Nikki conceived the Foundation in the final stages of her battle with Pancreatic Cancer. She left a notebook with her first board of directors listed, her brain team, and the first research she wanted to support. After 31 months dealing with the constant fight, Nikki left her wishes to 9 friends to begin carrying out. NMF started the month after she died on July 9th, 2013 and has consistently been active and growing since.

In 2013, NMF held a small intimate concert in Nikki’s Normandy River Cafe. Those first funds were donated to the Johns Hopkins Pancreatic Cyst Research Program.

Our 2014 and 2015 Awareness Campaigns were funded with proceeds from an Austin, TX concert in 2014, and three Nashville, TN concerts in 2014 and 2015, as well as two golf tournaments in Montgomery, Alabama.

The goal for 2016 is our “Bridge of Wings” Road to a Cure program.

Nikki Mitchell


On August 21, 1954, Fort Worth, Texas witnessed the birth of a visionary.

Nikki Mitchell saw only great possibilities in life and in others. After successful import and artistic ventures in Texas, Nikki landed in Nashville to helm the enterprises of the legendary Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter. She served as President of their company for 22 years. During her tenure there, she made history of her own with the Bridge of Wings flight. In 1998, she circumnavigated the northern hemisphere as co-captain in a single engine aircraft. In the Russian segment of the journey, this venture unified two countries by flying side by side in formation with two Russian aircraft to retrace the historical 1938 Flight of the Rodina. This commemorative flight opened the people’s hearts to the heroic Russian women pilots whom time had forgotten.

In December 2010, Nikki was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a possible three-month prognosis. Taking the bull by the horns she consulted with renowned medical professionals around the country and her zeal for life never diminished. After thirty-one months of battling this disease, Nikki embarked upon the greatest adventure of her life on July 9th, 2013.

Her last dream was to save others from the devastating disease of pancreatic cancer. Caring about Early Detection Research led Nikki to participate, upon her death, in a floating tumor cell research program facilitated by Johns Hopkins Hospital. Nikki’s donation was the first to contribute a vast amount of data to the scientists. We invite you to be a part of this dream and its realization by joining with the Nikki Mitchell Foundation (NMF) to find a means for early detection and the ultimate cure for pancreatic cancer.

The Board

Rhonda Miles
Founder & President

Cindy J. Denham
Secretary & Treasurer

Terrie Lawrence

Kim McCollum-Mele

Wade Merry


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Scott Safford

Honorary Board

Jessi Colter

Jena Keel Hay
Owner/Operator of Hay Ranch

Shooter Jennings

Jamey Johnson

Suzi Cochran
Artist/Widow of Hank Cochran

Maureen Raffety
Colter / Jennings Music

Alyssa Bonagura


Medical Board

Dr. Christopher Wolfgang
Chief of Pancreatic Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital

Lindsey L. Manos
MPAS, PA-C, Johns Hopkins

Oliver G. McDonald
M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor,
Vanderbilt University

Our Partners

The mission of Our Raye of Hope Project is to seek and support the most breakthrough research associated with early detection and cure of pancreatic cancer. Founded by Wade Merry in honor of his wife Val, Our Raye of Hope Project places special emphasis on awareness of pancreatic cancer and prevention of the disease.

Copyright © Nikki Mitchell Foundation | 1-615-982-6802| Nikki Mitchell Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit | EIN Tax ID: 46-3399632