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staff-iconBoard of Directors

Ciara Johnson - Forever Footprints board member

Ciara Johnson - Board Member

Ciara Johnson is a graduate from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and a minor in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Speech. Shortly after graduation she began working for a San Diego based event coordinating and PR firm McFarlane Promotions, Inc. By her mid-twenties Ciara was named Vice President of McFarlane Promotions, Inc. Ciara is now working as a self-employed event planner, coordinating events in both San Diego and Orange County with 9 years of experience. Ciara’s Story Our pregnancy was going extremely smoothly and around 18 weeks were over joyed to learn we were having a little boy. We went in for our 20 week checkup appointment and everything went routinely until our OB mentioned that our son was measuring a little small. After many specialist appointments we were able to rule out Down syndrome or Dwarfism. We continued with weekly checkups and our son was still measuring a little small, but continued to grow at a normal pace.  At a day shy of 28 weeks, I woke up with a severe pain. This lead into me getting physically ill prompting us to go to the emergency room. The next morning, they diagnosed me with HELLP Syndrome (a severe form of pre-eclampisa). This disease is what was causing our son to measure smaller. The prognosis meant after being given some steroid shots I would have to deliver our son within the next 48-72 hours.  When I was 28 weeks and 3 days, on November 15th, 2012, I was rushed into an emergency C-section and our amazing son Colton Alan Johnson was born. Colton came out a fighter and was doing wonderfully for his small size of 2 lbs 2 oz. We were told that 28 week old babies had over a 90% of survival. We knew in our hearts that Colton was a fighter and would undoubtable be coming home with us after a long NICU stay.  Our NICU stay was hard as it is for any parent in the NICU, but overall Colton was doing great. He had his bad days as all NICU babies do, but he was growing and taking steps forward. On December 10th, 2012, after 25 days in the NICU Colton started to be a little extra fussy and didn’t quite seem like himself. They ran testing on him and found that he had necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) which came on extremely aggressively. The doctors and nurses had not seen a case of it coming on so severely in their 20+ years in the field. Within in just a few short hours of them diagnosing Colton with the disease, he took a turn for the worst. In the end our sweet precious son took his last breath in my arms. Since that moment I knew I wanted to do more for him, in his memory and to honor him. We were introduced to the walk from the staff in the NICU and looked forward to participating in the 2013 walk, but I knew I wanted to do more. We ended up having two subsequent miscarriages in 2013, which drew me even closer to the organization and my drive to help others. I am so thrilled to now be a board member and look forward to helping others and educating through Forever Footprints.

Elizabeth Pagliarini

Elizabeth Pagliarini - Board Member

Elizabeth Pagliarini currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of Summit Healthcare REIT, Inc. Ms. Pagliarini is a seasoned executive with over 25 years of experience having held positions including chief executive officer, president, chief financial officer, and chief compliance officer. Her background includes experience in finance, accounting, operations, compliance, securities litigation, and executive management.

Ms. Pagliarini successfully broke the “glass ceiling” in her mid-twenties as chief executive officer and chairwoman of the board of an investment brokerage subsidiary of a public company in Beverly Hills, California. She also co-founded a boutique investment bank and registered broker-dealer. Ms. Pagliarini received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Valparaiso University where she was honored with their highest academic award, the Presidential Scholarship. She is also a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) and has studied law and forensic accounting at UCLA.

Ms. Pagliarini was named one of “20 Women to Watch” by OC Metro magazine and nominated for The Orange County Business Journal’s Women in Business Award. She has also been honored by Step Up Women’s Network as the recipient of their prestigious Commitment to Philanthropy Volunteer Award, and she is the proud recipient of The Forever Footprints’ 2014 Compassion Award. She resides in Orange County with her husband and daughter.

Elizabeth’s Story: Elizabeth and her husband, Robert, lost their son, Gavin Edward, when she was 8 months pregnant on December 31, 2004. She was so moved and inspired by the first OC Walk to Remember they attended, she knew she had to be involved in some way to help the thousands of parents that suffer a loss each year — especially following her negative experience in the hospital after her stillbirth. She is extremely proud to be a part of this amazing organization and is thrilled with its continued growth and extensive reach.

Catherine Steen

Catherine Steen - Board Member

A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, Catherine earned a degree in Mass Communications and furthered her education by studying Advertising and Marketing in London, England. Catherine’s professional career began in San Francisco where she worked in Public Relations for Magnet Communications.  After planning events for her PR clients, Catherine soon realized that she wanted event planning to be her career focus.  Catherine joined Signature Hospitality Group as an Event & Program Manager and was later promoted to Senior Operations Manager.  Following her time in San Francisco, Catherine relocated to Marina Del Rey and worked for Nike Inc. in Event Planning and Brand Design.  During her time with Nike, Catherine had the opportunity to manage the branding for events across all sport categories, including running, where she managed the branding for the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco as well as the Cinco De Mile and Run Hit ReMix races in Los Angeles. Catherine later relocated back to San Francisco where she had the opportunity to work as a Producer for Factor Design and managed the company’s account with Apple. In 2009, Catherine and her husband found themselves moving again, this time to Arizona, which provided her with the opportunity to further her career in events while working for The Ritz-Carlton. Catherine and her family attend The OC Walk to Remember for the first time in 2012.  She was so inspired by the event that she knew she had to be a part of the organization.  She also served on the Board of Directors for The OC Walk to Remember in 2013. In her free time, Catherine enjoys cooking, running, writing and spending time with family and friends. Catherine’s Story In March of 2011, my husband Luke and I were overjoyed to learn that we were expecting a baby.  A miscarriage in August of 2010 had left us heartbroken and we were thrilled to have another opportunity to expand our family.  At 19 weeks we found out we were having a little girl and named her Ella Sofia Steen.  The world was beautiful again and we felt like all of our prayers had been answered.  The following week we had our second trimester ultrasound and we were informed that our precious daughter had a lung abnormality called a Congenital Cystic Adenomatoid Malformation (CCAM).  Devastated, we rushed home and researched everything we could about the condition and were comforted to find that it often resolves itself before birth and that that there were treatment options available should her condition worsen.  It was only in very rare and severe instances that the condition was fatal.  The doctors told us we would need to come in for weekly appointments to monitor the growth of the CCAM and encouraged us not to panic.  However, at our very next appointment, we received the horrible news that the CCAM had grown so dramatically that the legion was pushing our precious Ella’s heart to the side and interfering with its ability to function normally. The news of Ella’s condition left us paralyzed and the absolute lack of empathy, advice, and flat out rude remarks from the doctor delivering the news, left us furious.  Thankfully, I contacted the Fetal Treatment Center at the University of California, San Francisco as soon as we learned of Ella’s condition.   They are the leading experts in this condition and their team is incredible.  When I called them again to provide them with the news that the CCAM had grown, they advised me to come up to see them as soon as possible. I flew to San Francisco the next day and they confirmed our worst fear, Ella was in fact very sick.  That same day, Ella and I underwent a fetal surgery to implant a shunt that would drain the cyst.  The procedure had fabulous results.  So good in fact, that after staying in San Francisco for 5 weeks of observation and continued regression of the CCAM, they told me to go back to Arizona and that I could expect a normal delivery.  I did, and a week later, at a follow-up appointment in Arizona, I received the news that the shunt had fallen out and the growth was once again expanding in her chest.  I immediately returned to San Francisco where I stayed for another month and Ella and I underwent another fetal surgery to implant a 2nd shunt.  This time the procedure left her stable, but we did not see regression of the CCAM as we had previously. At 30 weeks, I was still in San Francisco when I began to go into labor.  It was the exact situation we had hoped to avoid – we needed Ella’s lungs to be as strong as possible prior to being born and we knew that a premature baby with her condition would have a very difficult time.  My husband Luke was in Arizona and rushed to be at my side. Our beautiful baby girl, Ella Sofia Steen, was born at 12:12am on September 10th, 2011.  She was with us for four beautiful days and showed us more strength, grace and love than we have ever known.  On the fourth day we had to make an impossible decision.  We were faced with the information that she was not going to survive and we did not want her to suffer, she had been so strong already.  We transferred her to comfort care and as she lay in my lap we told her over and over how much we loved her.  We had no idea how to process that this time with her would be our last.  No idea how to fit a lifetime of love into a few hours.  Our time with her can only be described as the most beautiful and sad time of our lives.  She died in my arms that evening.  The first time I got to hold her to me, free of all the wires and tubes, was the last.  There are no words to describe this pain.  I will never forget watching as the door to the NICU closed, and seeing Ella disappear behind it.  No parent should ever have to cope with the realization that they will never see or hold their child again.  The final walk from the hospital without her was the single loneliest moment of our lives. We are so grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Ella, to hold her hand, to look into her eyes, and to tell her how much we love her.  We are also so grateful for the amazing staff at UCSF – their kindness and empathy comforted us through the impossible.  Our lives will be forever impacted by Ella’s presence and her loss.  We love her dearly and she will always be a part of our family.  We take solace in knowing that she is in Heaven filled with joy, free of pain and knowing that her Momma, Papa and Baby Sister love her dearly.  I can only hope that my involvement with The OC Walk to Remember will make her proud.

Kristyn von Rotz - Co-Founder Forever Footprints

Kristyn von Rotz - Cofounder

Kristyn von Rotz currently serves as a Board Member of Forever Footprints. She previously served as Executive Director, where she grew the organization to support 28 hospitals, support groups, and national pregnancy and infant loss groups, while serving thousands of families who have experienced pregnancy loss or infant death. Kristyn works as a freelance editor, writer, and public relations professional. Kristyn is a graduate of Chapman University (Bachelor of Arts in English, emphasis in Journalism and a minor in Philosophy). She also attended Marymount College in Palos Verdes and studied at Regent’s College in London, England. Kristyn also serves on the Advisory Board for STILL Project, a documentary film about pregnancy and infant loss. She was awarded the Oliver Halsell Care Award in 2013 and is the proud recipient of The Forever Footprints’ 2014 Compassion Award. Kristyn’s Story Finding out I was pregnant was the most joyous day of my life. My husband, Mark, and I had married 6 months before, and we were so excited to add a baby to our new life together. I was 24 years old, healthy, and had a very normal pregnancy. At our 19-week ultrasound we got the news we were expecting a boy and we got to see his little face, hands and feet. But just moments after we left, we got an urgent call to come back the next day for an appointment with a specialist. All night we worried about what might be wrong with our baby, but how, no matter what, we would love him and take care of him. It never occurred to me that our baby might die. It’s just not something I had ever heard of. Hours later our world came crumbling down when the doctor told us our son, whom we had named Joseph Thomas, had a rare and fatal brain abnormality and he would die. The days that followed were a blur. We faced the decision of where to bury him, whether or not to have a funeral, and tried to cope with the fact that our baby was going to die. After many days of preterm labor, I delivered our tiny baby boy. He was just 1 pound and 13 inches. He lived for just a short time and died in my arms. The ache in my heart and the feeling of having empty arms was so overwhelming. I came home and immediately looked online for support. It was difficult to find. But I found a local support group I started to attend. Without that I would have been lost. But in the days to come, I realized I needed to do something to help others who had lost a baby, and I needed to do something to honor Joseph’s memory. Thus, OC Walk to Remember was born. I’ve gone on to have three living children and I also experienced an early miscarriage. The organization is a huge part of mine and my family’s life, and I’m so honored to be a part of it.


Chad Light - Board Member

Chad Light is a Program Manager at the Automobile Club of Southern California, managing the event activations and strategic direction of the organizations Motorsports relationships. Chad resides in Orange with his wife Nicole. Chad’s & Nicole’s Story We first became familiar with Forever Footprints when receiving a flyer to attend the 2015 OC Walk to Remember on my wife’s car following another marathon in which she was competing. Among the 6-8 other flyers for upcoming events, the Forever Footprints flyer stuck out above the rest. We believe it was a message from our daughter Ava, who we lost to still-birth in April that same year. As a somewhat newlywed couple (just over 2 years at the time) we were filled with joy in December when we first discovered that in 9 short months we would be holding a child of our own. We waited (as long as we could) to tell our family and friends, finding out first from our doctor that Ava was healthy. On Friday, April 17th during a standard doctors visit, one that I was unable to attend, my wife contacted me sobbing, her voice barely recognizable…this was the day we found out that Ava no longer had a heartbeat. I rushed from work to meet her at the hospital for a second opinion and confirmation, hoping and praying that the results from the original doctor were false. It didn’t take long to confirm that her doctor was correct. Ava was a still born, suffering from a pinched umbilical cord – something the medical staff said was a rare situation. As the weeks passed, we continued to ask why us? As we slowly broke the news to our circle of friends we realized how many people had gone through similar experiences, it didn’t magically make the pain go away hearing the stories of others, but piece by piece it made us feel more of a community, less segregated and targeted for such a devastating loss. Fast forward to our experience at the 2015 OC Walk to Remember, people honoring the memories of their children that they lost that year, 5 years prior or even more – and some with multiple losses. What an overwhelming event, what a fantastic organization. At the conclusion of the day we decided that in some way we were going to get involved – that time came in the invitation to become part of the Forever Footprints Board of Directors. What I hope my skills bring to the organization is continued growth and a fresh perspective on how we can always improve upon the strategic direction and deliver on the mission statement. I understand first-hand the strength in community and empathy – and that is why I chose to follow the path that my daughter Ava intervened in from heaven, to help others from the work done at Forever Footprints.

Colleen Weeks - Board Member

Confucius said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” For more than 35 years she has passionately worked with childbearing women and their families. Colleen is a Certified Childbirth, Lactation and Sex Educator as well as a Certified Perinatal Bereavement Counselor and Maternal Mental Health Specialist. At Kaiser Permanente Orange County’s Anaheim and Irvine Medical Center’s she is the Perinatal Education manager and oversees a team of educators who teach approximately 150 classes a month. Colleen serves on the Family Violence Prevention team where she piloted an (ACE’s) Adverse Childhood Experience’s project. Colleen is also a bereaved mother and leader of the Perinatal Bereavement Program and Empathy video project.

Colleen serves on the Board of Directors for the International Childbirth Education Association, Forever Footprints Perinatal Loss Organization and the Foundation for Peaceful Parenting. Colleen’s passions are jazz, the beach, her husband, daughter and son-in-law, extended family and her Christian faith.

staff-iconAdvisory Committee

Mark F. von Rotz

Mark F. von Rotz, CPA - CPA and Advisory Committee Member

Mark F. von Rotz, CPA, is a tax and advisory services partner at White Nelson Diehl Evans (WNDE) in Irvine, California. He is an income tax generalist, specializing in tax planning and compliance, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Mark heads the recruiting effort for the tax department at WNDE and speaks to college students about the profession, the firm and how to succeed in the industry. He earned a B.S. in Accounting from California State University, Fullerton in 1997 and earned his CPA designation in 2001. He lives in Orange with his wife and three children. Mark’s Story I am the proud dad to Joseph Thomas von Rotz, who was born and died on July 8, 2004. Volunteering for the organization since its founding has been an honor. After Joseph died it was hard to express my feelings, but being able to put time and effort to help the organization succeed has been a positive experience for me. Joseph was alive for only a short time, but he has impacted our family and so many other people in a positive way. I’m constantly amazed at the strength that families have after the loss of a baby. A quote that is very special to my wife and is representative of our love for Joseph is this: “Sometimes love is for a moment. Sometimes love is for a lifetime. Sometimes a moment is a lifetime”.


Gena Divine - Advisory Committee Member

Gena Divine is the Development Manager at International Trade Education Programs (ITEP), a Carson-based organization which connects high school students to careers in high-growth job industries. She has a decade of non-profit experience leading fundraising campaigns and managing donor relations. Gena resides in Santa Ana. Gena’s Story When my friend’s son Luke was stillborn at 39 weeks in 2012, I was lost. I didn’t know what to do (or not do), but I didn’t want her to feel alone. The nurses gave her support materials from Forever Footprints, and a large team of family and friends participated in the Walk to Remember just three weeks after Luke was gone. I soon began volunteering in the Forever Footprints office for events, but knew I wanted to do more to help these tremendously meaningful programs thrive. I joined the Board of Directors to help raise funding and awareness about this amazing organization that has become so close to my heart – so that every family has a hand to hold through the darkness.

Robert Diaz

Robert Diaz - Advisory Committee Member

Robert Diaz is a corporate transactional of counsel attorney with Finlayson Williams Toffer Roosevelt & Lilly LLP in Irvine, California. Robert’s practice focuses on commercial lending, mergers and acquisitions and other general corporate matters. He is the co-founder and CEO of Komforte Chockolates, LLC. Robert was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army Reserve in 2002. He currently serves with the 416th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) in San Diego and holds the rank of major.  Robert graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 2000. He received his B.S. degree in Business Administration, with a minor in Political Science, from Chapman University in 1997. He has served as the President of the Chapman University Alumni Association. He also served on the University’s Board of Trustees and on the Board of Visitors for Chapman University’s Law School. Robert has served on the board of directors of the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Care for the Poor Committee of the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation which is charged with the promotion and support of the Puente a La Salud Mobile Community Clinics and the La Amistad de Jose Family Health Center.

Andrea Garcia-Miller - Advisory Committee Member

Andrea Garcia-Miller is of Counsel at Hollenbeck & Cardoso, LLP. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Southern California Law School and received her B.A. in Economics, with a Minor in Anthropology from University of California at Los Angeles. Andrea resides in Orange with her family. Andrea’s Story I first became aware of Forever Footprints after I suffered two miscarriages in a one-year period back in 2011. It was through my own research that I learned of the organization. My first experience with miscarriage, at an Orange County doctor’s office, was shocking and my doctor’s delivery of the bad news was very “clinical.” I was not provided with any resources for grief counseling at the doctor’s office, and quite frankly, I do not even remember the doctor or nurse even offering any condolences. The doctor was more concerned about getting me scheduled for a D&C, without providing any explanation as to why he recommended a D&C. Later, the doctor tried to get me to look at the “bright side” and stated that the miscarriage was my body’s way of “getting rid of” some child with a possible defect or deformity. He tried to downplay the tragedy since I was only 8 weeks pregnant. After conducting my own research I learned that approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, so I realized that this type of loss was commonplace for these healthcare professionals. However, the sad statistic did not easy my emotional loss. After changing doctors, I suffered a second miscarriage. My new doctor was much better at providing emotional support. I finally sought the counseling I needed from my two tragedies and I was able to acknowledge the fact that they were tragedies, without discounting the heartbreak because I suffered both my losses during the first trimester. As a Member of the Board of Directors, I intend to focus my efforts on first trimester loss grief counseling. I think we need to change many doctors’ and people’s perspectives on when a loss occurs – without politicizing the grief by avoiding a pro-choice vs. pro-life debate. As soon as you find out your pregnant, you are a mother, and any loss suffered after that – even a second later – is a loss. 

Robert Pagliarini

Robert Pagliarini - Advisory Committee Member

Robert Pagliarini is the president of Pacifica Wealth Advisors, a boutique wealth management firm that focuses exclusively on serving affluent individuals and sudden wealth recipients. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner who also has a master’s degree in financial services and another master’s degree in clinical psychology. Robert is an avid reader and writer. In addition to authoring three bestselling books, he also writes a weekly column for CBS News, which is syndicated to newspapers across the country. Robert is frequently called upon by the media for his financial expertise. He has been featured as a financial expert on Dr. Phil, 20/20, Good Morning America, Fox Business, ABC News, Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers, and in the Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Money Magazine, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, CNN, and has appeared on hundreds of radio programs. When not working, Robert enjoys going to Disneyland with his wife and young daughter, training for triathlons, and running a non-profit he co-founded called the Band of Brothers Foundation that helps impoverished kids around the world.


Sarah Delgado



Sarah Delgado - Licensed Clinical Therapist

jasmine adams



Jasmine Adams - Licensed Clinical Therapist

Journey to Remember

Aracely Rodriguez - Journey to Remember Coordinator

 Aracely Rodriguez is a proud Air Force wife who has had the opportunity of being stationed in amazing places, such as Germany through her 14 years of military life. Aracely has always worked on base and been involved in one way or another with child development services. Aracely currently works for Riverside County Office of Education.

Aracely’s Story

She has 2 loving boys and for that reason she and her husband were so excited to receive the news in 2009 that she was expecting a long awaited little girl. At 22 weeks gestation, Aracely and her husband were told that their much wanted baby girl had a chromosome disorder which is considered incompatible with life. Their sweet little girl would not live. Emmery Star Rodriguez was born on November 3, 2009 and received her angel wings only 34 hours after she arrived, going to heaven on November 4, 2009. Aracely has actively been involved with Walk to Remember, Inland Empire since she first met the founders by chance at a local support group. Aracely has always said that the love and healing that the organization has provided her since the loss of Emmery is immense. She is honored to be a part of this amazing cause and feels privileged to get to do the same for other families.

Amanda Balderrama - Director of Journey to Remember

Amanda Balderrama is a registered nurse who graduated from California State University School of Nursing in 2003 with her BSN. She has worked as a labor and delivery nurse at St. Bernardine Medical Center, and currently Redland’s Community Hospital.

Amanda’s Story 

In 2004, Amanda and her husband discovered the son they were expecting had a birth defect that would not allow for him to live after birth. Fernando Michael Philip was born and went to heaven on August 24, 2004. With nowhere to turn to for support and being isolated in grief, Amanda grieved silently. Years later, learning that sharing is healing, Amanda co-founded Walk to Remember, Inland Empire. She has since completed training as a RTS Coordinator to support families who receive a life-limiting diagnosis in pregnancy. Amanda is a proud mother to two girls she holds in her arms and two babies she carries in her heart. 

We are here for you.

Forever Footprints provides pregnancy and infant loss support, education and remembrance.  If you are in need of support please contact us!

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