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2023 Ambassadors

Connecting the Lobo Cancer Challenge community

All of our Ambassadors have demonstrated commitment and leadership in bringing their friends, family and community together in the fight against cancer. They have a passion for helping others. Now, as a Lobo Cancer Challenge Ambassador, they can take their support for fellow New Mexicans in their cancer journey to another level; building relationships on behalf of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, providing encouragement, and educating others on the importance of cancer research.

Get to know our Ambassadors for 2023:

Lobo Cancer Challenge 2023 Ambassador Alma Aguilar

Alma Aguilar

“I am motivated to participate in the Lobo Cancer Challenge for several meaningful reasons. As an employee of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, I believe in the exceptional cancer care we provide and I want to support the mission here.

“Cancer has hit my family, friends and loved ones in one way or another, so I believe that cancer awareness is important. By participating in the Lobo Cancer Challenge, I can help spread awareness about the impact of cancer on individuals, families and communities. This fundraiser is unique as you get to fundraise and choose the program in cancer research that you would like your dollars to go to.

“I want to be a part of making a difference in the fight against cancer. Every dollar raised can help fund important research, support patients and their families, and raise awareness about the disease.”

Alma Aguilar and team support the Lobo Cancer Challenge!

“One of my biggest motivations for participating in this event is for honoring loved ones. It is a meaningful way that I can pay tribute to their strength and courage.

“I dedicate  this 50 mile bike ride to our patients, to those in my life that have left this side of heaven after their battle with cancer, those that are fighting cancer now, our survivors and fighters of cancer and for everyone that has been affected by cancer. Engaging in this event and effort provides a sense of purpose.”

“I want to have an active role in raising funds and awareness. Join me and my team and participate in the Challenge and / or just help us to raise funds for our very own UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.”

Visit the Fundraising Page for: Ambassador Alma Aguilar
Team Page for: The Oncology Avengers

Lobo Cancer Challenge 2023 Ambassador Michelle Dearholt with Nusenda team

Michelle Dearholt

“A native of New Mexico, wife, and mom, I love spending time with my family outdoors and travelling to new places. I’m passionate about the work I do, serving as the EVP of Operations at Nusenda Credit Union where I’ve dedicated 22 years of service.

“Cancer struck close to home when I was diagnosed with stage 3 cervical cancer in 2021. My treatment consisted of invasive surgery, chemo, and radiation and I’m fortunate to be in remission today.”

“Cancer struck our family again this year as my father was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive leukemia (BPDCN), leaving this earth far too soon.

“I’m passionate about supporting awareness in self-care and checkups, advancement in cancer research and finding cures, as well as extending support to those who are enduring treatment and their families. This is why I support the Lobo Cancer Challenge and I am an Ambassador this year!”

Michelle Dearholt video preview thumbnail

Michelle shares the story of her experience with cancer in a video posted by Nusenda, which has supported the Lobo Cancer Challenge since our very first year in 2017.

Michelle Dearholt - by waterfalls in nature Michelle Dearholt with special guest

Visit the Fundraising Page for: Ambassador Michelle Dearholt
Team Page for: Nusenda Credit Union

Lobo Cancer Challenge 2023 Ambassador Kaylee Deutsch-Armijo

Kaylee Deutsch-Armijo

“My name is Kaylee Deutsch-Armijo and I am thrilled to be an Ambassador for the 2023 Lobo Cancer Challenge!

“As a thyroid cancer survivor, I know first hand how important it is to have access to world class doctors, excellent care, clinical trials, and support — all of which can be found at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center!

“Not only is the event a blast to participate in, but the funds are used to help those within our beautiful state!”

“I hope to see you on the bike path, race course, or stairs this year!”

Visit the Fundraising Page for: Ambassador Kaylee Deutsch-Armijo

Lobo Cancer Challenge 2023 Ambassador Jayne Holmes at LCC 22

Jayne Holmes

“I am honored to be one of the 2023 Lobo Cancer Challenge Ambassadors!

“I have been at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center since 2007. Since day one, it has been my privilege to work with the Breast Cancer team as a Surgical / Clinic Coordinator.

“Helping patients through their journey, however I can, is very important to me. Our patients are the strongest people I know. I have learned so much from them through my years here. Participating in the Lobo Cancer Challenge is a way for me to proudly give back and show my support!!”

“Please join me!”

Jayne enjoys a boat ride at the lake

Visit the Fundraising Page for: Ambassador Jayne Holmes
Team Page for: Busting Out Breast Cancer

Phil Houser

Lobo Cancer Challenge Ambassador Phillip Houser

“We have been connected to the UNM Cancer Hospital (and then the Cancer Center) for close to 20 years. It really started on the professional side with Document Solutions, Inc., since we have been providing technology resources for print, and helping to augment IT staffing when support resources for UNM were thin. Our partnership with UNM since then has continued to evolve and expand over the years.

“Our family was exposed to cancer more than 35 years ago, when my mother, Lena Houser, was diagnosed with breast cancer. In a day and age when this was relatively new to all of us, my Mom chose to undergo radiation and chemotherapy. She also elected to have the mastectomy done. 35-plus years later, my Mom has been cancer free ever since.

“My father, Craig Houser, died at the early age of 53 of esophageal cancer. My uncle, Brent Houser, died 4 years ago after battling cancer for more than 20 years.

“Five years ago, one of our former employees, Mary Smith, while employed with DSI, was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive cancer. She was treated by the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. Today she is cancer free.

“Most recently, my primary doctor sent me to the UNM Cancer Center due to a decline in my white blood count. After thorough testing and review with Dr. Mendez (Andres Mendez Hernandez, MD) at the UNM Cancer Center, I was diagnosed with a very rare form of Leukemia — Hairy Cell Leukemia. I am currently in a wait and see status.

“The UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center is an amazing resource serving New Mexicans throughout the state. With the harsh reality of 1 out of every 2 people being diagnosed with some form of cancer, we feel very blessed and fortunate to have such an amazing support and resource in the fight against Cancer here in our City.” 

Family Ambassadors Michelle & Tyler Jenson

Lobo Cancer Challenge 2023 Family Ambassador Tyler Jenson

Tyler Jenson

Tyler Jenson is currently studying Construction Management at Northern Arizona University.

“When I was 15 years old I battled Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I believe the hardships of cancer shaped me into the man I am today and give me a greater purpose in life. When I am not studying at school, you can find me fishing, lifting weights, or doing something that involves me getting my hands dirty. I am honored to be a part of the Challenge for my fourth year now and I hope to reach my goal once again.”

Tyler Jenson with friend

“I participate in the Lobo Cancer Challenge so I can provide support the way that others supported me.

“I believe that the best form of medicine is love from the community around you.”

“When I was asked to become an Ambassador for the Challenge, I was honored and thrilled to get started as soon as I could. It is my fourth year being an Ambassador, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I truly believe that the work we do for the cancer community will make an everlasting impact.



Lobo Cancer Challenge 2023 Family Ambassador Michelle Jenson

Michelle Jenson

“As the mom of a childhood cancer survivor, I understand the journey families are facing. It's a path filled with unimaginable challenges, fear, and uncertainty. I know firsthand the emotional and physical toll it takes on everyone involved.

“When my son, Tyler, was diagnosed with Type A Stage 3 Bulky Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 15, our world was turned upside down. But amidst the darkness, we were fortunate to receive incredible care and support at UNM Hospital and with the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. The love and compassion we experienced there brought us hope and strength during our toughest moments.

My sister is also a cancer warrior, bravely defeating colon cancer. Witnessing her strength and resilience has only reinforced our family's determination to raise awareness about cancer.

“That's why participating in the Lobo Cancer Challenge means so much to us. It is not just about raising money; it's about showing solidarity, standing together as a community, and making a difference. Together, we can bring hope and support to those who need it the most.”

“To all the families fighting cancer, I want you to know that I empathize deeply with your struggles. You are not alone in this battle. We will keep raising awareness, advocating for better treatments, and supporting one another until the day no family has to face cancer.”

The Jenson family at the 2022 Lobo Cancer Challenge family and friend at the beach

Visit the Fundraising Page for: Ambassador Tyler Jenson
Fundraising Page for: Ambassador Michelle Jenson
Team Page for: Professor Pow

Family Ambassadors Steve, Kaitlin & Colleen Petranovich

Lobo Cancer Challenge 2023 Family Ambassadors Steve, Kaitlin & Colleen Petranovich

“We are so grateful this year to be Family Ambassadors for the Lobo Cancer Challenge!

“About 5 years ago, our original team captain Marilee Petranovich (mom to Kaitlin and Colleen and wife to Steve) got us involved with the Lobo Cancer challenge for the first time. When she first told us that she was going to bike 25 miles and wanted us to join her we thought she was crazy, but she inspired us all to start training. At that time she was in the midst of treatment for a very rare and aggressive gynecologic cancer, and she was getting excellent care at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“She was so immensely grateful for the care she had received that she wanted to do anything she could to give back, and the Lobo Cancer Challenge felt like the perfect opportunity.

“Unfortunately Marilee passed away in September 2019, just weeks before what would have been her second Lobo Cancer Challenge. Up until her final few weeks she was absolutely determined that she would participate, no matter what.

“While we still grieve the loss of such an incredible person, we continue to be inspired by the attitude of joy, optimism, gratitude, and compassion that she always had.

“The UNM Cancer Center provided Marilee, and all of us, with a place of compassion, empathy, support, and most importantly hope during one of the most challenging times of our lives.

“It is our great honor to carry on her legacy and to continue supporting the Lobo Cancer Challenge in her memory.”

Visit the Fundraising Page for: Ambassador & Team Captain Kaitlin Petranovich
Fundraising Page for: Ambassador Steve Petranovich
Fundraising Page for: Ambassador Colleen Petranovich
Team Page for: Team Petranovich

Lobo Cancer Challenge 2023 Ambassador Michael Westphal

Michael Westphal

“Cancer seems to touch every one of us. In my case, my Mom received treatment for breast cancer in Colorado and my Aunt Carol received treatment for lung cancer at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. Both are survivors and I am extremely grateful.

“I've cheered for other family members and friends fighting cancer.

“The UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center is our local, world class home for the fight against cancer, and the "safety net" treatment facility, providing for the wealthiest and the least wealthy New Mexicans.”

“Helping raise funds to help patients, doctors and researchers fight cancer seems easy compared to their efforts. The Lobo Cancer Challenge gives my family and me a great combination of physical challenge, important fund raising tools and a lot of fun.

“Meeting some of the UNM Cancer Center’s community of patients, doctors, researchers and other team members / supporters is an added benefit of the event. We really do feel like a united community, working together to fight cancer.”

Visit the Fundraising Page for: Ambassador Michael Westphal
Team Page for: Heme Team


with thanks to our...

2022 Ambassadors

  • Dr. Koh Boayue
  • Elizabeth Cochran
  • Alex Cvijanovich
  • Tim Harris
  • Katie Gauthier
  • Family Ambassadors Michelle and Tyler Jenson
  • Matthew Murillo
  • James Paz
  • Kaitlin Petranovich
  • Joshua Rogers
  • David Stroud
  • Melissa Williams
  • Sterling Wind
  • Christine Valdez

2022 Youth Representative

  • Liam Hansen

2021 Ambassadors

  • Jesse Armijo
  • Mariah Candelaria
  • Elyse Eckart
  • Elaine Fero Gronberg
  • Dakotah Jim
  • Laura Niel
  • Colleen Petranovich
  • Kyle Stepp
  • Kristin Underwood
  • Clent Wilson

2021 Youth Representative

  • Tyler Jenson

2020 Ambassadors

  • Alma Aguilar
  • Dr. Matthew Fero
  • Marcos Paz
  • Kaitlin Petranovich
  • Deanna Rhodes
  • Joshua Rogers
  • Kyle Stepp
  • Ruth Ann Tibbetts
  • Andrea Trujillo

2020 Youth Representative

  • Tyler Jenson

2019 Ambassadors

  • Connor Adams
  • Marilee Petranovich
  • Mueez Rehman
  • Maggie Smith
  • Mike Westphal


Statistics and information appearing on this page do not represent the official views of the Lobo Cancer Challenge.


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