Christina Parrish - Founder/Chair

Christina Parrish founded The Purple Iris Foundation as a result of what was then her 3 1/2 year journey through pancreatic cancer. She was given the life-changing news on June 16, 2008. Needless to say, she initially reacted with shock and then was told that she had only 3-6 months to live with treatment. She was appalled and decided then that no one in her lifetime should be given this news – thus The Purple Iris Foundation was born to help raise awareness and support her fellow patients. Christina is proud to say that she is a 11-year survivor. Christina is living proof that there is hope. Christina is a seasoned human services professional, who through her 2 decades in the field has garnered exceptional experience and expertise working with adults and children with disabilities. She was also the director of a large child care facility, and most recently worked for a major bank in the collections division. Christina’s duties include but are not limited to: Coordinate the 5K fun run and the purple iris planting project, manage volunteers, public relations, business administration, and fundraising.

Barbara Novelli - CEO

Barb has been involved with the Purple Iris Foundation since 2012 when she began volunteering as the business consultant. Barb’s involvement grew as she accepted the position of Board Secretary.  She has helped to launched new campaigns for the Foundation and is versed in writing business plans and grants.  She is also responsible for over-seeing the filing of required documents.  

Barb is a 1982 graduate of S.U.N.Y Plattsburgh with a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and a 1983 graduate of S.U.N.Y Cortland with a Master of Science degree in mathematics. She is also a 2005 graduate of Rowan University with a Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership.  Barb has 34 years experience in the field of Education. She is currently the High School Supervisor of the Business and Technology Departments.

Natalee Kohls - President/Volunteer Graphic/Web Design, Media Relations & Social Media

Natalee is a graduate of the University of Maine at Machias with an Assoc. Liberal Arts Degree, in 1987 and a graduate of the New England School of Communications in Radio Broadcasting, in 1991.  Member of the Kappa Alpha Kappa Service Sorority. She brings her experience in media, broadcasting, promotions, web/graphic design and marketing. In private practice, she teaches all levels of Usui Reiki, offers Reiki sessions, personal spiritual coaching, and is a motivational speaker. Natalee volunteers doing the following:

Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin) daily creating graphics & posts for:
    PIF * Pound The Pavement * Maine Cancer Outdoor Adventures * Light The Night Purple
    Cancer Events and Wellness Group

Runsignup setup, managing and maintenance for Hot Toddy and Pound The Pavement

Creating monthly PIF Calendars

PIF website setup, graphics, managing, Integration and maintenance 

Planning and design graphics for:
    Lip Sync Battle  *  Purple Iris Project Hope Garden  *  The Big Dig * Jimmys Wilderness Trek
    Moe’s Fundraiser * Mason’s Fundraiser * Light The Night Purple * Light The Night for Hope
    Giving Tuesday * Hot Toddy Extravaganza * Pound The Pavement * Pancreatic Cancer Day
    Pancreatic Cancer Month * Purple Elf Project * Peer to Peer Cancer Support Groups *  
    Cancer Spa Days * Any additional Fundraisers throughout each year

Design Supporting Items including postcards, brochures, note cards, table tents and stickers

Banner Design for Events

ShoutOut Email Marketing

Media Relations/TV and Radio Co-Ordination for psa’s and story coverage

Copywriting PSA’s

Voiceover PSA’s

And wherever I am needed!

​Phyllis Couch - Vice President/Treasurer

Phyllis brings with her considerable background in management, operational management, customer service, sales, financial modeling, accounting, and public relations. This experience was gained through more than 25 years as an office manager, Department manager and Optician. Duties will include but are not limited to: Helping the president coordinate the 5K fun run and the purple iris planting project, coordinating volunteers, public relations, business administration, and fundraising.

Tyler Parrish - Volunteer "ProjktCncr" Project Manager

Kris Lovley - Volunteer Co-Ordinator - Maine Cancer Outdoor Adventures Program

Kris Lovley, 34

I grew up on 13 acres of wooded land in Pittsfield, Maine. I spent my days learning about the land and the creatures inhabiting the area. At age 13 I took my hunters safety course and started to hunt and venture out into the woods for overnight trips with my older brother. At the age of 16 my family moved to Florida where I continued going camping, hiking and hunting.

I returned to Maine 10 years later, struggling with high anxiety and looking for answers which lead me to turn towards the woods and a more simple lifestyle. Soon after I began spending summers in Millinocket, Maine exploring the land and learning the difference between states, as I had been gone for so long. I will admit, it has taken all the years of me being back here in Maine to discover and build who I really am as a person and who I want to be.

In 2012, I met Jimmy Garland, who quickly became my adventure buddy and best friend. We spent all our free time white water rafting, camping, hiking and hunting. Including a 3 day snowshoe trip in the Katahdin region with a Maine Guide, a bird hunting trip in the Allagash, along with numerous hunting trips to different parts of the state. Jimmy taught me how to properly use a recurve bow and arrow, shoot a rifle and pistol, steer a raft on the river, drive a snowmobile, and gave me the love and appreciation for the outdoors that he carried with him.

After he passed away from Pancreatic cancer, I began working with the foundation on building a outdoor adventure relief program. I believe I am not the only person who finds relief from the pain of losing someone, in the woods. He left behind his three children who have grown up learning about the importance of spending time in nature and I, with the foundations help, have been able to continue taking them and their mother out into the wilderness.

As the outdoors has shaped my life and brought relief to my own pain of loss, I believe I have been chosen to bring comfort to those who are suffering from loss or struggling with the fight against Cancer.

Hiking, Maine Blue hill Mountain Chick hill Beehive, Acadia National Park Moxie Falls, The Forks Grand falls, The Forks Great head trail, Acadia National Park Gorham mountain trail, Acadia National Park Jordan pond loop trail B-52 memorial trail, Greenville Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area, Baxter State Park

Snowshoeing, Maine Chimney pond trail Little and big Niagara falls

Daicey pond trail Poplar hut trail, Maine huts and trails Rock slides, Green lake

Backpacking, Maine Little Bigelow mountain, AT, 2 day hiking trip Daicey pond, 3 day snowshoe trip Gulf Hagas, Baxter state park, 2 days hiking

Hiking, Alaska Mill loop trail, Hatcher Pass Butte mountain trail Snow bird mine and glacier trail Fish head trail Independence mine

Hiking, Ireland Carrick-a-rede rope bridge trail Glendalough upper and lower lake loop

Hiking, New Hampshire Champney falls trail Rocky gorge and falls trail Gordon path

Hiking, Montreal Mount Royal park loop Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood loop

Losing someone you love is a deep wound only Mother nature can heal.

-Kris Lovley

Christie Cantara - Public Relations Volunteer & Advocate

Christie Cantara is a resident of Falmouth, Maine and is a single Mom to her 3 daughters Kaylee (25), Lacie (15) and Mallorie (12).  Christie is a 6 year Breast Cancer Survivor and has been an advocate for the disease ever since.  She has participated in events and raised funds for various cancer organizations for many years.  In 2017, Christie's longtime boyfriend Tommy was diagnosed with Stage 3 Pancreatic Cancer.  She left her job to care for him full time.  After a year's worth of trying everything to save his life, Tommy passed away on September 4, 2018.  He had just turned 50 years old.  After his passing, Christie researched and discovered the Purple Iris Foundation.  She held an event in Tommy's memory to raise funds for the foundation and will continue to advocate and educate others about this horrible disease.

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Find us: 

418 South Main St. Rm 9, Brewer, Maine 04412

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PHONE: 207-579-1969

© 2019 Purple Iris Foundation

The Purple Iris Foundation is a qualified 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit organization.  

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