GRACE Foundation Founders & Staff

GRACE Foundation Co-Founder Julie Pfeifer was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2004. Julie underwent a double mastectomy, chemo therapy and radiation. Julie is married to Terry Pfeifer and is a stay at home mother of six children: Lyndie, James, Michael, Natalie, John, and Dominic, and a grandmother to three: Genevieve, Desmond, and Francesca. Julie also enjoys her part-time job at Majestic Treasures in downtown Grand Island. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2004. Along with the devastating news came a whole host of emotions and many months of recovery from surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. Through it all I was blessed with the amazing support of family and friends, and the exceptional care I received at the St. Francis Cancer Treatment Center. However, as I was going through the treatment process I came to realize there were some specific things that could be done to help make the process a little more bearable and comfortable for those around me. Because of my experience, and that of my dear friend and fellow breast cancer survivor, Lisa Willman, the GRACE Foundation was born. Lisa and I vowed to turn our battle with cancer into something positive for people in our own community. Today our mission continues and we are committed to help those in the Grand Island area who are struggling with cancer.”

GRACE Foundation Co-Founder Julie Pfeifer was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2004. Julie underwent a double mastectomy, chemo therapy and radiation.

Julie is married to Terry Pfeifer and is a stay at home mother of six children: Lyndie, James, Michael, Natalie, John, and Dominic, and a grandmother to three: Genevieve, Desmond, and Francesca. Julie also enjoys her part-time job at Majestic Treasures in downtown Grand Island.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2004. Along with the devastating news came a whole host of emotions and many months of recovery from surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. Through it all I was blessed with the amazing support of family and friends, and the exceptional care I received at the St. Francis Cancer Treatment Center. However, as I was going through the treatment process I came to realize there were some specific things that could be done to help make the process a little more bearable and comfortable for those around me. Because of my experience, and that of my dear friend and fellow breast cancer survivor, Lisa Willman, the GRACE Foundation was born. Lisa and I vowed to turn our battle with cancer into something positive for people in our own community. Today our mission continues and we are committed to help those in the Grand Island area who are struggling with cancer.”

GRACE Foundation Co-Founder Lisa Willman was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, 2006.  Lisa underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and a year of Herceptin treatments.  Lisa had another scare and had a double mastectomy in February, 2017.  Lisa is married to Kim Willman and is a State Farm agent in Grand Island.  They are parents to Daryn, Kamryn and Lauryn and dog Ace. “I was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after my good friend Julie was diagnosed and was blessed to be going through this journey of treatment with her.  To say we were overwhelmed with the diagnosis, is an understatement; my girls were 7, 4 and 3 years old at the time and the thought of them having to grow up without their mother was the most terrifying aspect.  My family was indeed blessed with the plethora of support that we received from family, friends and even total strangers.  We definitely didn’t go hungry, my kids got to where they needed to go and my husband and the rest of my family had the support of friends to lend a listening ear.  My surgery was at Creighton in Omaha, but I had all of my treatment and surgery in February, 2017 right here at home and the experience was amazing.  Grand Island and the surrounding area is so blessed to the have the Cancer Treatment Center right here; we have access to cutting edge therapies, top quality doctors and compassionate nurses. Because we felt so blessed to have been given a second chance at life, my family and Julie believe that it is only right that we 'give back.'  Hence, the birth of the GRACE Foundation: Julie and I wanted patients and their families to focus on getting better and not stress about how bills were going to get paid, how they were going to afford to put gas in their car or how to feed their family.  We wanted a source that could provide immediate relief from financial pressures and also a listening ear if someone just needed to talk.  GRACE has truly been a healing gift for me and my diagnosis provided an outlet to give back and hopefully make a difference."

GRACE Foundation Co-Founder Lisa Willman was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, 2006.  Lisa underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, radiation and a year of Herceptin treatments.  Lisa had another scare and had a double mastectomy in February, 2017. 

Lisa is married to Kim Willman and is a State Farm agent in Grand Island.  They are parents to Daryn, Kamryn and Lauryn and dog Ace.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after my good friend Julie was diagnosed and was blessed to be going through this journey of treatment with her.  To say we were overwhelmed with the diagnosis, is an understatement; my girls were 7, 4 and 3 years old at the time and the thought of them having to grow up without their mother was the most terrifying aspect.  My family was indeed blessed with the plethora of support that we received from family, friends and even total strangers.  We definitely didn’t go hungry, my kids got to where they needed to go and my husband and the rest of my family had the support of friends to lend a listening ear.  My surgery was at Creighton in Omaha, but I had all of my treatment and surgery in February, 2017 right here at home and the experience was amazing.  Grand Island and the surrounding area is so blessed to the have the Cancer Treatment Center right here; we have access to cutting edge therapies, top quality doctors and compassionate nurses.

Because we felt so blessed to have been given a second chance at life, my family and Julie believe that it is only right that we 'give back.'  Hence, the birth of the GRACE Foundation: Julie and I wanted patients and their families to focus on getting better and not stress about how bills were going to get paid, how they were going to afford to put gas in their car or how to feed their family.  We wanted a source that could provide immediate relief from financial pressures and also a listening ear if someone just needed to talk.  GRACE has truly been a healing gift for me and my diagnosis provided an outlet to give back and hopefully make a difference."

GRACE Foundation Executive Director Laurie Kulus joined the GRACE Foundation in 2015 as the Executive Director. Laurie and her husband Scott have been married for 34 years and live outside Phillips, Nebraska. Scott served in the United States Air Force and has been employed at Hornady for the past 28 years. They have two grown children, Amber (Adam) Woitaszewski and Brad (Melissa) Kulus and are grandparents to: Brooklyn Anne and Lainey Marie, and look forward to a new addition coming in December. Before joining Team GRACE, Laurie worked for Obstetricians and Gynecologist, PC of Hastings and Grand Island as Practice Manager and for Grand Island Physical Therapy as Human Resource Director. "When I started with the GRACE Foundation, I had no idea how working directly with families who have a family member diagnosed with this terrible disease would change my life. We are able to make a difference because of GRACE. It is amazing to see someone’s face, when I’m able to tell them we can help, when they have hit so many road blocks before coming through the GRACE Foundation’s door. Cancer has impacted my family directly, with the loss of both my father-in-law and my oldest brother. I have another brother who is currently in this terrible fight with cancer, undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. It is very important for me as well to spread the word about taking care of your health to help prevent a cancer diagnosis. In August of 2015, during my first preventive care colonoscopy, a large mass was found. I had no symptoms, I was just over 50 and knew I was to have this simple test done.  If I had waited another six months, I would have most likely been looking at a cancer diagnosis myself." Laurie recently completed, through a grant with the Grand Island Community Foundation, the first class of NEI (Nonprofit Excellence Institute), and is currently in the 32nd Leadership Tomorrow class. Laurie is a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and past member of SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) and CNHRM (Central Nebraska Human Resource Management). She enjoys about anything outdoors and loves spending a day at the lake fishing with her husband. Laurie also enjoys running and doing half marathons and most of all, spending time with her grandchildren.  

GRACE Foundation Executive Director Laurie Kulus joined the GRACE Foundation in 2015 as the Executive Director. Laurie and her husband Scott have been married for 34 years and live outside Phillips, Nebraska. Scott served in the United States Air Force and has been employed at Hornady for the past 28 years. They have two grown children, Amber (Adam) Woitaszewski and Brad (Melissa) Kulus and are grandparents to: Brooklyn Anne and Lainey Marie, and look forward to a new addition coming in December.

Before joining Team GRACE, Laurie worked for Obstetricians and Gynecologist, PC of Hastings and Grand Island as Practice Manager and for Grand Island Physical Therapy as Human Resource Director.

"When I started with the GRACE Foundation, I had no idea how working directly with families who have a family member diagnosed with this terrible disease would change my life. We are able to make a difference because of GRACE. It is amazing to see someone’s face, when I’m able to tell them we can help, when they have hit so many road blocks before coming through the GRACE Foundation’s door.

Cancer has impacted my family directly, with the loss of both my father-in-law and my oldest brother. I have another brother who is currently in this terrible fight with cancer, undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.

It is very important for me as well to spread the word about taking care of your health to help prevent a cancer diagnosis. In August of 2015, during my first preventive care colonoscopy, a large mass was found. I had no symptoms, I was just over 50 and knew I was to have this simple test done.  If I had waited another six months, I would have most likely been looking at a cancer diagnosis myself."

Laurie recently completed, through a grant with the Grand Island Community Foundation, the first class of NEI (Nonprofit Excellence Institute), and is currently in the 32nd Leadership Tomorrow class. Laurie is a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and past member of SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) and CNHRM (Central Nebraska Human Resource Management). She enjoys about anything outdoors and loves spending a day at the lake fishing with her husband. Laurie also enjoys running and doing half marathons and most of all, spending time with her grandchildren.  

Race for GRACE Director Stacia Rice joined the GRACE Foundation in 2016 as the Race for GRACE Director. Stacia and her husband Chris have been married for 14 years and live in rural Chapman, Nebraska.  Chris is an owner at Rice Electric and also farms. They are parents to Rylie, Halle, and Kyndal. As a family, they enjoy sports and being with family and friends.  Stacia also works part time at Rice Electric and is the varsity basketball coach at Grand Island Central Catholic. Basketball is a huge passion for her, and she also helps coordinate a youth basketball program, No Limit Basketball, in Grand Island.  When Stacia joined GRACE in 2016, she helped out in the office and got to meet many of the families that GRACE helps. She then knew what a big impact this organization had on the community. Stacia has been an avid runner since graduating from college, so when asked to direct the Race for GRACE, she knew it would be a great fit. The Race for GRACE is a fun event to run competitively or simply walk or run in honor or memory of someone affected by cancer.  “Seeing people come through the finish line in memory of a loved one and carrying their butterfly has been the most rewarding experience for me. Working for the GRACE Foundation as Race Director is such an honor! What Lisa and Julie started is such a great gift in helping families through this horrible disease.”

Race for GRACE Director Stacia Rice joined the GRACE Foundation in 2016 as the Race for GRACE Director.

Stacia and her husband Chris have been married for 14 years and live in rural Chapman, Nebraska.  Chris is an owner at Rice Electric and also farms. They are parents to Rylie, Halle, and Kyndal. As a family, they enjoy sports and being with family and friends. 

Stacia also works part time at Rice Electric and is the varsity basketball coach at Grand Island Central Catholic. Basketball is a huge passion for her, and she also helps coordinate a youth basketball program, No Limit Basketball, in Grand Island. 

When Stacia joined GRACE in 2016, she helped out in the office and got to meet many of the families that GRACE helps. She then knew what a big impact this organization had on the community. Stacia has been an avid runner since graduating from college, so when asked to direct the Race for GRACE, she knew it would be a great fit. The Race for GRACE is a fun event to run competitively or simply walk or run in honor or memory of someone affected by cancer. 

“Seeing people come through the finish line in memory of a loved one and carrying their butterfly has been the most rewarding experience for me. Working for the GRACE Foundation as Race Director is such an honor! What Lisa and Julie started is such a great gift in helping families through this horrible disease.”