volunteering for the Spina Bifida Association of Manitoba. I had different roles on the board including president over the 7 years I was involved there. During that time, I was also a member of the National board. Once we moved to Edmonton our first goal was to find a sledge hockey team for our son which then led to joining the SBHANA board and I have not looked back! I am grateful for all the people we have met along the way and the people I will continue to meet going forward!


Mat Figeys Director

Mathieu (Mat) Figeys is a postdoctoral clinician-scientist at the University of Alberta and the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, where he focuses on neurorehabilitation. In addition to his research work, Mat is also an emergency room Registered Nurse, bringing his expertise and experience to the frontlines of healthcare. Mat has a passion for giving back to his community, and for the past nine years, he has volunteered with the Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Association of Northern Alberta, helping at Camp Freedom. He also serves as a member of the board of directors for this non-profit organization for the past three years.

Betty Ann Thibodeau Director

Betty Ann is a Pediatric Urology Nurse Practitioner and works closely with many of our members. Betty Ann has been a key volunteer for Camp Freedom as the medication nurse. We are grateful to have her share her insights and knowledge with the board.

Yuan Zuo

Yuan is a passionate individual who dedicates her time to SBHANA, a community-based organization that provides resources and support for individuals living with Spina Bifida. Through her involvement with the organization, Yuan has become a strong advocate for disability rights and greater accessibility, inspiring others to join the cause and making a real difference in the lives of those affected by Spina Bifida.

Samantha Biermann

I met my first friends with spina bifida and hydrocephalus in junior high. I went on to play sledge hockey and met many other friends with the conditions. I met my husband through sledge hockey, and he has both spina bifida and hydrocephalus as well. I am also a registered nurse at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

Darlene Cathcart

I have been involved with the SBHANA for 25 years. When our daughter, Morgan was born we wanted to connect with other families living a similar life. I volunteered on the board of directors for approximately 10 years including several as president. During that time, I loved meeting members and planning events. I became the cofounder of Camp Freedom and co-chaired two national conferences. I was later hired as the Program Manager and was involved in all aspects of the SBHANA. The SBHANA has been a core part of my family’s life and I met many close friends sharing the journey of raising a child with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Since the pandemic slowed life down, I am excited to help revitalize programs and connect with members once again.

Icey Salehi

Icey Salehi, is a Social Work graduate from the University of British Columbia, highlighting over 17 years of experience in the field. Her dedication to serving others led her to volunteer with SBHANA intermittently from 2008 to 2012, where she played a pivotal role as a group leader, establishing the Nolimits group, and briefly served on the board. Recently, in June 2023, she rekindled her commitment by resuming her volunteer work as a board member with SBHANA, showcasing her enduring passion for supporting individuals with spina bifida and hydrocephalus.