Canadian Survivor Awarded "Pulitzer Prize" of Ovarian Cancer Advocacy

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Canadian ovarian cancer advocate Sandi Pniauskas received the "Spirit of Survivorship" award at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance's seventh annual conference.

Canadian ovarian cancer advocate Sandi Pniauskas received the “Spirit of Survivorship” award at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance’s seventh annual conference. Pniauskas received the top advocacy honor because of her consistent efforts to help the lives of others who are battling this often fatal disease. OCNA Board member Deborah Bell presented the award and described how Pniauskas chose to radically change her life after her diagnosis. Bell said, “Sandi gave up a successful career and has devoted her time, as well as considerable resources, to learning about this disease that suddenly was changing her life. She now spends her time raising public awareness of ovarian cancer to help others who are diagnosed with cancer.” Pniauskas exceeded the awards criteria, “particularly as a person who has demonstrated the ability to direct positive energy, as a model for others, towards overcoming the disease and through her optimistic approach to inspire and teach community members.”

Pniauskas advocacy efforts include: • Coordination of “Dare to Dream for Ovarian Cancer,” a nationwide Canadian ovarian cancer awareness event in 2003. • Membership on the Breast/Gynecologic Cancer major fundraising committee and participation on the Community Advisory Committee at Princess Margaret Hospital at the University of Toronto, devoted exclusively to cancer research, treatment and education. • Numerous presentations including one she made at the 2003 Canadian Cochrane Collaboration Third Annual Conference: “Patient and Practitioner Partnership – A Practically Perfect Combination” • Submission in 2002 of an ovarian cancer paper for the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada. Out of tens of thousands of papers hers was the only one on ovarian cancer.

The “Spirit of Survivorship” award was named in honor of Cindy Melancon, a founder of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance who passed away in 2003. When diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1993, Melancon discovered there were no support groups for survivors.

She founded “Conversations” an international newsletter which helped build the ovarian cancer community and the advocacy movement. Her spirit created a community of hope among cancer survivors.

The award is the highest honor in the ovarian cancer community. During Pniauskas’ address to the audience, she emphasized the recognition and importance of the ‘Spirit of Survivorship’ award describing it as the ‘Pulitzer Prize of Ovarian Cancer’.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is a patient-led, umbrella organization uniting ovarian cancer activists, women's health advocates and health care professionals in the effort to increase public and professional understanding of ovarian cancer and to advocate for more effective diagnostics, treatments and a cure.

Visit us at http://www.ovariancancer.org.

Contact: Elizabeth Denlinger (202) 331-1332 x 312

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Sandi Pniauskas

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