Board of Directors

Dr. Jenna Sawdon-Bea, President

Dr. Jenna Sawdon-Bea, PresidentDr. Jenna Sawdon-Bea is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at California State University, Fresno. She graduated from California State University, Fresno with her Bachelors and Masters in Physical Therapy. Jenna earned her PhD in Physical Therapy from Texas Woman’s University in Dallas, Texas. Jenna is also a Physical Therapist and works part-time for Concentra. Her area of teaching and clinical specialty is outpatient musculoskeletal / orthopedic rehabilitation. She is on the Executive Committee of the San Joaquin Valley District Physical Therapy Association and has volunteered her time at local Health Fairs, Ergonomic Screenings, and Adolescent Athlete Injury Prevention studies.

Jenna was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2012. Jenna participated in the Art of Life Program in 2013 with her three young daughters. She firmly believes that the opportunity to create art with her daughters was a catalyst in the healing of her whole family. Jenna’s love of life, and desire to inspire others were the driving forces behind joining the Art of Life Cancer Foundation.

Jenna is married and has 3 daughters, Makayla (9), Jordyn (8), and Payton (5). She loves spending time with her family and enjoys running half-marathons.


Anna Tolladay, Treasurer

Anna Tolladay served as Vice President of Michael R. Tolladay Corporation, specializing in shopping center construction since 1985. Prior to her appointment on the Art of Life Cancer Foundation Board in June 2015, Anna previously served on the Saint Agnes Medical Center Foundation Board 2003 – 2010, and the Saint Agnes Mission and Ethics Committee 2010 – 2011. Anna and her husband Mike have worked with numerous non-profits in the greater Fresno area including Break the Barriers, Terry’s House, Central California Blood Center, Nazareth House, and Community Hospitals of Central California. Her construction planning experience is an asset to the Board.

Anna’s mission is to help create a supportive community through the Art of Life Healing Garden to improve and restore well-being. She is a strong advocate to alleviate the stress and difficulties that can accompany cancer survivors and their families.

Anna is married and lives in Fresno. She enjoys traveling with her husband, spending time with her adult children, and giving back to the community


Heidi Fiorentino, Secretary 


Heidi Fiorentino is the newest member of our Board and brings experience and passion from the medical field. She is a Sales Rep at Genentech, specializing in breast cancer medicine. As a breast cancer survivor and past participant in the Art of Life Canvas Program, Heidi was so inspired by her experience that she wanted to give back by serving on the Board of Directors.

Heidi grew up in Sanger and attended Fresno Pacific University. She loves spending time with her husband of 26 years and their three kids. She is actively involved at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church where she serves as an Ecumenical Minister. An avid fitness buff, Heidi has ran four marathons, including one in Paris. She also teaches aerobics at Copper River Country Club.


Christopher Perkins, MD, Founder


Dr. Christopher Perkins unique “Philosophy of Wholeness” reflects an approach to the treatment of cancer you won’t find anywhere else. Out of his deep compassion for his patients and a desire for them to address their cancer holistically, he founded The Art of Life Program. In this innovative program, cancer survivors become more aware of the interconnectivity of the body, mind and soul in healing. Additionally, there is scientific evidence that art-based interventions are effective in reducing adverse physiological and psychological outcomes. In the Art of Life Program participants find a creative outlet through painting to courageously tell their story and process their cancer journey often resulting in a greater sense of hope.

The Art of Life program links groups of participants with cancer to local artists to co-create works of art for public viewing. The art represents life in the midst of the cancer journey. For the many people involved, the result is life-giving transformation.



Joe Doherty


Joe Doherty is a retired businessman from United Parcel Service. He has served on the Clovis West Foundation, Booster Club Board, and the Juvenile Diabetes Board. Joe currently serves on the Finance Committee for St Therese Church in downtown Fresno, as well as volunteers at Children’s Hospital NICU in Madera. In 2013, Joe was integral in the formation of the Paula Project; an art project involving all cancer patients in honor of his wife, Paula, who passed from Breast Cancer in late 2012.

Joe’s wife Paula participated in the Art of Life Project in 2010. Joe declares that the creative painting process was integral behind his wife’s happiness as she pushed through cancer-related treatments. The Paula Project was formed so that cancer survivors could return year-after-year to participate in an art project. Joe’s passion for the healing arts comes from watching his wife and other patients with cancer benefit from the time spent in the creative process.

Joe lives in Fresno and enjoys spending time with his two grown children. He delights in traveling and golfing.



Jenelle Higton, Executive Director


Jenelle Higton moved to Fresno in 2004 after graduating from The Master’s College with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Counseling. Jenelle has dedicated the past 10 years as Practice Administrator to California Oncology of the Central Valley and California Oncology of Turlock.  She was part of a key team of people that created the Art of Life program, under the leadership and vision of Fresno Oncologist, Dr. Christopher Perkins.  Her passion and vision for the program led the charge to develop the Art of Life Cancer Foundation as a 501(c)3 Community Benefit Organization in 2013.  She faithfully volunteered her time to lead and develop the non-profit in it’s early years and has now officially been named Executive Director of the Art of Life Cancer Foundation as of as of December 1, 2015.

With Jenelle’s efforts, the Art of Life Program has successfully seen over 300,000 people impacted by the Art of Life’s mission since 2007. Her passion is to see the stories and artwork of local cancer survivors featured in the Art of Life Healing Garden at Woodward Park and in turn, to create a landmark of hope in the Central Valley.

Jenelle loves traveling and spending time with her husband and two daughters, Hailey (6) and Hope (4).