The mama bear foundation, inc.

            - CARING for families affected by cancer -

Lesley Soekland

​Director of Operations and Finance

A Project Manager by trade, Lesley Soekland has always been drawn to organizing, planning, and educating.  Supported by a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and a Master of Business Administration, her technical abilities and business savvy serve her well in her role with The Mama Bear Foundation, Inc.  

More importantly, her real passion in life is helping people. Whether it is for family, friends, or even strangers, Lesley is always available to lend a helping hand.  She strives to make TMBF an extension of family during someone's fight with cancer; to foster the support and feelings one gets from family and share those things with people who would benefit from some extra care and attention.  For Lesley, The Mama Bear Foundation, Inc. is a way to continue the legacy of love, kindness, and generosity started by Patti.

Kris Graves

Director of Public Relations & Marketing

Kris, a firefighter for the Lodi Fire Department, utilizes his spare time coaching Varsity baseball for a local high school and sharing his tremendous love of cooking with friends and family.  He has earned a Bachelor of Science in Fire Science and a Master of Science In Fire Management.

Both Kris' profession and extracurricular activities demonstrate his natural ability to help people.  TMBF is especially important to him because the inspiration for starting it was his "Mama", Patti.  Kris wants to "make the world better, one person or experience at a time" and he can often be heard saying, "I was put on this Earth to help".  He hopes to continue living out his philosophy and has aspirations for the foundation to become larger than any other cancer-related organization, including worldwide recognition of TMBF.  

Leasa Graves

Director of Community Development and Social Media

Leasa Graves has demonstrated her passion for caring for people through every facet of her life.  Currently a teacher with a local high school program, she is also a mom, has worked in health care, and has been a supporter and caregiver for several family members, including Patti.  Her time in health care and as a caregiver solidified for her the importance of patient advocacy and the vital role family and friends play in the recovery of a patient, particularly those with cancer.

Leasa has goals of encouraging and enabling access to the latest information and treatments out there for patients and their families; goals achievable through her love of research, a Bachelor of Arts in History, and her current pursuit of a Master's in History.  Leasa believes The Mama Bear Foundation, Inc. can bring hope to families who are in the fight for their lives.  "Simple gestures such as a warm meal, or a ride to the oncologist, remind the Renegade and their Angels they are not alone."

The TMBF Team

​Filled with insurmountable grief at the loss of their central family figure, Patti Graves, the founders of The Mama Bear Foundation, Inc. sought to turn their loss into something that honored Patti - to live life as she did (the "Patti Way").  Through the foundation we are able to give people the support and sense of hope every family should experience after being hit with a cancer diagnosis.

TMBF is paving a new way of assisting families affected with cancer.  The ideas are built on simple concepts but have far reaching benefits to the Renegades and their Angels.

The foundation is determined to provide the kind of support and care that Patti would have wanted for anyone fighting for their lives.  The founders know first hand the network of family, friends, and community resources needed to care for a loved one and are continuously building a network to share with every family TMBF reaches.