Maryann Wahmann of the Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Network (CCAN) has been chosen as winner of the 2010 Warner Advocacy Award, established last year by Novartis Oncology to commemorate the life and work of the late Monica Warner of the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation. The award is given annually to the individual who best embodies the spirit, passion, and dedication of Monica Warner.
Among the criteria used to review the nominations were number of patients assisted, innovation of patient-focused project(s), area of outreach, facilitation of positive change, and evidence of collaboration with group leaders.
A carcinoid patient herself, Maryann has made it her mission to support and educate patients, caregivers, and families affected by carcinoid or other neuroendocrine tumors (NETs). She founded the Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Network (CCAN), www.carcinoidawareness.org, in 2004 to help achieve this goal.
She has led the Long Island, New York, NET support group since 2003 so that other NET patients in the greater metropolitan area could find support. The group has grown from 15 patients to over 175 patients and caregivers.
Maryann also works closely with the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation and participates on the advisory board for the North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS), the professional organization dedicating to improving neuroendocrine tumor disease management through increased research and educational opportunities. Since 2009 she has been a member of the Steering Committee for the first Worldwide NET Cancer Awareness Day.
Dedicated to bringing about greater awareness of NET cancers, Maryann established CCAN in order to make information about these rare diseases available to patients and caregivers throughout the United States and globally. CCAN distributes literature and information about NET cancers by postal mail, e-mail, at conferences, with CDs and DVDs, and through CCAN’s website.
She has organized and produced 13 regional conferences and both the 2005 and 2009 national carcinoid/NET conference – and she is already planning the 2012 national conference, with Dr. Eugene Woltering and the Ochsner-Kenner Neuroendocrine Tumor team. During the year 2011, CCAN will sponsor or co-sponsor 4 regional conferences. CCAN has also produced 4 webinars about carcinoid for those who wish to learn more but cannot leave their home to attend a conference.
Maryann works closely with support group leaders throughout the United States, providing much needed literature and carcinoid awareness items, all at no charge to the support groups. She also helps interested individuals start new support groups. Her expertise is invaluable!
For those who enjoy walking, Maryann is planning CCAN’s second annual “Strides for Stripes Zebra Walk,” to be held on Saturday, November 6 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York. CCAN has also collaborated with the New York Islanders ice hockey team in the fight against carcinoid/NETs. The Islanders’ December 22 game vs. Tampa Bay Lightning will feature CCAN as Charity of the Game, bringing about greater awareness for carcinoid and helping to raise funds for carcinoid/NET awareness and research programs.
Through her work at CCAN, Maryann has raised a considerable amount of money that the organization then donates to research, helping to support organizations such as the LSU NET Research Fund, NANETS, The Doctors Cancer Foundation, the Carcinoid Cancer Foundation, the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, and NY Presbyterian Medical Center.
Seven days a week Maryann and her husband, Robert, answer phone calls from patients and caregivers seeking NET support and information. Maryann, Robert and their children, Michael and Tricia, work side-by-side in all of their efforts on behalf of CCAN. Maryann is a tireless advocate, who offers hope and guidance to those facing the challenges of living with carcinoid and other NETS.
Maryann said, upon learning that she was the recipient of the award, that she is “honored to be recognized with the 2010 Warner Advocacy Award, especially because it was established in memory of my dear friend and fellow patient advocate, Monica Warner. Working with Monica helped me grow as an advocate. I admire all she did for the carcinoid/NET community and I will always miss her.”
The Warner Advocacy Award recipient receives an individual award of recognition (nonmonetary). Novartis Oncology will also direct a $10,000 donation to an approved 501(c)(3) charitable organization of the winner’s choice.
The 2010 Warner Advocacy Award will be presented by Novartis Oncology to Maryann Wahmann at CCAN’s 7th Annual Celebration of Life Gala, to be held on November 13th in Bethpage, New York. Congratulations, Maryann!!!