July 16, 2012
What Brought An Ironman, Visionary, Patient Advocate
And Corporation Together?
Their Combined Efforts to Raise Colon Cancer Awareness and Receive National Recognition for their Accomplishments
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Saving lives from colon cancer is challenging, yet with the support and dedication of an outstanding group of individuals and organizations, the Colon Cancer Alliance believes a future free of the disease is just around the corner. This week, the Colon Cancer Alliance announced the names of its first ever Sapphire Award winners, an eclectic mix of individuals and colon cancer advocates who are making a difference against the second leading cause of cancer death in America. The Sapphire Awards were created to recognize and celebrate innovators and leaders in the fight against colorectal cancer. Winners will be acknowledged during the Colon Cancer Alliance’s National Conference, “Redefining Colorectal Cancer Survivorship: Live Your Best Life” on Saturday, July 21, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.
“We are inspired by our Sapphire Award winners and the countless others throughout the United States for their tireless efforts in promoting screenings and encouraging conversations about a cancer many people are embarrassed to talk about,” said Andrew Spiegel, Chief Executive Officer of the Colon Cancer Alliance. “Today, we are making progress in the fight against colon cancer but still too few people are being screened. However, when you have a strong community of people engaged, we know we’ll break through the barriers associated with this disease. It really does take a village when battling colon cancer and the stigma associated with it. The Sapphire awards allow us to recognize the success these bold visionaries have had in helping remove this stigma. We tip our hat to each award winner and thank them for all they are doing to bring greater awareness to this disease.”
This year’s winners are:
Teri Griege of St. Louis, Missouri was named the recipient of the Sapphire Distinguished Service Award. This award recognizes an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the patient community and has made an impact in advocacy, screening and prevention of colorectal cancer. Teri’s done that and more. An avid multi-sport athlete, Teri completed her first Ironman in 2008 at the age of 47. One year later, she was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. Her diagnosis didn’t stop her. She continued training and became the only person to ever participate in the grueling Ford Ironman World Championship while undergoing bi-monthly chemotherapy treatment. Teri works tirelessly as an advocate for early detection and prevention of the disease and willingly spends her time mentoring fellow patients battling the disease. Teri’s passionate message of prevention and screening saved her sister, whose cancer is in remission.
The Sapphire Visionary Award is being bestowed upon Nancy Roach of Hood River, Oregon. The Visionary Award recognizes an individual who is committed to making a difference in colorectal cancer through extraordinary contributions at both the local and national levels. Nancy exemplifies everything a true visionary should be. She is a fierce advocate for colon cancer patients, is a cancer survivor herself, and was an original founder of the Colon Cancer Alliance. She regularly works with government agencies, elected officials and corporations as well as the gastrointestinal research community. Continuing her quest to ensure greater awareness to colon cancer, she founded Fight Colorectal Cancer in order to provide additional focus, infrastructure and support to the advocacy movement.
Violeta Gnatz, BSN, CGRN, of Plainfield, Illinois, is the recipient of the Excellence in Patient Care Sapphire Award. This award recognizes a distinguished health care professional who has gone above and beyond to make a positive contribution to the treatment of colorectal cancer. Violeta fulfills this role easily. For more than 25 years she has worked tirelessly as a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital, 14 of those years spent working in the endoscopy unit where she leads the charge in educating patients and employees about the importance of colon cancer screening. Violeta is an active participant at many Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates events all while continuing to provide daily care her patients.
The Sapphire Corporate Award recognizes leadership of a business or health care organization that works to advance the treatment, screening, awareness and education of colorectal cancer on a national platform. Northside Hospital with three locations in Georgia (Atlanta, Cherokee and Forsyth) is this year’s Sapphire Corporate Award recipient. Northside set three majors goals for itself, including increasing cancer care access to medically underserved populations, enhancing the quality of patient care, and supporting cancer research. Northside, along with a staff of dedicated employees, is well on its way to achieving its goals through its Financial Access Surgery Program, a unique outpatient surgery and endoscopy charity care program for those in need.
The CCA Voices of Central Arizona Chapter is receiving the Sapphire Award for Best Undy 5000 Management. This award recognizes a Colon Cancer Alliance Undy 5000 Management team who motivates and educates communities about colorectal cancer screening and celebrates survivorship. The Arizona Chapter has worked tirelessly to increase prevention and early detection of this disease all across the state. Their partnership with the Arizona Department of Health Services helped grow the Colon Cancer Alliances’ Undy 5000 Phoenix 5K event to be one of the largest and most successful Undy races to date. The Undy 5000 takes place in more than 20 locations throughout the United States.
The Colon Cancer Alliance’s 2012 National Conference brings together patients, survivors, healthcare professionals, advocates, and other members of the colon cancer community to meet face-to-face to explore current research trends, discuss latest treatment advances and participate in panel discussions with leading medical professionals to help advance the medical field’s understanding of this still often misdiagnosed cancer.
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The Colon Cancer Alliance is the nation’s leading colon cancer patient advocacy organization dedicated to the prevention and survivorship of this disease. It provides a variety of support, education and awareness programs throughout the year for patients, survivors, caregivers and the general public.