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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to include your name and contact information as well. There is a limit of 1,000 words.
NOMINATIONS DUE May 1, 2014
Our 2012 Inspiration Award recipient, Heather Shiflett, was nominated by friend Lenore Vassil for her unending faith and perseverance while facing the devastating challenges of cancer in her family.
For the past few years, Heather has been no stranger to the effects of cancer. She lost her father to pancreatic cancer and her young daughter was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer called Retinoblastoma, which led to the removal of her left eye. She also became the primary caretaker of her mother-in-law who was also battling brain cancer while she was helping dealing with her own toddler’s battle.
Throughout it all, Heather handled the cancer crisis with dignity and faith while demonstrating how to turn adversity into inspiration. In between doctor’s appointments Heather founded the nonprofit charity Ava’s Gifts for June, Inc. Her organization’s goal is to educate the public about Retinoblastoma and other childhood cancers and offer financial assistance to families who have children fighting cancer.
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