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Our Board of Directors

Michael Cuccione Sr.'s professional career started with White Spot restaurants where he worked as a general manager for 14 years. He then transferred his restaurant management expertise to the role of Director of Operations for the largest Burger King franchise in British Columbia, Canada encompassing 11 locations and sales in excess of $11.5 million per year, with a team of over 400 employees. He is currently contracting his services as a project manager for Public Works & Government Services of Canada.

He formerly represented B.C. Burger King franchisees holding the positions of Member of the Business Planning Council, Vice Ppresident of the Canada Franchisee Association, and Board Director for the National Franchisee Association.

Mike moved to Canada from Italy in 1958 and the preservation of the Italian culture and heritage is very important to him. He is actively involved in the Canadian-Italian community as President of the Italian Cultural Centre.

Michael Cuccione Sr. is uncle to our late Michael Cuccione and has been a part of the Foundation since its beginning in 1997. As Ppresident of the Foundation, his mission is to carry on Michael's legacy through the success of the Foundation which will be measured by research breakthroughs that offer gentler treatments and steps towards the cure of childhood cancer.

John Audia is currently the General Manager of Stylus, Made to Order Sofas under which he's been employed for the majority of his professional career.

John was born in Italy and moved to Canada in 1968. Proud of his Italian heritage, he sits at the Board of Director of the Associazione Culturale Calabrese, an association of his birth region that promotes events to preserve his Italian culture and heritage. John has also been an active soccer coach for 25 years and has successfully lea a number of his teams to various provincial championships.

He is happily married, has 2 children, and is dedicated to his family. Knowing Michael, John was inspired by him and thus was motivated to be involved with the Foundation. John's own mother passed away due to cancer and this further pushed him to want to make a difference to find the cure.

Gurnazar Kaila was born in Vancouver and grew up in the Fraser Valley. She has lived in British Columbia her entire life and currently resides in Burnaby.

Gurnazar has been a career insurance professional for the past 25 years.

She is currently at ICBC as a Commercial Claims Adjuster and has been with ICBC for over 20 years.

Gurnazar and her family have been involved with the Michael Cuccione Foundation for over 15 years. Her passion for volunteer work and in helping others is what drives her to contribute and help. Gurnazar believes in Michael's vision that "together we are making a difference in the fight against childhood cancer."

Dianne Bagan grew up in Edmonton and lived in Montreal for six years before settling down in British Columbia in 1985.  With a background in Human Resources she landed on a career as the Canadian General Manager of a nutritional supplement company.  Dianne served on the Board of Directors of the Direct Sellers Association for two terms.

Even as a young teenager, Dianne understood and felt the importance of giving back to her community starting her volunteer work with the Canadian Red Cross in Edmonton and continuing later as an adult with Deltassist.

Dianne met Michael when he was 10 years old recovering from his bone marrow transplant. She was touched by Michael's inspiration and dream to find a cure for childhood cancer and has been involved with the Foundation since 1996. She is honoured and proud to share Michael's drive to "Make a Difference" in this world and to serve on the Michael Cuccione Foundation Board of Directors.

Dianne lives in South Surrey with her husband, David, who also knew Michael and shares the passion to continue Michael's work. Dianne and David have 2 children and 5 grandchildren.

Domenic Cuccione is the proud patriarch of the Cuccione family and the father of the late Michael Cuccione. He coached soccer for over 30 years and enjoys participating in his community. His pride is his family and Michael continues to be his source of inspiration. Domenic is part owner of Fibre Crown Mouldings in Burnaby and has been involved in the construction industry for over 40 years.

In 2018, he was one of the recipients of the Order of BC. Domenic and his wife Gloria share their story at various speaking engagements and continue to spread Michael message of hope! He has been a director for the Michael Cuccione Foundation since its inception and he will never give up on this important cause!

Maya Sangara began working with the Cuccione family many years ago as part of her role in her family's business, Leslie Forest Products, which has been a long time supporter of the Foundation. Through their involvement in Golf For a Cure, Maya worked closely with Gloria Cuccione and her dedication to the Foundation's cause eventually brought her to elevate her involvement and join the Board of Directors in 2015.

Maya works with Covenant House Vancouver as the Manager of Infrastructure and Projects. She is currently working on an ambitious expansion project of two new buildings to serve homeless and at-risk youth. She is also completing her MBA degree at Queen's University.

From a young age, Maya watched her parents, Ron and Jas, help others in any way they could and contribute to charitable causes, and she adopted these values as her own. Maya is passionate about non-profit work, especially that related to children and youth.

Joe Carnovale was born and raised in East Vancouver, BC and graduated from Gladstone Secondary School. He is a project manager with a focus on new construction developments. Over the past 30 years, he has built well over 400 residential homes as well as commercial projects in the Greater Vancouver area. He is married with two daughters and two grandchildren.

Joe knew Michael well and was influenced by his sense of community; he appreciated the example that Michael set on how life should be lived and what it means to give back to others. Joe's memory of Michael fuels his passion for community and giving back, and Joe is dedicated to the Michael Cuccione Foundation and Michael's vision of finding a cure for childhood cancer.

Armando Cuccione has been helping with the Michael Cuccione Foundation ever since his dear cousin Michael founded it in 1997. He's passionate and dedicated to keeping Michael's legacy alive. What motivates Armando to continue is the knowledge that childhood cancer cure rates have gone up since the Foundation started and he believes that 100% cure rates will be a reality in his lifetime. To Armando and to the Foundation, funding research is the only way to get there.

Professionally, Armando had his start in a finance position with RBC Royal Bank, and then had a brief stint at Yellow Pages Group gaining marketing experience before settling into his now career: Armando has operated his mortgage business for over 10 years licensed with Verico The Mortgage Advantage and in recent years, he founded the ApproveU Mortgage Lending Team.

Michael's dream was to cure childhood cancer, and it's Armando's privilege to have a part in fulfilling that dream as a Director and Cuccione family member.

Gloria Cuccione is the mother of the late Michael Cuccione. She ran her own fashion business called Cucci Fashions for 10 years until her son Michael was diagnosed with cancer. Gloria and her family are proudly supporting Michael's vision of making a difference for childhood cancer and finding a cure. Gloria's greatest source of inspiration is of course her beloved son Michael, for the incredible impact he had on so many people's lives during his own, which was too short.

Gloria has been awarded the honour of the Queen Elizabeth 11 Diamond Jubilee Medal award in 2012 and the Order of BC in 2014. Gloria and her husband Domenic share Michael's story at various speaking engagements to help spread Michael's message! She has been actively running the Michael Cuccione Foundation since its inception decades ago and she hopes to find a cure so that no one else will have to lose their precious child to cancer.

With over two decades of senior leadership experience encompassing people management and strategic fundraising campaigns, Maria Faccio has proven to build strong relationships with provincial and national corporations, diverse community groups, and established leaders and philanthropists throughout the province. Maria has helped shape the philanthropic landscape in BC.

By far, Maria's greatest passion is people - through the building of relationships, encouraging collaboration, leading recruitment and nurturing the mentorship of staff and volunteers. Maria thrives on community-building and giving back. She holds many volunteer roles within her community.

Maria has worked closely with the Michael Cuccione Foundation over the past two decades, has been a strong advocate for childhood cancer research and continues to champion Michael's legacy.

Hussein Alibhai has been formally supporting the Michael Cuccione Foundation since 2019. A close childhood friend of Michael himself, Hussein's passion for finding a cure for childhood cancer stems from a deeply personal connection and a desire to honor the memory of his dear friend.

Hussein's professional career also aligns with his passion for medical research. He currently holds a position at STEMCELL Technologies, a renowned life sciences company at the forefront of innovative discoveries and advancements in the field of Oncology and Regenerative Medicine. His work at STEMCELL Technologies provides him with valuable insights and knowledge, enabling him to communicate the impact that research can have towards the development of new therapies and treatment approaches for childhood cancer.

Our Directors at Large


Dave Bagan
Sal Audia
Carmela Cappelletti
Domenic Carida
Maela Braaten
Darryl Lim
Rena Carnovale
Anthony Ciccone
Steve Cuccione, Sr
Rosa Franzon
Richie Whitehead
Bruce Clark
Paul Mobilio
Ross Saito
Anthony Tran
Carrie Young
Anders Hammerberg
Alfredo Valente
Jason Zanatta
Nirmal Kaila


Collin Parker & Iris Parker

New York

Jack & Sonia Rutigliano
Janet and Joe Vaskas


Maria & Nick Lapiccirella
Tony & Franca Manco
John & Carmela Bisogno
Philip & Anna Messina
Joe & Maria Manco

Our Researchers and Scientists

The Michael Cuccione Foundation funds the following key investigators in the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program at the Child & Family Research Institute.