2015 Hero of Hope Award
The biggest takeaways from an incredible few months being involved with the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigator’s “Hero of Hope Award” were the following:
- The nomination from Elizabeth “Lizzie” Martinez RN/Nurse Navigator from Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin, NJ meant the world to me because Lizzie represents A Beacon of Hope to her oncology patients at SOMC on a daily basis. It’s been a pleasure and honor to partner with Lizzie to better assist our oncology patients.
- The selection of being named a finalist by the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators was equally meaningful to me. This is a fraternity of amazing individuals that work tirelessly on behalf of the oncology patients and a group for which I have the utmost respect and appreciation. I witnessed their selfless acts of kindness and generosity of spirit during my own battle with cancer and continue to see those same selfless acts through the eyes of the patients of David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation.
- The 3 other nominees: Bonnie Addario, Susan Leighton and Paul Karpinnen. You can still read and watch their videos by clicking on the link below but I will tell you that all 3 of them are Heroes! All 3 of their videos brought me to tears and I was blessed to spend some time with Susan and Paul over this past weekend. Unfortunately, Bonnie had a prior commitment to an event with her own organization in Philadelphia. Conquer Magazine: Meet the Nominees
- During this process, I got to spend some time with Gwen Coverdale and Bruce James. Gwen was my initial contact and interviewed Lizzie and me for the video. Bruce was responsible for pictures and video. I consider both of them friends now and their quality of work speaks volumes about them as people.
- Many may or may not know that my girlfriend Catherine Deely is a breast cancer survivor. She’s also one of the strongest and most compassionate women I’ve ever met. She’s an incredible support system for me and a tremendous advocate for DDBCF so it was especially rewarding to share this entire experience with her.
- I cannot thank all of you enough who voted, shared and spread the word about the nomination and voting. A special thanks to my medical team and friends at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital for all your efforts in helping get the word out about the nomination and voting. You are all not only responsible for raising awareness for DDBCF throughout this process but also responsible for DDBCF receiving a $1,000.00 grant!
- When my name was announced by Co-Founder of AONN Lillie Shockney RN as the Inaugural Hero of Hope recipient, my first inclination was, “Did I hear that correctly?” I was and still am humbled by the nomination and to be included with the 3 other amazing nominees. There were 10,000+ votes registered and am beyond grateful for the $1,000.00 grant to DDBCF which will go directly into the hands of a deserving family or two battling a cancer diagnosis. More than anything else, this nomination and award means “the little engine that could” known as DDBCF is being recognized on a national level for the “IMPACT” it’s having in the oncology community and specifically for its’ impact on patients and their families affected by a cancer diagnosis. This is a credit to our Board of Directors (Kim McCabe Manzella, Tim Hall, Dani Corso, Jill Elsasser, Kristin Panzone and Kelly Powers) who serve on a 100% volunteer basis and give 100% of their hearts; our generous and amazing sponsors who continually reach into their individual pockets and that of their businesses/organizations to support DDBCF; our selfless volunteers who give of their time and energy; our growing youth group Generation Dream and their parents; the newly formed Southern Regional High School student group and its’ teachers; Stockton University, Dr. Ai Zhang and students. Last but certainly first in the hearts and minds of all of us at DDBCF are the patients currently battling a cancer diagnosis and those brave souls we have lost to this deadly disease. This amazing group of courageous, strong and inspiring souls received that Hero of Hope Award this past Saturday!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul!!!