ALLISON (D'AMBROSIO) BONES
Allison (D'Ambrosio) Bones is the President and CEO of T.E.A.M. 4 Travis (Together Ending Asplenia Mortality). T.E.A.M. 4 Travis was born from Allison’s traumatic grief after losing her four-year old son Travis to Isolated Congenital Asplenia, a rare and often undiagnosed genetic disease. Travis died in August 2018, five months after colorectal cancer claimed the life of his father, Allison’s husband Jamie. She created Travis’ foundation with the goal that someday, no other family will stand in her shoes, wondering why this rare disease claimed the life of their child. The foundation is Travis’ legacy, ensuring Travis’ megawatt smile and exuberant love of life carry on forever.
She is no stranger to tragedy, loss and grief. In addition to her husband and youngest child dying, Allison lost her father in 2015 after his nine-year cancer battle and her twins Shelby and Dalton in 2012 due to extreme prematurity. It was during this same six-year period her beloved Great Danes died. These experiences with traumatic grief over a short time forged Allison’s strength, determination, courage and faith.
Allison earned a Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Baylor University. During a thirteen-year career at GE Capital, Allison held a variety of roles, including Account Manager for a portfolio of Recreational Vehicle dealerships, each with a commercial credit line in excess of $10 million. Additionally, she has volunteered with Special Olympics, the Salvation Army and the Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Back-to-School Shopping drives. These educational, professional and volunteer experiences strengthen her for the task of leading T.E.A.M. 4 Travis.
Allison’s passions include cooking, travel, football (particularly the Baylor Bears and Texas Longhorns) and a deep love for Texas, Italy, and the music of Waylon Jennings.
Finding a true Arizona native is a rarity, so you can call Alicia a unicorn in the desert! She has a lifelong history of service, having been actively involved in the community since primary school, through high school, and on to college. Some of those activities have included lobbying in Washington D.C. for more student financial aid, volunteering at St. Mary’s Food Bank and walking with her family in various cancer fundraisers. She was a Big Sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona for many years.
Alicia graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s in Business Management. Alicia is currently employed at Wells Fargo CDF as VP Western Sales Region for the Electronic, Appliance, and Music portfolio. Through various acquisitions, she has accrued 20 years of continuous service working for three different companies. Alicia first met Allison and Jamie when they all worked together at Deutsche Financial Services, which was acquired by GE Capital and named GE Commercial Distribution Finance. Jamie and Alicia continued working together when GE CDF was sold to Wells Fargo in 2015.
Alicia and her husband Carlos Torres have 3 children. Their children were close friends with Travis, celebrating birthday parties and enjoying many social outings. They miss him dearly. The Torres family enjoys being outdoors together, hiking and traveling. They hold a family goal of visiting all 59 National Parks, with 10 locations already seen.
Alicia is honored to join T.E.A.M. 4 Travis and to help carry on Travis’ legacy.
Christine Marler serves as Treasurer for T.E.A.M. 4 Travis since its inception in 2019. Christine earned a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts. Currently Christine works as an Account Manager at Ashton Tiffany, a risk management company for a school employee benefits insurance pool. Previously, Christine worked as a Retention Account Manager at Delta Dental Inc. a non-profit company specializing in dental insurance. During her time at Delta, she volunteered to support free dental events for children and fairs with the Delta Dental Tooth Fairy.
Christine and Allison became friends more than a decade ago while they both worked in commercial finance at GE Capital. She lent so much support to Allison and Jamie through the deaths of their twins, then to Allison and Travis after Jamie’s death. She and her husband Steve opened their home to Allison and her mother in the weeks following Travis’ death.
Christine is blessed with 2 healthy sons. She enjoys participating in school fundraising events and has volunteered as an aftercare specialist at her youngest son’s school. With Christine’s commitment to fundraising, non-profit businesses, education and desire to help find a way to end childhood death from asplenia, she is a natural fit for T.E.A.M. 4 Travis.
Debbie Van Hoven
A native of Big Sky Country, Debbie Van Hoven was born and raised in Central Montana, moving to Missoula in 1978. She embarked on a thirty-nine-year career in Financial Services that saw her relocate twice and survive 4 corporate buyouts. While working in Missoula for ITT Commercial Finance, Debbie met her husband Lynn. They were deeply in love, remaining married for 34 years until Lynn’s death in 2018 from lung cancer.
Debbie’s career at ITT required the couple to move to Seattle, adjust to the sale of ITT to Deutsche Financial Services and work there for 18 years until Deutsche closed offices, centralizing their RV Commercial Finance operations in Tempe, Arizona. Luckily, Lynn was able to transfer his job each time Debbie’s company required her to move. Debbie and Lynn quickly adapted to the Arizona outdoor lifestyle, embarking on long cycling adventures and traveling throughout the Western US and Hawaii.
It was at the Deutsche Tempe office where Debbie and Allison’s friendship began and saw the two continue working together for many years. Debbie’s career survived multiple buyouts, from ITT to Deutsche to GE to Wells Fargo, where she continues to manage the creation of program terms for commercial finance clients throughout the US.
Debbie is excited to bring volunteer experience to T.E.A.M. 4 Travis’s mission. For the last four years, she actively serves as the Vice President of the Sweetwater Ranch Homeowners Association (her husband Lynn served on that board for 8 years as well). Debbie also volunteers through her church as a member of the Altar Guild and a Eucharist Minister to Westminster Village, a retirement community in North Scottsdale.
Debbie enjoys all outdoor activities, especially swimming, golfing, bike-riding, and most importantly walking her beloved German Shorthaired Pointer Lizzie, several times a day.
Kelli Zohar-Davis is an organizational and talent development professional who passionately creates environments and opportunities for people to thrive in their careers. Since 2010, she has responsibly led the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center’s customer care and employee engagement program (SPICE), developing the talent within the building. Prior to serving at the Convention Center, Kelli honed her training skills through teaching high school, lecturing on a collegiate level and managing the learning function for several national and international brands. She brings this experience and passion to T.E.A.M. 4 Travis.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Sam Houston State University. Her graduate work focused on nonverbal communication and rhetorical studies. Kelli currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Chapter of the Association for Talent Development, the international leader in talent development.
Kelli met Allison during their freshman year at Baylor University and soon, the two became inseparable. Together, almost thirty years later, the two women have supported each other through unsurpassed joys and unspeakable tragedy, including the losses of all three Bones children. While Kelli was honored to be Shelby, Dalton and Travis’ Godmother, her bond with Travis was the strongest and his loss, the most devastating. As part of T.E.A.M. 4 Travis, her hope is to raise awareness and educate others about Isolated Congenital Asplenia. Most importantly, though, she hopes to honor Travis and use this tragic loss to prevent other families from suffering the loss of a precious child.
Kelli is an avid reader, active foster/adoptive parent, crafter, special needs advocate, and home improvement enthusiast. She and her husband live in Madisonville, Louisiana, and parent two dogs, four cats, and one amazing little boy.
A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Marcus Palmer spent his formative years in New Jersey. Being born with an adventurous spirit, he boldly threw caution to the wind and set out for college in Arizona. Marcus received his Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Arizona State University and a Certificate of Completion in Organizational Leadership from Rio Salado College.
Marcus most recently served as Director of Business Development for a commercial finance company. He has been a part of the Bones’ circle of treasured friends since he and Allison first became colleagues fifteen years ago at GE Commercial Distribution Finance. Marcus and Jamie shared a love of travel, friendship, Sun Devil athletics and sports in general.
Carrying this love of sports forward, Marcus served his community through a Board of Directors role with the Mesa Eastern Pop Warner organization for over ten years and various other youth sports coaching positions for well over twenty years. He is proud to continue as a mentor to dozens of young people he coached throughout the past two decades.
Marcus enjoys golf, basketball and watching his beloved Dallas Cowboys pursue a return to excellence. He spends time with his five children who range in age from their teens to their early 30's and his grandchildren.
As it became evident Jamie would lose his cancer battle, Marcus vowed to always be there for Travis, planning to help shape Travis into a caring, kind, strong and loving young man. Marcus is honored to serve on the Board of Directors for T.E.A.M. 4 Travis, perpetuating Travis’ legacy of love in this world and ultimately working to end childhood death from asplenia. He brings to the foundation three decades of experience in various customer service, sales, leadership and logistics positions.
A native Arizonan, Olivia grew up in the East Valley and attended community college in Mesa. Always having a strong interest in human anatomy, Olivia received an Associate’s Degree in Administration of Justice Studies, in hopes of working in a lab or processing crime scenes. After realizing there was a lack of human connection in that particular field, she returned to school and received her Associates in Mortuary Science, which ultimately led her to the funeral industry. Olivia is currently a licensed funeral director/embalmer and co-assistant manager at Thompson Funeral Chapel, located in Goodyear. At Thompson’s, she facilitated and marketed two successful charity yard sales to help raise awareness about infant and childhood death.
Olivia first met Allison upon the unfortunate death of her husband Jamie in March 2018, when she came to the funeral chapel to make his final arrangements. Their paths crossed once again, only 5 months later, when her sweet Travis passed away from (at the time) unknown causes. Several months later, the Thompson Funeral Chapel staff were planning their second annual charity yard sale, deciding which charitable organization to support. Cynthia Thompson mentioned she recently ran into Allison, who had created the nonprofit organization T.E.A.M. 4 Travis. Cynthia shared an informational flyer with the group. As all of the staff had wondered what had happened to this little boy, they read the story and became aware of Travis’s rare disease, Isolated Congenital Asplenia. The staff knew that this came at the right time for a reason and thought it was a great opportunity to give back to someone who had already lost so much.
Olivia connected with Allison to plan the logistics of the sale. It was from these meetings, Olivia and Allison began forming a friendship, which ultimately led to her induction into the board of directors for T.E.A.M. 4 Travis. Olivia is excited and honored to be a part of this journey.
When Olivia isn't working, she loves to try new restaurants around Phoenix, go antique/thrift shopping, hike and be outdoors, attend heavy metal shows, and spend time with her boyfriend and family.
FATHER TOM ECKERT, C.S.C. - spiritual adviser
Fr. Tom Eckert, CSC, serves as pastor at St. John Vianney Catholic Church and School in Goodyear, AZ. It is here that Fr. Tom first met Travis and his family. Travis and Fr. Tom shared the same middle name and delighted in making each other laugh.
A native Hoosier from Huntington, Indiana, Fr. Tom is the youngest of 14 children, and a proud “Triple Domer” – a three-time graduate of the University of Notre Dame. Fr. Tom earned his Bachelor’s in Spanish and Economics, a Master of Divinity, and a Master of Spanish Language and Literatures. Fluent in Spanish, he studied for a year in Mexico City as an undergraduate, and worked in Holy Cross mission schools in Lima, Peru and Santiago, Chile during his seminary formation.
Fr. Tom was ordained a priest in 2003 for the Congregation of Holy Cross at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame, and began his priestly ministry that year at the University of Notre Dame, where he held positions in Student Affairs, Campus Ministry, the Office of Vocations and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. In 2011, Fr. Tom was named pastor of St. John Vianney Catholic Church and School, where he had served as a transitional deacon in 2002-2003.
As pastor, Fr. Tom has overseen tremendous growth of the parish to over 5,000 families, and has doubled the growth of the school enrollment to over 400 students. He championed completion of a construction project to provide ten additional classrooms and a gymnasium to accommodate the continued growth. In the Diocese of Phoenix, Fr. Tom has served on the Diocesan Stewardship Council, the 50th Anniversary Celebration Advisory Committee, and shared his insights and his joyful approach in ministry in presenting to various Catholic groups and organizations. When he is not actively educating the minds and hearts of his parishioners and students, he can be found baking pies. It seems he has found the “sweet spot” in his priestly ministry.
Fr. Tom is honored to serve as our Spiritual Adviser, offering guidance and prayerful support to the foundation’s efforts to end asplenia.
HONORARY BOARD MEMBER RAE-ANN WOOD
Bereaved parent of precious Noah. Rae-Ann has supported the Bones family with care and compassion, together facing some of life's soaring triumphs and staggering blows. She shared her love of baseball with Travis. She is a dear friend to our family and was one of Travis' favorite people.