Our Founders

The NeJame Family

"What started out as a simple dream has blossomed into a beautiful reality. In 2010, we envisioned a way of providing direct support to children and families who have been affected by pediatric cancer in our local community. Words cannot begin to elaborate on the amount of respect, gratitude, and sincere appreciation we have for each and every one of you. As we come together, united in our mission, we hope for nothing more than to all hold hands, to walk together, and to find a cure for childhood cancer."

Josie NeJame

Co-Founder & Board Chair of Runway to Hope

Mark NeJame

Co-Founder of Runway to Hope &
Senior Partner at Orlando Law Firm NeJame Law

Receivers of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Philanthropy

Awarded to Mark & Josie in 2017

Our Hope-story

Runway to Hope was founded in 2010 by Mark and Josie NeJame with a simple vision - to bring new and innovative programs to the oncology programs of the three local children's hospitals and keep funding in Central Florida. Since then, Runway to Hope has met with and encouraged all three of the hospitals to work together, something that was not otherwise being done. Runway to Hope's investment has created a more efficient use of funds and prevention of duplicating services and care offered locally. As a result of these efforts, the pediatric oncologists and hospital systems are now working together for the common cause of helping pediatric cancer warriors and their families.

FHOSU2017 - Josie, Mark, Alessandra & Valentina NeJame 1.jpg
NemoursInfusionNaming2018 - NeJame Family (1).JPG

During this time, Runway to Hope has grown to become the largest local charity gala in Central Florida, pledging $4.3 million to expand oncology care at the three local children's hospitals in Central Florida: Advent Health for Children, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Nemours Children's Hospital.

Runway to Hope's signature gala event, the annual Spring Soiree hosts over 150 children, between the ages of 2-18, who have battled or are currently battling pediatric cancer. On this night, they have the chance to walk down the runway hand-in-hand with a local or national celebrity escort. Watching all of the beautiful models as they walk on stage, embracing their inner style, with a smile on their face is truly an uplifting and inspirational moment that takes your breath away. The support from the community continues to be truly remarkable and allows Runway to Hope to make a notable difference in the lives of families impacted by pediatric cancer. No child or family should ever feel alone throughout this journey.

SFS2017 - Evie Tanner, Josie Nejame, Mark Nejame 2.jpg
BBW2019 - Mark Nejame & Maya Smith4.jpg

Runway to Hope strives to cultivate a community of hope for our families battling and assist them with basic necessities so they can focus on saving their child's life. Thus, the Family Assistance Program was created, which provides aid to the courageous families of children battling cancer that are desperately in need. Often, one parent has to quit work to care for the child and as a result, their other children's needs are deferred with mounting expenses and loss of income dramatically draining their finances. The Family Assistance Program provides immediate help ranging from automobile assistance, mortgage/rent payments, utilities, emergency transportation and unfortunately, funeral/end of life expenses.

Since 2014, the program has assisted over 500 families in Central Florida, granting over $750,000. The Family Assistance Program was started in 2014 when we learned that one of the little girls who had walked in our Spring Soiree did not have a bed to sleep and heal in at home. After helping this family with a bed, it was clear that needs to families battling pediatric cancer are endless.


More about the NeJame's


When Mark asked Josie what she wanted to do, Josie always said she wanted to do something in Philanthropy. With two healthy daughters, Mark and Josie decided they should give back to those who are not so lucky. Their family motto is "to those whom much is given, much is expected." They saw a need in families battling pediatric cancer and so Runway to Hope was born. Working out of the family's home & garage for many years, Runway to Hope's signature event, the Spring Soiree, pulled off the elegance and charm worthy of statewide recognition. They quickly outgrew the original spaces in which the gala was held. It is with great pride that Josie still plays a large role in the success of not only the gala, but the organization as a whole. Her dedication and heart for the work of the charity is inspiring.

SpringSoiree2022 - Josie NeJame 2.jpg
SpringSoiree2022 - Mark Nejame 36.JPG


Mark is a renowned lawyer not only in Central Florida, but throughout the entire state of Florida and is the Founder & Senior Partner for NeJame Law. For most of his childhood and adult life, he was inadvertently around pediatric cancer; Mark's mother was a lab technician for the very first pediatric oncologist in Orlando. When Josie wanted to do something in the philanthropic world, it was any easy decision. Through his mothers work, he saw the struggles of pediatric cancer and continued to learn just how great those struggles were through the creation of Runway to Hope. He has been honored to receive the Award for Excellence in Fundraising by a Nonprofit by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He and Josie were also named Philanthropist of the year in 2014. To this day, Mark is a fierce advocate for our organization and we are lucky to have him by our side in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Valentina & Alessandra

Mark and Josie's daughters, Valentina and Alessandra, have been involved with Runway to Hope since the very beginning. Volunteering at every event, starting clubs for the organization in their schools, and even befriending Runway to Hope's children. The girls have learned a lot from their parents in the way of altruism. Runway to Hope is grateful to have such a passionate family support system.
Picture of the NeJame family with Evie Tanner | 2016

BBW2016 - Nejame Family & Evie Tanner 1.jpg
We use cookies to improve user experience. These cookies help us to understand how visitors interact with our website. View our Settings to learn more or Accept All.

Cookie Settings

We use cookies to improve user experience. Choose what cookie categories you allow us to use. You can read more about our Cookie Policy by clicking on Cookie Policy below.

These cookies enable strictly necessary cookies for security, language support and verification of identity. These cookies can’t be disabled.

These cookies collect data to remember choices users make to improve and give a better user experience. Disabling can cause some parts of the site to not work properly.

These cookies help us to understand how visitors interact with our website, help us measure and analyze traffic to improve our service.

These cookies help us to better deliver marketing content and customized ads.