judyDuring the Christmas and New Year period of 2007, Judy Nicholson was engaged, happy, and involved with no indications of an illness. On February 27th, 2007, she experienced a fainting spell, which was an unnatural event for her suggesting immediate further examination. On March 14th, 2007, her left kidney was removed by an outstanding team of physicians at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida, following a diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer), which had spread to her lymph nodes and to the aorta from her kidney. She underwent chemotherapy as quickly as medically possible. On August 1st, she was readmitted to Mayo Clinic for surgery to remove an aggressive tumor that had destroyed one of the vertebrae in her spine replaced by a prosthesis. The cancer had injured critical nerves in the spinal column causing paralysis of her left leg in addition to the harsh effects of the invasive cancer.

Throughout this ordeal Judy maintained a positive, courageous outlook, and was an inspiration to her family and friends. Judy left us on October 11th, 2009, after fighting a valiant battle she could not win. Judy had never been admitted to a hospital except to give birth to two children, and prior to the fainting spell, she had not experienced any symptoms that would have led one to suspect she was ill. She was examined by physicians in December 2007 as a precautionary measure for another condition, and during that exam, there was no reason to investigate further for any condition. Had a screening test been available, such as the PSA test given men for prostate cancer, perhaps Judy would be with us today due to early detection of the cancer.

Professional History

Judy loved her chosen profession as a realtor for Watson Realty Corp taking great personal satisfaction in assisting her clients, many whom she later befriended. She also achieved the distinguished CRS designation. During the her final 15 years as a sales professional, she was always among the top 10  Watson Realty Corp agents with the highest annual volume of closed sales transactions. In 1995, Judy was the number one sales leader of over 300 sales men and women. She was proud of her work and she thoroughly enjoyed the friendships of many at Watson. She thought of realtors Janet Palmer and Bob Ransom as her mentors. The Foundation is honored and proud of the huge role Watson Realty Corp has made by remembering Judy and helping the foundation.

  • Sheila Ann Mangum 1946-2015

    Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Sheila Mangum. Sheila was a friend to many at the foundation and an active supporter of the patient support group. She fought a valiant battle with kidney cancer. Please keep her loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.

  • Dr. Tracey E. Shaw McDonald 1970-2014

    Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Tracy McDonald. Dr. McDonald was a supporter of the foundation and loved by many. She was strong, courageous, kind, and funny and fought a noble battle with kidney cancer.

  • Louin “Mike” Gaston 1947-2015

    Louin Michael Gaston, age 68 of Jacksonville, FL died September 22, 2015 at his home. His career in the optical industry spanned over 40 years, and he was loved and valued by all who knew him. Mike enjoyed running and outdoor pursuits but his most important passion was his love for our Savior Jesus Christ.

    Mike will be remembered as a devoted husband, loving father and uncle, adoring grandfather and faithful friend. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl, son and daughter-in-law Corey and Julie, granddaughters Alison and Libby, brother and sister-in law Eldred and Linda, Lisa and Scott, mother-in-law Lenore, and several nieces and nephews, each of them holding a special place in his heart.

    A funeral Mass will be celebrated Monday, September 28th at St. Joseph’s Historic Catholic Church at Noon. Visitation will be 6 – 8PM Sunday, September 27th in the Marian Center at St. Joseph’s main church. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made in his name to the Judy Nicholson Kidney Cancer Foundation, for patient support and research.

  • Joyce E. Karsko 1937-2016

    Joyce E. (Kasner) Karsko, 78 of Fernandina Beach, Florida (formerly Columbus, Ohio) passed away on Friday, September 23, 2016 in Hancock Regional Hospice. She was born October 24, 1937 in Bay City, Michigan to the late Samuel A. and Lucy M. (Beneteau) Kasner.

    Joyce received her undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University and earned her Doctorate in Psychology from Ohio State University. She married John S. Karsko on September 10, 1960.   Prior to her retirement in 1990, Joyce was a Professor of Psychology at Otterbein College for over 25 years and counselled patients in private practice.

    An accomplished artist, Joyce’s work hung in the Gallery of the Island Art Association and the Plantation Artists’ Guild and Gallery, where she acted as president. Always serving others, she gave yoga lessons for over 30 years, volunteered with the Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival, the Pink Ribbon Ladies of Jacksonville and served on the J.F. Nicholson Foundation Board of Directors.

    She is survived by daughter; Lizan (Greg) Karsko Brand of Greenfield, grandchildren; Taylor, Lauren, Nathan and Lucy Brand, all of Greenfield, nieces and nephews; Patty Chavarria, Pam Smith-Wojcik, David Smith, Danny McGinnis, Kathy Reifies, Craig McGinnis, Sean McGinnis, Chris Medors, Molly Nix and Cabot Hart.

    Preceding her in death are her parents, husband; John Stephen Karsko, son; J. Stephen Karsko, brother; Robert Kasner and sister; Dorthea Smith.

    For her Florida family and friends, a memorial service and Celebration of Life will be held at 1:00 pm, on Saturday, October 15th at the Amelia Plantation Chapel, 36 Bowman Rd., Amelia Island, FL 32034 with Reverend Ted Schroder officiating.

    In Lieu of flowers, Joyce would encourage those who can, to donate blood.  Those interested in making a monetary donation may do so to the Indiana Blood Center, Attn: Lucy Smith, 3450 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN 46208.  Please make a note that the donation is in honor of Joyce Karsko. The donations will go toward a college scholarship fund benefitting a high school student who has been active in participating in blood drives.

Board of Directors

  • Linda Ostoski
    Watson Realty Corp
  • Nick Nicholson
    Coldwell Banker Commercial
  • George Mayforth
    Vice President
  • Rhonda Boyles
    SBDP, Swindell, Bohn, Durden & Phillips, PL
  • Lauren Davis

Honorary Board of Directors

  • Dr. Naomi Haas, MD
    Medical Oncologist
    Prostate and Kidney Cancer Program
    Associate Professor of Medicine at the
    Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
  • Dr. Roberto Pili, MD
    Robert Wallace Miller Professor of Oncology
    Professor of Medicine, Urology
    Pharmacology and Toxicology;
    Indiana University, School of Medicine-
    Simon Cancer Center, Indianapolis, IN


  • Lee Ann Buck
    Manager, Recruiting
    Landstar System Inc.
  • George Mayforth., PE
    CED Technologies, Inc
  • Hunt Ozmer
  • Dr. Winston Tan, MD
    Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
  • Dr. David Thiel, MD
    Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL
  • Scott Nicholson
    Century 21 Atkins Realty

Patient Support Team

Clinical Trial Advocacy

  • Susan Poteat & Mike Geisler, Co-chairs

Patient Support

  • Paula Gibson

Community Affairs

  • Lauren Davis

Kidney Chesney

We are proud to introduce you to our mascot, Kidney Chesney.  He is available for appearances if his schedule permits.  Though there is not a charge for appearances, we accept donations for his appearance which will be used to fund research for kidney cancer.  Kidney Chesney’s hope in making appearances is to bring awareness to kidney cancer and to bring smiles to those who meet him.

Please Contact us if you would like to schedule Kidney for an appearance.