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HEN Ambassadors
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The main goal of the Oley Ambassador is to heighten awareness of Oley resources whether it is in their geographic area, social networking community, clinical circles, etc. The “job” responsibilities can be flexible based on the Ambassador’s skills, available time, and interest. Please call (518) 262-5079 or e-mail metzgel@mail.amc.edu if you are interested in becoming an Oley Ambassador or learning more about what is involved. 


HEN = has experience with enteral (tube-fed) nutrition

HPN = has experience with parenteral (IV) nutrition

HPEN = has experience with IV & tube-fed nutrition

Parent = parent of HPN or HEN consumer

Spouse = spouse of HPN or HEN consumer

* = Has information on support group meetings


Please do not contact Ambassadors for solicitation, marketing, or research purposes.


Jack Smith                         


1805 Ben Clough Ln.
Southside, AL 35907
(256) 442-2496



Jack and Barbara adopted their daughter Joy when she was eight months old; she is now a young lady. Joy has a history of bronchopulmonary dysphasia (BPD), asthma, colitis, Williams syndrome, developmental delay, and serious feeding aversion. Joy receives her nutrition through a G-tube. Jack and Barbara have fostered eighteen medically fragile children, nine of whom have had G-tubes.

Joanne Platt


1977 Ethanwood Ave.
The Villages, FL 32162


Joanne has been married for thirty-six years and has two adult sons. She is an RN, but is presently disabled. Joanne underwent a subtotal gastrectomy for an abdominal tumor in 1995. Along with numerous other complications, she developed gastroparesis. “I struggled for ten years,” Joanne writes, “depending on oral nutrition (Ensure_UGH!), motility meds, and little amounts of food. I became very malnourished, which led to severe neurological symptoms. In 2006, I went on HPN via a PICC line. I had amazing results, but developed too many infections, and went through five lines in one year. I went to my first Oley conference in June 2006. I learned so much that by that August, I had a jejunostomy button inserted by a physician I learned of at Oley. I am now living the best quality of life in fourteen years.” Joanne’s diagnoses include partial gastrectomy, gastroparesis, malabsorption, dysmotility, GERD, pernicious anemia, iron deficient anemia, osteopenia, gastritis, and depression, “to name a few,” she adds. On being an Oley Ambassador, Joanne says, “Being an RN has helped me to better understand my problems. I will always be a caregiver, and if I cannot work, I hope I can lend support to others.”

Bob & Mary Smithers


2843 SW 92nd Terr.
Gainesville, FL 32608
(352) 331-8490




Mary was diagnosed with idiopathic gastroparesis in 1985. In 1998, after her third episode, her stomach no longer emptied enough for her to sustain herself. After short, unsuccessful periods on HPN (too many infections), Mary had a G-J tube placed and began tube feeding. After bouts with dehydration, her doctor recommended a daily liter of IV fluid, which was subsequently changed to lactated ringers.


She has experience with PICC lines and various central lines, and currently has a Power Port™ (for the lactated ringers). She also had a surgically placed J-tube, which was removed in March 2011 due to a fistula at the site. She currently tube feeds with a G-J tube, using the G portion to vent her stomach. She gets a liter of lactated ringers each night, with multivitamins and trace elements added three times per week. She also had a gastric stimulator placed in 2001 (on 9/11) and has since had it replaced twice.

Mary had to retire on disability in 1999 from her job as a speech therapist at a special needs school.


Bob is a retired high school math teacher and is retired military, having served three years on active duty and more than twenty years in the Florida Army National Guard. He is caregiver to Mary, and Mary and Bob are caregivers to Bob’s 91-year-old mother, Kay, who has cerebellar ataxia and lives with Bob and Mary. Bob and Mary are available via e-mail, telephone, or snail mail. They are currently involved with the Oley Tampa Support Group, which was guided by the late June Bodden, and hope to develop a Gainesville area group as well.

Lynn Wolfson


 1815 Water Ridge Dr.
Westin, FL 33326
(954) 562-7417




Lynn was born with Hirschsprung’s disease, which has severely affected her digestive system. She has had several surgeries since she was four years old. “All of my intestines have been affected,” she writes. At this time (2015), she has an ostomy (her seventh), a gastric tube (for stomach venting), and a jejunal (J-) tube (for feeding, due to severe motility issues, difficulty breaking down foods, and malabsorption of nutrients). In addition, she has a neurogenic bladder and needs to catheterize two to three times a day.

Lynn was on home parenteral nutrition (HPN) for two years. However, she writes, “after two bouts with sepsis, we decided to try J-tube feedings, which have worked out very well for me.”
Lynn has a service dog named Zev, who has been professionally trained for her specific needs. Lynn writes, “Zev carries my handbag in his backpack, helps me up by bracing if I fall, helps me up and down stairs or curbs, lets me know if my ostomy is leaking, and carries things in his mouth to help me. He even holds my feeding tube backpack in his mouth when I am in a public toilet! He is with me wherever I go.” Lynn and Zev do a lot of traveling together.

Lynn enjoys her family, learning, traveling, swimming, knitting, and volunteering. Lynn says, “My goal is to live my life to the fullest by being a functioning family member and contributing to my community through touching individuals I meet in a positive way so they can appreciate the gifts life has given them and contribute positively to society.”

Caryn Goldstein                   

Louisville, KY
(502) 416-7434


Tina Jackson

322 S. Jefferson St.
Louisa, KY 42130


Tina was born with cerebral palsy, which caused left hemiplegia (paralysis of the arm, leg, and trunk on the left side). She suffered a stroke in 1980 at age twenty-four, and lost the ability to speak. The stroke also affected her sense of balance, and eventually affected her ability to eat. By the age of forty-four, she was unable to eat without aspirating. At 57, sharing her experiences in the unique lifestyle adjustments that she has had make to maintain her independence is one of the things she can offer as an Oley Ambassador, as well as listen to others share their struggles.

Joseph Rogers                  

935 Rockdale Ave.
New Bedford, MA 02740
(508) 999-7363



As a teenager, Joseph was diagnosed with achalasia, a rare and degenerative disorder of the esophagus. Joseph experienced progressive difficulty swallowing, until the year 2000 when his esophagus finally had to be removed. He temporarily relied on a J-tube immediately following the surgery, but was unable to thrive once it was removed. His J-tube was reinserted permanently in 2005. Joseph is a consumer who does “not miss eating at all.” He is a motivational resource for consumers.

Carol Pelissier

280 Elgin Ave.
Manchester, NH 03104
(603) 625-2362



In 1994, Carol underwent a total colectomy due to colonic inertia, malabsorption, and chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. She began HPEN in 1995, remaining on enteral nutrition and periodically using parenteral nutrition. She has an ileostomy due to mega rectum and has endured over 44 surgeries. Carol’s background as a physician coordinator/medical assistant has helped her deal with her many challenges, including being on disability. She helped organize an endometriosis support group and does crisis call. Having two chronic illnesses has given Carol personal experience to compliment her professional skills and she has learned to focus on what she can do rather than on the things she cannot. She is determined to ensure that people are not alone and to help others cultivate a positive attitude. Carol finds support from her son, her dogs, and her love of horses. Read Article from 2012.

Mary Wootten 


1699 Sausse Ave.

Troy, NY 12180

(315) 529-5062


Mary’s daughter, Natalie, has had a feeding tube since 2009 due to failure to thrive, slow motility, and visceral hypersensitivity. They have been members of Oley since 2012.

Mary is a stay-at-home mom of three children (Natalie and two boys) and a Reiki Master Teacher. She is owner of Lotus Flower Reiki in Troy, New York. Mary studied psychology and serves as a board member for the SETH Project (“SETH” stands for Supporting Everyone That’s Hurting).

Mary says she is very excited to join us as an Ambassador. “One of my goals as an Ambassador,” she writes, “is to help parents transition to life with a child that is tube fed and to bring more awareness to the support that is available. My family felt isolated for the first couple of years that Natalie had her feeding tube, and I want to help others who may feel the same way.”

Joy McVey Hugick



Joy McVey Hugick

Atlanta, GA

(404) 849-4119


After serving patient populations during her career in public health, Joy became a patient herself. In 2010, she had an acute onset of symptoms, which was later diagnosed as a post-viral gastroenteropathy causing severe gastroparesis, slow-transit constipation, and esophageal dysmotility. Initially, Joy was intravenously fed; she was transitioned to tube feeding when it was determined to be a more permanent solution.

Following five years of taking the time she needed to get a complete picture of the extent of her condition and coming to terms with her new “normal,” Joy has embraced the role of Oley Ambassador. Joy is thrilled to serve as a resource to other home parenteral and enteral nutrition (HPEN) consumers and caregivers by providing peer-to-peer support and increasing awareness of Oley resources in the Atlanta area. She also advocates for HPEN and digestive disease issues on Capitol Hill by providing the patient/consumer perspective to clinicians and policymakers.

Joy believes her life improved when she began going with the flow of living with a chronic condition instead of resisting it. She is excited to blend her public health experience with her personal experience living on HPEN therapy.

Linda Stroshine* 

2112 Ottawa River Rd.
Toledo, OH 43611
(419) 726-2833




Linda was diagnosed with post-surgical gastroparesis after a 2001 Nissen fundoplication which severed her vagus nerve. She has been on TPN three different times and is currently receiving all nutrition through a J-tube. After becoming septic in 2006, Linda strives to remain on enteral feedings. Linda worked at an area hospital as a continuing medical education conference coordinator for 25 years before she retired on disability in April 2006. Since retiring, Linda has had increased success maintaining weight and controlling nausea. After an initial shock, Linda has come to terms with her “new friend”, the J-tube. She has been through the process of anger, grieving, self-pity and finally acceptance. Linda chooses not to live in the past, instead looking forward to the future, one day at a time. She still has some down days with depression, but they are less common now and serve to inspire Linda to get back up and trudge onward with her mission—to help others cope. Linda feels very fortunate to have the support of her husband, mother, father, two children and many close friends. They are always there to support her and help her get through the tough times.


Linda has been attending a Toledo-area support group for enteral consumers since 2007. Her first Oley conference was in 2009 and she credits the experience with giving her a renewed outlook on life. She saw first-hand how supportive Oley is and received tips to make her feeding tube regimen easier. She was most inspired seeing “little ones” manage their HPN and HEN. At first, Linda wondered why she got this condition but now she feels that she has an answer—to help others deal with tube feeding. Linda hopes that their support group will grow to support more Toledo-area homePEN consumers while spreading the word about the Oley Foundation.

Jackie Salzwedel


7104 S. Crane Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57108
(605) 376-3202



Jackie went to school for cardiac ultrasound and is currently a pediatric and adult cardiac sonographer at a hospital in Sioux Falls. Her interests include reading, shopping, her family, and now, she adds, "most recently, a way to give back and to be a support system for other families who are walking the feeding-tube journey."

Jackie’s daughter Brynlee, who turned one year old in 2012, is fed most of her calories through her G-tube. Jackie says, “Brynlee started out with an NJ-tube, but quickly progressed to a G-tube due to continued poor feeding. She also has a Nissen fundoplication, with her main diagnosis being reflux.”

Jackie started a blog at brynleethesupertubie.blogspot.com. It is, she says, “a way for friends, family, and whoever may be interested to stay up-to-date on the happenings of our little tubie. I am also using it as a way to keep track of information and to help spread feeding tube awareness.” She continues, “I am excited to be an Oley Ambassador and am looking forward to meeting new people!”

Cherie Dickerson                

1021 German School Rd.
Apt. 117
Richmond, VA 23225
(804) 475-1717



Cherie brings support for the enteral consumer to her area and beyond. With a diagnosis of esophageal dysmotility, she easily relates to the frustrations of others with similar issues and the pain associated with them.


Updated 1/18/16


more Calendar

Oley exhibit at the Michigan Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (MSPEN)

Oley exhibit at the Florida Association for Vascular Access Network (FLAVAN)

2/6/2017 » 2/10/2017
Feeding Tube Awareness Week

This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.


Updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. 


This website was updated in 2015 with a generous grant from Shire, Inc. This website is an educational resource. It is not intended to provide medical advice or recommend a course of treatment. You should discuss all issues, ideas, suggestions, etc. with your clinician prior to use. Clinicians in a relevant field have reviewed the medical information; however, the Oley Foundation does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented, and is not liable if information is incorrect or incomplete. If you have questions please contact Oley staff.
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