About Us

Learn more about what our center offers, and who is involved in our journey

Our Retreat Center

Ana’s Place strives to create a welcoming environment for patients struggling with stage 3 and 4 cancer. It is our goal to make every patient feel as comfortable as possible with the amenities that we offer at our retreat center.

Serene Lake Home

Ana's Place will be located on a 15-20 acre location in central Florida. It will be a large home on the lake that is meant to have a calming and relaxing atmosphere.

Relax & Unwind

The purpose of Ana's Place is to offer cancer patients a free week to relax, unwind and take a break from their constant treatments.

Activities

Ana'a Place offers wellness activities such as yoga and meditation to all patients, however the primary focus at the center is on relaxation.

Families Welcomed

Patients are encouraged to have family members visit and accompany them to Ana's Place. All will be welcomed, comfort is our priority.

Meet Our Board Members

Milly Parente

Milly Parente is Ana’s younger sister.  She was born and raised in Miami where she attended and graduated with honors from Miami Dade College where she received her Associate Degree of Arts and Science in Radiologic Technology and her Associate Degree in Science in Radiation Therapy.  She has extensive experience with Radiation Therapy. For the past 8 years, she has worked as a Sr. Radiation Therapist at HCA Health (HCA). Prior to that, she worked in a similar capacity for Sisters of St. Augustine Mercy Hospital, a member of the Catholic Health East organization. Ms. Parente holds a license as a General Radiographer, Mammographer, and Radiation Therapist.  She is also Board Certified with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologist and is a member of the American Society for Radiologic Technologists.  She is trained and certified in Cyberknife for the delivery of stereotactic radiosurgery and spent 10 years as a Clinical Supervisor for the Radiation Therapy program at Miami Dade College. As someone who has always had a passion for giving back to her community through various charities, she is most passionate about keeping her sisters legacy and memory alive.

JC Gonzalez

JC’s career encompasses more than 35 years of experience with Customer and Technical Support and Executive Relationship Management for companies like ADP and Ultimate Software. He has an extensive history of building and leading customer service organizations in both startup companies as well as large multinational corporations.

For the past 25 years, Mr. Gonzalez has worked for Ultimate Software where he has held various executive positions including Vice President of Customer Support and Vice President of Executive Relationship Management.  He played a key role in Ultimate Software’s surpassing $1B in annual revenue. Ultimate Software was the fourth SaaS company to reach the one billion dollar milestone, and the only company to achieve the milestone profitably through internal growth.

Previously, Mr. Gonzalez held various Operations and Customer Service leadership positions at ADP from 1983 through 1993. 

Mr. Gonzalez attended the University of Miami and has a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Barry University, a Catholic University in Miami.  He is a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity and is a Knight of Columbus which is the world’s largest Catholic service organization. He is registered as a caregiver mentor as part of Ultimate Software’s UltiHOPE community.  UltiHOPE brings together cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers together to empower each other to continue fighting and thriving through cancer with HOPE.  The group offers direction on resources and tools available to ease the journey with cancer. 

 

Jason Gonzalez

Jason Gonzalez is Ana Parente’s youngest son. After being born and raised in Miami, Florida, he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Sociology with a focus on Financial Markets and Monetary Policy from Florida State University in 2016. He then attended law school at Wake Forest University School of Law and graduated with his Juris Doctorate Degree in May of 2020. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Taxation LL.M. Degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Jason was the Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer of Southern Cigar Co, the premier online cigar subscription club boasting over 3,000 lifetime subscribers across 50 different countries throughout the globe. Jason was instrumental in turning this start up concept into an example for subscription boxes all over the country. His work with Southern Cigar Co has led to publications in BuzzFeed, Maxim, InStyle, The Distilled Man, Starter Story, and more.

Dr. Juan Gonzalez

Dr. Juan Gonzalez is Ana Parente’s eldest son. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Chemistry with a focus in Biochemistry and Biotechnology from the University of South Florida in 2012. During his time at the University of South Florida, Dr. Gonzalez was apart of the Leaders In Emerging Technologies program at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida. While at Moffitt Cancer Center, Dr. Gonzalez helped conduct experiments focused on protein digestion, specifically NRAS and BRAF mutations and how they relate to melanoma development and quantification.

After his time at Moffitt Cancer Center, Dr. Gonzalez enrolled at the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine where he received his Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine Degree in 2018. He is currently a Pediatric Resident at the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile, Alabama.

Dr. Gonzalez is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Osteopathic Association, and the Omega Beta Iota National Osteopathic Political Action Honor Society.  He has also been published in the Journal of Pediatric Emergency Care.

Dr. Desiree Eugenie Simon

Dr. Desiree Simon, born on the lovely island of St. Croix U.S.V.I in 1973 who later migrated to the New York in 1983 and then to Miami, Florida in 1984 of which she now calls home. She believes that all things are possible through hard work, dedication and commitment.  Dr. Simon has been with the Mercy family since 2003. In her 21 years as an RN, most of her experience being at Sister Emmanuel Hospital, a Long Term Acute Care facility within Mercy Hospital offered her many professional development opportunities from staff nurse to leadership.

Early in her nursing career, Dr. Simon worked as a staff nurse in an Orthopedics/Oncology Specialty Unit at North Shore Hospital and therein a full circle to Oncology at Sister Emmanuel (clinical coordinator), then transitioned to Mercy Hospital as the Nurse Manager for In-Patient Rehabilitation and now serves as the Oncology Nurse Navigator at Mercy Hospital. Her true passion and significant role has always been for her patients and evident with each encounter. She has always embraced new challenges, one of which is caring for terminal cancer patients. This prompted her to obtain her chemotherapy certification to be more proficient in care provided. Dr. Simon has an intimate passion to teach and support her patients during the most challenging period of their life experiences.

Dr. Simon received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Florida International University, in Miami Florida, later obtained her Master of Science in Nursing with continued studies at the University of Miami obtaining a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree.  Currently enrolled in a Post Graduate Certificate Program in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Practitioner, with an anticipated completion on May of 2021.

In her free time, she enjoys family time with her husband Earl who is also a nurse, and their five girls. She also takes pleasure in singing where ever the opportunities presents. In addition, she also loves giving back to her community by way of feeding the homeless at the local shelters and volunteering within her church health ministry’s department. Awarded for her undoubted community service received the Honorable Mention Alumni Service Award from Florida International University for her commitment and passion for all those who have crossed her path and considers her passion infectious and well deserving.

 

Dr. Xiaodong Wu

Dr. Xiaodong Wu received his B.S. in Theoretical Physics from China’s Xiamen University, obtained his M.S. in Radiological Sciences and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from University of Miami.  Dr. Wu joined the University of Miami in 1989 as a faculty member in the Department of Radiation Oncology and became the Director of Medical Physics in 1997. He held a professorship in both Radiation Oncology and Biomedical Engineering. He founded the Executive Medical Physics Associates and Biophysics Research Institute of America and launched an independent operation in clinical medical physics and cancer R&D in 2011.

Dr. Wu is widely published and is a frequent lecturer in Medical Physics and cancer research worldwide. His works on clinical cancer research has resulted in many patents. Throughout his career, Dr. Wu led the establishment of many successful modern radiation therapy and radiosurgery centers. In recent years he has been instrumental in establishing the technical team and the R&D infrastructure of the Shanghai Proton and Heavy Ion Center, and a key contributor to the US-China joint research in high-energy charged particles for cancer treatment.

Dr. Michael Hall

Dr. Michael Hall was born and raised in Michigan before relocating to South Florida for high school.  He pursued his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida where he received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a specialization in Chemistry, graduating in 2005.  He then decided to pursue his career in medicine and attended the Florida State University College of Medicine where he received his Medical Doctorate Degree in 2010.

After graduation, Dr. Hall opted to then specialize in Radiation Oncology and obtained his residency training at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, where he graduated in 2015.  Dr. Hall is now a board-certified Radiation Oncologist practicing in Miami, FL at Mercy Hospital. 

Dr. Ivan Hernandez

Dr. Ivan A. Hernandez is the Medical Director at Fellowship House in South Miami, Florida, as well as the Psychiatrist for the Fellowship House Florida Assertive Community Treatment Team (FACT Team) where he has been since June 2012.

Prior to joining Fellowship house he was the Medical Director and Psychiatrist for the FACT Team at Bayview Center for Mental Health in North Miami Beach where he worked from September of 2003 till June of 2012. Since June of 1998 he has been the Psychiatric Consultant, for the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. From February of 2007 through April of 2017 he was the Psychiatric Physician Advisor, at the University of Miami Hospital.  Beginning in August of 1998 through August of 2003 he was the Associate Medical Director, at United Behavioral Health in Coral Gables, FL. From June of 1992 through April 2000 he had a private practice of adult psychiatry in Miami, Florida.

Prior to relocating to Miami in 1992 Dr. Hernandez worked as a staff psychiatrist from 1990 till 1992 at the Fordham Tremont Community Mental Health Center, as well as at St. Barnabas Hospital, both located in the Bronx, NY.

He served as an Instructor in Crisis Intervention Team Training for law enforcement agencies in Miami Dade County from May 2005 through December 2010. From May 1991 till May of 1992 he was an Adjunct Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of the New York Institute of Technology, located in the Bronx, New York.

Dr. Hernandez is a 1990 graduate of the New York Medical College-Metropolitan Hospital Medical Center psychiatric residency program. He obtained his Medical Degree at the Universidad Central Del Este in San Pedro De Macoris, Dominican Republic.

 In 2011 Dr. Hernandez Received the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Dr. Hernandez is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the Florida Psychiatric Society, and the American Medical Association.

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