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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.

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 PICC™ (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

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. In her late fifties, 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

New Bedford, MA



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


Troy, NY

(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 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.”


Mary works part-time for the Oley Foundation as a program associate.

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 HPN 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 twenty-five 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.


Updated 11/8/18


more Calendar

Oley Regional Conference - Santa Monica, California

6/21/2019 » 6/24/2019
2019 Oley/UI Health Combined Conference

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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