Board of Directors

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Dr. Tom Pintar
Board Member

 Dynamic Board Certified Private Practice Nephrologist with 12 years of clinical experience caring for patients with CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease), Hypertension, Diabetes, and after renal transplant in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Also, a 22-year survivor with Type I Diabetes. Active recreational athlete with accomplishments ranging from competing in Ironman Triathlon, Ultra marathons, and Ultra-cycling races including the RAAM (Race Across America). Strong proponent of fitness as a means to better control chronic illness and contribute to an improved quality of life. Active in encouraging patients to participate in regular fitness activities as a “prescription” to better health. 

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Russ Francis
Board Member
The World Champion San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s epitomized team work, high performance, and accomplishing goals against strong odds. Russ Francis was the 49er’s starting tight end on what is often considered the best offensive football team to ever play the game. Russ was coached by the best: Bill Walsh, head coach of the 49ers. “Working with a master at motivation and strategy was a privilege. I got a lot more out of playing football than a superbowl ring,” says Russ. He played with the New England Patriots for 8 years and won Rookie of the Year honors his first year in the NFL. Russ was selected to play in the Pro Bowl 4 times.After football, friend and mentor Howard Cosell encouraged Russ to be a sports broadcaster. It was Howard that first used the phrase “All World” while describing Russ’ play as a rookie with the Patriots. Russ joined Howard at ABC Sports to work with Keith Jackson, Bob Beattie and Al Michaels broadcasting college football and a variety of other sports all over the world. Russ has handled broadcasting assignments for ESPN X Games, Fox Sports and produced sports television programs and radio shows.I learned quickly that the NFL was not just a game—it was a business. And after playing for 14 years I got involved in many business and media ventures. In business I could see the fine line between super performance and profits and unfocused performance and failure. In a tough economic cycle like we are experiencing now, the companies that are not operating at peak levels will be defeated by companies operating with more urgency and efficiency. We have to resist complacency and motivate ourselves and our teammates constantly to stay sharp. I want to teach American companies that every employee’s thinking and performance can become a “new normal” of high achievement that translates into profits.”Russ grew up around a legendary cast of characters. His father was a world-class wrestling promoter. “I actually had Andre the Giant as a baby-sitter when I was a kid and wrestled Jesse “The Body/The Governor” Ventura as a young man,” Russ remembers. Russ held the U.S. National High School & World Record for his age group in the javelin throw at age 17 and was selected to the Olympic Training Team for the javelin event in 1971. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals baseball team while attending the University of Oregon. Russ was a member of the U.S. National Championship Skydiving Team and has over 3500 jumps. Russ is a commercial airplane and helicopter pilot, has been a test pilot, and has performed in air shows all over the U.S.

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Kathy Weck
Board Member

Kathy Weck, LICSW, has a BS in Social Work and a Masters in Social Work, both from the University of Minnesota. She has been the Pediatric Nephrology social worker at the University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital since 1985. She has worked with Shad and his foundation from almost its inception and has known and worked with Shad since he was a 13 year old, scared, confused, adolescent dialysis patient. Those early years with Shad were a challenge to both patient and social worker. She has watched Shad change as he improved his life by becoming healthier and achieved his goal of becoming a Triathlete and starting his Foundation. Shad has provided Fitness Grants to some of Kathy’s patients and proved through these grants that fitness is a means to better control chronic illness as well as improve a patient’s quality of life. She continues to support and encourage patients to participate in regular fitness activities, and is committed to being an active member on Shad’s Board of Directors.



Steve Varsos
Board Member

Steve is very honored to have been asked by the Shad Ireland Foundation to sit on its Board of Directors!  Steve is an insulin dependent diabetic with one kidney and Stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD). He has been involved with the Shad Ireland Foundation for the past 6 years, helping with fundraising and raising awareness about kidney disease by sharing his story and wearing the “Team Ireland” jersey in triathlons (including Ironman Wisconsin) and ½ marathons. The Foundation has had an incredibly positive impact on his life! Having been involved with the Foundation over the years, he knows that the Foundation has so much to offer the renal community and he wants to be a part of making sure that happens.
Steve’s hope is that being on the Board of Directors will give him a better opportunity to reach out to and work with more people with diabetes, CKD and those on dialysis. He wants to share his story and hopefully give them the inspiration and sense of hope that the Foundation gave him! He also want to help secure more funding for the Foundation. Those dollars are essential for the Foundation to maintain its’ ability to develop and improve technology such as Baseline and in supporting current initiatives. Being a Board member will allow Steve to have a greater voice in advocating for the Foundation and renal community. He wants to use his voice and experiences to help push for legislation and policies which will help provide the renal community with the funding and tools necessary to positively impact patients with CKD and those on dialysis. As a Board member, he will lead by example and let other patients know that you’re never too old to regain control of your health!