About Vital Options International

Supporting Patients' Needs | Giving Voice to Patients

Vital Options International has expanded its mission to become a global health foundation focused on supporting the financial needs of patients and giving patients a voice.


From a culminating 30+ years as an innovative leader in patient advocacy, our expanded mission includes direct support of patients, their caregivers and families across all chronic and life-threatening illnesses through the Selma Schimmel Vital Grant.


The Selma Schimmel Vital Grant is a financial support program focused on helping patients and families who are enduring financial hardship while battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The Vital Grant program will pay for things like transportation to treatment, treatment costs, medication, groceries and other expenses. The program is administered by our partner foundations with the capacity and infrastructure to accept applications from patients and families, and distribute the funds.


Vital Options is still committed to giving a voice to patients, caregivers, families and healthcare professionals through our award-winning Vital Conversations and Advocacy In Action programs. This blend of patient stories and insights from healthcare professionals provides patients and their families valuable guidance to the treatment and support they need.


A Message from the VOI Board

Welcome to Vital Options International! From a culminating 30+ years as an innovative leader in patient advocacy, today represents a pivotal chapter in the life of this organization as we look to our future of supporting patients, their caregivers and families. With new ways to support patients, a new Board of Directors with renewed energy, we are committed to our mission of generating global health solutions and conversations.

Vital Options International continues to bring you access to dialogues with patients, medical professionals and advocates from across the globe that ultimately enlighten, engage and empower you to understand the heart of the patient experience.

Thank you for engaging with us. We hope you’ll check back often for updates, join our community, interact through our social media, share our video resources with others and let us know what topics you would like to hear about. With your input and support, vital awareness of all our options becomes clearer.

Vital Options Board of Directors

David S. Duplay, Chairman and CEO

David Duplay is currently the Founder and CEO of healtheo360, a caring online social media company which provides Virtual Social Therapy® to patients living with a chronic condition, their caregivers, family members and friends. Dave also serves as the Chairman and CEO of Vital Options International.

More about David

Dave has spent his career as a business and technology strategist for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. With a heritage in healthcare marketing, communications and technology, Dave has worked with pharmaceutical companies, the medical profession, research organizations and patient groups for over 20 years, completing various types of marketing and strategy projects across almost all disease areas.

As an advocate for the healthcare industry and a passionate believer that aligning the goals and aspirations of all stakeholders in healthcare is key to improving outcomes for patients, Dave is frequently invited to comment on the positive aspects of working with the pharmaceutical and managed care industry and is a recognized author and speaker on healthcare marketing strategies, physician, patient and caregiver strategies as well as the pharmaceutical industries role in delivering quality care.

Debby Bitticks, Chairman Emeritus

Intergenerational Expert, Award Winning Author, Health and Caregiving Advocate.  Debby worked with her sister Selma Schimmel (Founder of VOI) from its inception, and is proud to continue her support of the organization and the legacy of her sister.  Debby is a breast cancer survivor and can be reached at Debby@DebbyBitticks.com.

Brian T. Mayer, Board Member

Brian T. Mayer is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of RMR Wealth Management, LLC. Brian has been managing assets for high net worth individuals, small business owners and institutional clients since 1995. Brian’s practice focuses on delivering unique and thorough …

More about Brian

…financial solutions to match the goals and objectives of his clients. In 1998, Brian co-founded Mercer Partners, Inc. a boutique investment banking firm. Mercer Partners created IPOSyndicate.com in 1999, offering high net worth individuals and institutions access to syndicate products via the internet. IPOSyndicate.com was rated by Forbes.com, Best of the Web: Access to IPO’s online in 2000. Brian began his financial advisory career in 1995 with Oppenheimer & Co., Inc.

Since 2004, Brian has worked closely with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in a variety of fundraising efforts, principally as Chairman of the Marc Mayer Memorial Annual Golf Tournament. Brian graduated from The University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance. Brian lives in Princeton, NJ with his wife and two children. Brian is active in the community by coaching youth sport and is a board member of multiple youth sports organizations.

Kevin Weadock, Board Member

Kevin Weadock is an Engineering Fellow at Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company dedicated to bringing surgical solutions to patients worldwide. Kevin earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering and is a Registered Patent Agent in the USPTO.  He is an inventor on 44 US patents and an author on papers in the field of biomaterials, tissue engineering and nuclear medicine. He is also the author of “The River,” a memoir on the effects of alcoholism on his childhood.

More about Kevin

Kevin has participated in the Cortland County, NY Big Brother program and has coached Little League baseball and basketball in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He has contributed to the United Way since 2000. Kevin has spent his career addressing various disease states, including third degree burns, ovarian and lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory diseases.  He is a cancer survivor and hopes to help others who have been affected by the disease.

Dave Hassrick, Board Member

Dave Hassrick is an environmental consultant who has been providing environmental liability analysis for corporations across North America. Dave’s primary practice area has focused on re-positioning of environmentally impaired real estate and working with global companies to improve their environmental footprint for long-term growth and sustainability.

Mike Lally, Board Member

Mike is a recently retired pharmaceutical & healthcare executive having spent the last 30 years of his career in various senior executive roles in the industry. Most recently Mike held the position of Sr Director of Global Logistics with Teva Pharmaceutical, the largest generic pharmaceutical company in the world. 

More about Mike

Prior to Teva he worked in all aspects of supply chain in the electronics, textiles and pharmaceutical industries. Mike now dedicates his time volunteering for the betterment of health related causes and is a passionate supporter of Patients and Caregivers who are dealing with chronic conditions.    

Mark J. Speckhart, Board Member

Mark J. Speckhart is an entrepreneur and International Sales Agent with over 20 years of experience in the automation industry. Mark currently represents ZCS Company, the world leader and most innovative company changing people’s lives and businesses every day for the better.

More about Mark

Mark is an esophageal cancer survivor diagnosed in 2011 and the proud father of three beautiful children.

Mark is also a Patient Advocate speaking with patients pre and post-surgery. In this role he helps by giving explanations on what patients with similar medical situations can expect as far physical and mental challenges during treatment and then after treatment.

Doug Lesko, Board Member

Doug is a marketing professional with over 10 years of charitable event planning experience.  He currently serves as the Senior Marketing Director of healtheo360, a caring community which provides support, encouragement, and inspiration to patients and their caregivers, friends, and family.  In 2011, Doug lost his brother to a rare form of cancer and has since become involved in various cancer-research fundraising efforts. Doug and his wife reside in Doylestown, PA and are expecting a new addition to their family in August 2019.  


“healtheo360 is a “Caring Community” where patients living with chronic conditions, such as Diabetes, Cancer, Alzheimer’s, and many others come to find support, encouragement, and information.