Inspiration Award

Joe Pagani accepts 2013 Inspiration Award on behalf of wife Jen Pagani

Joe Pagani accepts 2013 Inspiration Award on behalf of wife Jen Pagani

A highlight of the evening is always the “Inspiration Award” presentation. The “Inspiration Award” recognizes an individual in our community who has not only fought through the effects of cancer with impeccable strength, but serves as a great source of inspiration to other cancer survivors and to all of us involved with 24 Hours of Booty. The nominee can be a cancer fighter, survivor or someone affected by the terrible disease.

To nominate someone for this award: please email the person’s name and a brief story of how they’ve inspired you and the community to join the fight to kick cancer’s booty to Be sure to include your name and contact information as well. There is a limit of 1,000 words.

NOMINATIONS DUE Friday, May 16, 2014

Our 2013 Inspiration Award recipient is Jen Pagani. She was a wife and mother. She was a fighter. Jen was faced with a cancer diagnosis which was found when she was breast feeding her son in 2007. She realized she had access to great medical care, good health insurance and the support of family and friends to take this battle head on. She also realized that everyone may not have those same resources, so she along with her husband Joe started the Go Jen Go Foundation.

The foundation exists to provide support to families battling breast cancer. They have impacted the lives of so many in the Carolinas, whether it be to pay for a family’s utility bill, or organizing a holiday gift drive to make sure there was a bright spot on a family’s holiday celebration. Jen Pagani passed away on February 2, 2014, but the legion of Go Jen Go supporters continue to provide resources for others while honoring Jen’s memory as a true inspiration to those waging their own war against cancer. To learn more about Go Jen Go please visit their website at

It was such an honor to be chosen as the winner for the 2012 inspiration award especially knowing that so many other deserving candidates live with and fight against cancer every day. In a very short period of time, I lost my father and mother-in-law to aggressive cancer, but even that could not prepare me for the devastating news that my 20 month old daughter, Ava, also had cancer. Ava had Retinoblastoma, a rare childhood eye cancer that led us to Philadelphia where she had her eye removed one week after diagnosis. There are really no words adequate to describe how difficult it is to put a toddler who is barely speaking and still a baby in your arms through the process of cancer treatment. I was led down a road that no traveler ever wants to take but in the end, as the horrible forces of cancer took the sight away from my daughter, God allowed me to see life more clearly. Cancer has given me a new way to walk through life …a better way. Through Ava’s Gift to June, the charity created in Ava’s honor to help other families battling childhood cancer, I am able to know countless, inspirational superheroes in the form of innocent children fighting for another day of life. I am so proud to have been recognized for “inspiring” others as they deal with cancer and hope to continue to pay forward the same inspiration that was given to me. Thank you so much for all your organization is doing to help those affected by cancer and for helping to one day find the cure to end its very existence.

Heather E. Shiflett

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