Earning her bachelor’s degree from Bouve College of Pharmacy and Allied Health at Northeastern University, complemented by an associate’s degree in Respiratory Therapy, Zaun’s professional journey began at Mass General hospital and Mass Eye and Ear, where she served as a respiratory therapist. Over time, she transitioned to the realm of home durable medical equipment, providing care to both children and adults requiring respiratory services—helping sleep apnea patients, oxygen users and those utilizing home ventilators. Nineteen years ago, she married her husband, Ed. The couple relocated from Beverly, Massachusetts a decade ago and settled in Bradenton, Florida, where they are raising their boys (Eddie, who is now 17; and Brady, 16). Both boys attend Cardinal Mooney Catholic High School and excel as baseball players. “We became U.S. citizens over 25 years ago, embracing the opportunities this country has provided for our family,” Zaun shares.

Working in the medical industry for more than 30 years, Zaun has been with Florida Cancer Specialists for the past five years in the area of business development. Recently, she assumed the role of associate director of practice engagement, supporting the organization’s pharmacy and ancillary service line. Whether it’s a small task or a significant endeavor, Zaun finds joy in helping and supporting others. “As far back as I can remember, I have loved helping people. My inspiration comes from my 85-year-old mom, who dedicates her time to volunteering at the senior center in Massachusetts and actively contributes to assembling meals for the Meals on Wheels program,” she shares. “Growing up in such a giving environment has instilled in me a deep appreciation for helping others.”

In that philanthropic spirit, Zaun joined the Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation in January 2022 and currently serves on the board of directors. “Collaborating with fellow board members, our focus is on strategizing ways to enhance fundraising efforts, ensuring a sustained provision of funds for active cancer patients. As a board member, I also contribute to Party Under the Stars, a significant local fundraising event,” she says. “Additionally, I am actively involved in the Las Meninas art and healing project, alongside our Foundation co-chair, Dr. Raul Storey. This initiative brings the benefits of art and healing to cancer patients across multiple locations in the state.”                                         

In 2001 and 2002, Zaun participated in the Boston Marathon as part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. During this time, she also volunteered to be paired with a patient partner — a child undergoing cancer treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “I formed a deep connection with Amanda, my patient partner and her family. Amanda found excitement and solace in my commitment to run for her and other children battling cancer,” she recalls. “Our shared journey provided her with hope and a temporary escape from the challenges of living with cancer. During my first marathon, Amanda even joined me for the last two miles, running and walking together. Crossing the finish line hand in hand, her priceless smile marked a moment of triumph and shared accomplishment.”

While the work Zaun does with the Foundation is rewarding, it is not without challenges.

“Our biggest obstacle with the work I do is fundraising and continuing to keep up with the increase in grant applications. With an increase of over 30 percent in grant applications, it’s imperative that we continue to raise funds so we don’t turn away any families in need,” she says. In addition to her efforts with Florida Cancer Specialists, Zaun collaborates closely with Hungers End, a homeless shelter in Manatee County. Previously, she spent over a year working in the resource room. Currently, she organizes various food and clothing drives to support the homeless in the community.

When she is not working or volunteering, Zaun is busy taking good care of herself so that she can continue to care for others. Her day often begins at 4am so she can hit the gym by 5am. “At the age of 40, with two young boys, I decided to pursue a fitness competition — something I always wondered if I could achieve,” she says. “Not only did I accomplish it, but I went on to compete six more times over a decade.” In September 2023, she secured first place in the Over 50 category, and brought home additional second- and third-place trophies. 

“This journey is a testament to my love for life and its offerings. I aim to instill in my boys the belief that taking risks is crucial; never fear failure because those who never try are the ones who never fail forward,” she says. “Carpe Diem — a philosophy I live by every day.”