Hello! Our names are Madison Novice, Ali Weitz, Janet Gendelman, Molly Powers, Karlee Novice, and Taylor Novice. We are the founders of Cap & Conquer, Inc, a 501(c)3 non-profit that focuses on raising funds for cancer patients in Southeast Michigan who choose to use scalp cooling (also known as cold caps), a technology used to reduce hair loss during chemotherapy. We started Cap & Conquer as a result of our own personal success stories and experiences using cold cap therapy.
We all came to know cold caps through different avenues, however we were all deeply impacted by this treatment. Ali found out about the treatment from her oncologist when she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer in 2015; she then strongly encouraged Madison, a family friend, to use cold caps when Maddie was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma three years later. Karlee and Taylor Novice were committed cappers for their youngest sister Madison during her treatment. Karlee then encouraged her friend and colleague Molly to use cold caps when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019. Janet Gendelman was introduced to cold caps by her oncologist and used them when she underwent treatment for ovarian cancer in 2019.
All four of us who used scalp cooling successfully saved our hair with cold caps while undergoing chemotherapy. We all have been profoundly impacted by the power we felt in keeping our hair and the ability to maintain normalcy during such crazy and unpredictable times. We know how wonderful cold caps can be, but through our experiences, we also noticed many barriers to using this technology, especially the lack of knowledge and the financial burden.
We started Cap & Conquer to try to break down these barriers. We want every eligible cancer patient to be aware of cold caps and to be able to use them if they so choose, no matter the cost. That is why we will be raising money to directly fund patients who cannot afford the treatment and we will be using our platform to raise awareness about this hair-preserving technology along the way. Please read more about us, consider donating or volunteering, and if you are a patient who requires funding please apply! Even just learning about cold caps and educating those around you has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of a cancer patient and their families!
Quick note: While we all used Penguin Cold Cap, we have no relationships or conflict of interest with any of the cold cap companies.
Meet Our Founders
Used Penguin Cold Caps in 2018 during chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Madison was born in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In August 2018, Madison was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma prior to the start of her senior year at Duke University. Throughout her chemotherapy treatment, Madison used Cold Caps to preserve her hair. Successfully keeping her hair helped her maintain a sense of normalcy, privacy, and confidence throughout the process, greatly impacting her quality of life during and after chemotherapy. However, without a particular family friend, Ali Weitz, who also used Cold Caps during her chemotherapy, Madison does not know if she would have had the knowledge or drive to use Cold Caps.
Prior to this experience, Madison had already hoped to become a physician, partly because of her early years of college volunteering at the Duke University Hospital Cancer Center performing wig fittings for cancer patients. Experiencing first hand the impact hair loss had on these patients, coupled with the opportunity she had to preserve her hair during chemotherapy, greatly changed the impact she wanted to have one day as a physician. As a result, she initiated research on Cold Cap Therapy with the goal to increase awareness and availability of the treatment.
Madison also recognized immediately that the financial burden of Cold Cap Therapy created a large disparity in access to treatment. Consequently, Madison wanted to invest her energy in starting a non-profit organization that would enrich her research efforts by raising funds to help subsidize Cold Caps for those who cannot afford the treatment in her home state, Michigan. That is what led us here to Cap & Conquer!!
In her free time, Madison loves to spend time with her family and friends (and her adorable family dog Honey!!), especially on the beautiful lakes of Michigan in the summers. Most importantly, she is so happy to finally be back home in the state of Michigan surrounded by the people she loves most in this world!
Alexandra (Ali) Weitz
Used Penguin Cold Caps in 2015 during chemotherapy for breast cancer
Alexandra (Ali) Weitz is from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. In 2015, at the age of 30, Ali was diagnosed with breast cancer. At that time, she and her husband Andrew had an 18 month old son, Wyatt and had hopes of growing their family and was busy working as a medical sales representative and surgical technician for a spinal implant company. Ali was fortunate to find out about cold caps by her oncologist, Dr. Jeffrey Margolis. She had never heard anything about scalp cooling before, but when she spoke to a friend in New York City, she learned that her friend had used it, and she urged Ali to give it a try. Ali, with the support of her husband and her family, decided to use cold caps to try to preserve a part of her identity as she was going through so many changes, including a double mastectomy.
Ali kept almost all of her hair using cold caps, and it made such an incredible impact on her quality of life during and after treatment. She was able to keep a part of her identity in addition to maintain privacy during a very difficult time. Her husband and mother worked together to learn how to assist in the capping during her chemotherapy treatments, and Andrew has since helped train the Novice family to assist Maddie with her caps back in 2018. This experience made such an impact for Ali and has decided that she wanted to help as many cancer patients as she could going through a similar experience. To date, she has helped so many women, including Maddie, learn about cold caps and have helped them with all the steps involved in the process. There is nothing that Ali enjoys more than helping other women keep a bit of themselves as they go through their cancer treatment. Ali's describes her experience in the words of her dear late friend Lindsey Finsilver as, "a beautiful gift, wrapped in a very ugly box.”
In her free time (which she does not have much of with 3 kids), Ali helps her family run the famous Steve’s Deli! She also loves spending time with her family: her husband Andrew, two twin girls-Simone and LuLu, Wyatt and dog Reiss!
Used Penguin Cold Caps during chemotherapy for ovarian cancer
Janet Gendelman lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan with her husband and two awesome kids. She has worked as a public-school teacher for 17 years. In February 2019 Janet was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer. As she worked to put her medical team in place and begin treatment, she was fortunate enough to meet Dr. Jeffrey Margolis who explained that the chemotherapy required would cause Janet to lose her hair. Fortunately, Dr. Margolis shared that in Janet’s case there was an option to use Cold Caps. He provided resources for Janet to make a decision about moving forward with Cold Caps.
Janet was determined to continue living her life during cancer treatment and using Cold Caps allowed her to do this. She was able to maintain privacy and protect her mental and emotional health. It also allowed her to create a sense of normalcy for her young children. After six rounds of Chemotherapy and surgery Janet was able to return to her life before cancer relatively quickly. Much of this can be attributed to the Cold Caps.
Reflecting on this journey, Janet realized how fortunate she was to afford the Cold Caps. Through conversations with her doctor and Cold Cap providers she recognized that many individuals facing cancer could not afford Cold Caps. In early 2020, Janet reached out to organizations around the country that were providing financial assistance for Cold Caps users with the hope of raising money for patients in Michigan. In May 2020 one of these organizations reached out to Janet to see if she wanted to connect with other women in Southeast Michigan who were already working passionately on the same project. Janet first spoke to Madison over the phone and instantly felt her enthusiasm for helping other cancer patients save their hair. Janet was instantly welcomed by Madison, Taylor, Karlee, and Ali to join their team.
When Janet is not driving carpool, she loves to travel and spend time with her family and friends. She enjoys working out, yoga and downhill skiing. She is a passionate and active Tamarack Camps Board Member.
Used Penguin Cold Caps during chemotherapy for breast cancer
Molly Powers is a Board-Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon practicing at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. She lives in Beverly Hills, MI and married her high school sweetheart in 2012. Together, they have three young children, Emma, Addison, and Nolan. In December 2019, Molly was diagnosed with breast cancer just days after learning she was pregnant with their third child. As one would expect after receiving such news, she began looking into all options to maintain a sense of normalcy for herself and her children. Molly learned of cold capping in her dermatology training. She was told by her doctors that cold capping had very limited efficacy with the type of chemotherapy (Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide) she was going to receive during her pregnancy. Through Karlee Novice, Molly learned of Madison Novice’s success with cold capping having used Adriamycin... so Molly decided to give it a try. Molly has completed 10 chemotherapy infusions and has 6 more to go. She has kept nearly all of her hair during this time.
With the anxiety and fear that come with any cancer diagnosis, Molly is so grateful to have had the opportunity to shield some of those concerns from her children by maintaining her appearance in her children’s eyes. After spending many hours in the infusion center, Molly and her husband, Jake, have only seen one other patient using Colds Caps. Through this experience, they have learned there is a large awareness gap and financial burden to using Cold Caps. Given her success and the impact of hair preservation on Molly’s daily life, she is passionate about spreading the word and working to make this technology available to all eligible patients.
Molly and her husband love to spend time outdoors, biking, exploring, and playing with their three healthy children. She is also learning to take on golf as a new hobby during the pandemic.
Assistant "Capper" for Madison Novice
Taylor Novice is a MD/MBA, currently starting her transitional year at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She will then begin her 3 year dermatology residency at Henry Ford in Detroit the following year.
Taylor became emotionally invested in cold cap therapy after she saw the profound impact it had on her sister’s cancer experience. Initially, Taylor thought that using cold caps required too much effort and was much more focused on the chemotherapy itself; however, she quickly saw how wrong she was. Her sister was able to preserve some aspect of normalcy during such a challenging time, and after chemotherapy, she watched her 22 year old sister jump right back into life without the additional weight of growing back her hair.
Taylor was struck by the limitations on patients’ awareness of and access to cold caps. This drove her to collaborate with Madison as well as other influential physicians and activists in this space, including Dr. Burness (University of Michigan Oncologist), Dr. Jeruss (University of Michigan Surgical Oncologist), and Dr. Lo Sicco (New York University Dermatologist). They found that one major hurdle to using Cold Caps for many patients is the cost, and that’s why Taylor wanted to be a part of Cap & Conquer!
In her free time, Taylor loves spending time with her family and her wonderful fiancé (David Portney- a medical student!). She is a cards enthusiast and is in a fierce competition with Karlee's husband for leading record of euchre wins in her family!
Head "Capper" for Madison Novice
Karlee Novice is a Board Certified Dermatologist practicing with her father, Dr Fred Novice, at Novice Group Dermatology in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Karlee first learned about scalp cooling for hair preservation during her dermatology residency but it soon took on a more personal and impactful meaning when her youngest sister, Madison, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and the discussion of chemotherapy side effects began. At that time, Karlee was fortunate to have been a resident at a very supportive program that afforded her the flexibility to be at Madison’s chemotherapy treatments where she shared the role of "capper" with her mother and other sister, Taylor. She was a part of the hands on, bi-weekly, 10 hour capping sessions and understands the dedication and resources it takes to complete a course of scalp cooling. She also deeply values the emotional impact hair preservation can have on maintaining a sense of normalcy and humanness in an otherwise very scary and challenging time. She is thrilled to be contributing to raising awareness, funds and resources for other patients considering scalp cooling and to help educate and train future cappers!
Karlee lives in Birmingham with her wonderful husband, Alex Simmons, who played a crucial role in keeping the family well fed and laughing during the months of Madison’s chemotherapy treatments. They adore their four legged fur baby - a golden retriever, Banks Simmons (named after east bank club in Chicago where they met!)
Meet Our Team
Maddi Ishbia Luckoff
Patient Funding Administrator
Patient Funding Coordinator
Chief Financial Officer
Director of Social Media
Patient Funding Committee
We believe every cancer patient should be educated about scalp cooling, and our goal is that finances will not be a barrier to using this technology.
About Our Logo
Cap & Conquer incorporates the three colors associated with the three cancers of our founding members:
Violet for Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Pink for Breast Cancer
Teal for Ovarian Cancer