Deanna Coopersmith –Marquez, President
Deanna Coopersmith-Marquez founded the Scott Coopersmith Stroke Awareness Foundation when she lost Scott to a massive ischemic stroke of the brain stem in 2009 and became a 29 year old widow. At the time of Scott’s passing, she vowed not to let his death be in vain and to keep Scott’s memory alive for their son, Tyler. SCSAF was created in 2010 and has since become her passion.
Deanna was born and raised in New York and moved to Florida upon meeting Scott in 2002. Deanna holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. She has always had a passion for helping others. Deanna taught middle and high school for nine years, was a hospital homebound teacher, counseled at-risk teens, and volunteered as a grief counselor with hospice. She currently manages SCSAF and works within the community fundraising and event planning with efforts to raise stroke awareness.
Deanna and Scott had one son, Tyler, who was Scott’s whole world. Deanna was blessed with a second chance of love when she married Lucas in 2013 and welcomed their daughter, Olivia in 2014.
Ruby Coopersmith, Vice President
Ruby Coopersmith co-founded the Scott Coopersmith Stroke Awareness Foundation, and holds a special place in her heart for her brother-in-law and raising awareness in his name.
Ruby is originally from Canada and attended high school with Craig in south Florida. Her undergraduate is from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Psychology and a minor in business. She worked in real estate from 1999-2007. After losing Scott in 2009, she reenrolled at UCF for her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling and graduated in 2013. She currently counsels in the substance abuse and mental health field. She and Craig have two daughters Alyssa and Addison and reside in Oviedo.
As Scott’s younger brother, Craig Coopersmith is very passionate about the Scott Coopersmith Stroke Awareness Foundation. Craig’s goal is to continue to honor his brother’s legacy, as well as raising stroke awareness and funds for those in need.
Craig was born and raised in South Florida, and moved to Orlando for college. Craig holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Central Florida and has worked as a Financial Advisor at SunTrust Investment Services for over 15 years.
Lucas Marquez, Executive Board Member
Lucas Marquez, originally born in Texas, moved to South Florida in 1993 and became close friends with Craig shortly thereafter. Lucas’s holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and has worked for SunTrust for the past 10 years.
Stroke is personal for Lucas not only because he was a friend of Scott’s but also because his father suffered a stroke in 2008. Lucas has seen first-hand the difficulty and challenges that survivors and their care-takers are up against on a daily basis and is passionate about helping other families.
Lucas and Deanna married in 2013 and currently live in Florida with their kids.
Michael Romano, Executive Board Member
Michael Romano is a close family friend of the Coopersmith family and grew up as buddies with Scott from a very early age. In 2013, he started serving as a Board Member because of the closeness to the Coopersmith family, and the value of working with and talking to survivors means a great deal to him.
Michael obtained a Marketing Degree from the University of Florida and is the Area Sales Manager for Lundbeck Pharmaceuticals.
Jessica Cassone, Executive Board Member
Jessica Cassone is from Newtown, CT and became a board member in 2015 when she moved to Oviedo, Florida. Jessica holds a Bachelor's Degree in Relational Communication from Western Connecticut State University and is currently pursuing graduate certificates in Event Management and Non-Profit Management. She has demonstrated a passion for philanthropy and has held several different leadership roles through her years as a sister in the Sigma Delta Tau Sorority.
As an Executive Board member for The Scott Coopersmith Stroke Awareness Foundation, Jessica manages our volunteer efforts and works behind the scenes preparing for the annual Gala.
Robert Pritchard, Executive Board Member
Robert Pritchard is originally from Georgia and holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice, both from the University of Central Florida.
Robert never knew Scott personally, but came to meet the Coopersmith family through his personal experience with stroke. Robert suffered from a major stroke in July 2012 at the age of 22. Robert’s stroke changed his life forever, and had to go through an intensive recovery process including Physical, Speech, and Occupational Therapy in order to gain back what he had lost.
While going through his recovery process in September of 2012, SCSAF heard about his story and reached out to his family. SCSAF "adopted" Robert. Through the efforts and donations of the annual gala, funds were raised to help the Pritchard family with the medical expenses that come with having a stroke.
Robert is our newest board member and believes that being a part of the board and the foundation gives him a platform to be able give back. The opportunity to help out in the community and help people the way SCSAF had done for him is something that he is eager and excited to do.
Jennifer Feliciano – Executive Board Member
Jennifer Feliciano, was born in South Florida and went to High School with Craig and Ruby Coopersmith. Jennifer met Deanna and Scott when they moved to Oviedo in 2005 and became close friends in a short period of time. Getting to know Scott, Deanna and Tyler was very special for her. The entire Coopersmith family has been a big part of Jennifer’s life which is the reason Jennifer became a part of the Foundation. She felt it was time to start giving back to this important cause that is very dear to her heart. As an Executive Board Member, Jennifer helps with events and preparation for the annual Gala.
Rachel Groves – Executive Board Member
Rachel Groves is originally from South Florida and moved to Orlando to go to University of Central Florida college of Nursing in 2002. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree as well as a Master’s Degree in Nursing from the University of Central Florida and is a practicing Nurse Practitioner. She is married with 2 children.
Rachel came to meet the Coopersmith Foundation and family in 2017 after she herself suffered a major bilateral cerebellar stroke at the age of 32. She came across Scott’s story and the foundations work with Florida Hospital and reached out to SCSAF. Going through her own recovery and hours and weeks and months of therapy to gain back what was lost, Rachel can attest to the importance of early stroke assessment and action, early treatment, and the crucial role rehab and support for the patient and family play in recovery.
As a former bedside nurse, a Nurse Practitioner and recovering stroke survivor, she had a desire to giveback and use her knowledge and personal experience to help patients/families navigate a complicated and confusing system, to connect them to needed resources and get them the rehab and medical follow-up needed for the best potential recovery outcome. Rachel is excited to be part of SCSAF and looks forward to helping other stroke survivors in their own “come back strong” journey!
Jordana Marquez – Executive Board Member
Jordana Marquez moved to South Florida from Houston, Texas in 1993, where she attended high school with and befriended Craig Coopersmith, the brother of Scott, as well as Craig’s future wife Ruby. She is a proud graduate of the UCF Golden Knights, and is working in a field that exemplifies her passion for helping people as Director for JFS Career & Employment Services. As the daughter of a stroke survivor, and friend of a stroke victim, Jordana is able to bring real-life experience to the SCSF, and continues to draw inspiration from these experiences to advocate for stroke awareness and prevention. In her free time, she loves being an Aunt, singing out of tune karaoke and spending time with her rescue dog Baxter.
Dr. Richard Zraick – Executive Board Member
Richard was born in Brooklyn New York but was raised from a young age in Phoenix, Arizona (back when it really was like the Old West!). Prior to moving to Orlando, Florida in 2014, he lived in Little Rock, Arkansas and was a professor of speech-language pathology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Richard is currently the chairman of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Central Florida. The Department is the largest one in the United States, with nearly 1000 undergraduate and graduate students. The Department’s Communication Disorders Clinic houses the internationally-recognized Aphasia House, the only university-based intensive comprehensive aphasia program (ICAP) in the United States. The Aphasia House provides speech-language therapy to persons who have experienced neurological injury such as a stroke. Richard started out as a SCSAF volunteer, and was so inspired that he answered Deanna’s call to serve on the foundation’s board.
Richard describes being a professor as his ‘day job’. He sees himself as a former late 1970’s classic rock star, and he can often be heard playing his drums throughout his Oviedo neighborhood. He is also a professional songwriter, and enjoys writing song lyrics consisting of words that do not need to be looked up in a medical dictionary. He has a wife and twin daughters, who sometimes find him as amusing as he finds himself.
Dr. Colin Bartoe – Executive Board Member
Colin Bartoe was raised in South Florida and moved to Orlando to attend UCF for his undergraduate degree. Following that, Dr. Bartoe traveled to Life University in Marietta, Georgia to gain his Doctorate of Chiropractic and begin his studies in Functional Neurology. Dr. Bartoe has been practicing in Orlando since 2015.
Stroke rehabilitation has held a special place in Dr. Bartoe's heart since chiropractic school where he and his classmates used Functional Neurology to treat a number of stroke survivors in the outpatient clinic on campus. Dr. Bartoe was even published in a neurological journal for a case study related to the outcomes from one of those stroke patients. For Dr. Bartoe, the opportunity to join the SCSAF Board is a blessing that allows him to help our stroke survivors outside of his normal clinical treatments. The more ways in which we can help those who need it, the more people we can help. It doesn't just stop with stroke survivors either. When we are able to help survivors become more self sufficient, we can improve the lives of their caretakers too.
There are many volunteers, both family and friends alike who assist SCSAF during the weeks leading up to and the evening of the gala. We are very thankful to every one of them for their time and support.