Sherry O’Grady Fox
Sherry O’Grady Fox embodies the spirit of the Maureen Coleman award, providing tireless, passionate, caring, and personal empathy to so many NET patients – It’s her nature and it’s how she supports the NET community. Her contribution to our community has been phenomenal and Sherry is more than deserving of this award.
Sherry is a patient herself and was diagnosed with NET Cancer in 2006. She had surgery to remove the primary cancer which was successful but there were numerous inoperable metastasized tumours in her liver.
Sherry and her husband Fred Fox are the Ottawa, Ontario CNETS Canada Support Group Leaders. They were introduced to the group in 2007 and although Sherry was keenly curious to meet others with her type of rare cancer, Fred was skeptical of support groups. However, he went along to support Sherry. Ever since then, they have been ardent support group enthusiasts and regular attendees at all CNETS Canada meetings and conferences.
Sherry found it comforting to meet and speak with others who shared a commonality and NET language and agreed to fill the role when the existing leader stepped down to ensure a continuation of support for her fellow patients. The Ottawa Support Group provides pertinent information and support for newly diagnosed and long term survivors, their families and friends. Sherry has demonstrated tremendous commitment to the NET community and makes herself available to them one-on-one over the phone or in person, and in the group setting. Sherry also sends out whatever information she can find to help NET patients with our various health issues. Today, the Ottawa Support Group is over 30 members strong. Sherry also hosted NET patients from Montreal and was a valuable role model and mentor until they were able to form their own group. If you need a hug, Sherry always has one for you. Her gentle soft-spoken ways are reassuring and comforting to those new to the group and also those who have been there for many years.
Sherry also works tirelessly to raise NET cancer awareness and funds for CNETS Canada. Through the Annual Zebra Picnic, the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, or Church Fundraisers – Sherry goes above and beyond and is a true champion for our cause.
Natalie Mezey, another individual who embodies the passion and commitment of Maureen Coleman and an incredible advocate for our cause, has dedicated a tremendous portion of her time to the NET cancer cause and to CNETS Canada. Her passion began in 2008 several years after her mother, Justyna was diagnosed with NET cancer. Natalie supported her mother throughout her long battle with cancer.
Justyna tragically passed away from NET cancer in 2010; it was at this time that Natalie and her husband Bryde were introduced to Sherry Fox, the Ottawa Support Group Leader. After meeting other NET patients and survivors, Natalie looked for opportunities to support the NET cancer community. Demonstrating true passion, with the help of her friends, she began using two platforms to raise awareness and funds for NET cancer research and CNETS Canada: the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as well as Ottawa‘s “Great Glebe Garage Sale”. Natalie tirelessly recruits runners, bakers and artists to assist her in raising funds. Every year they use these events to educate neighbours, friends and others about NET cancer.
In 2013, Natalie’s husband Bryde, was also diagnosed with a rare type of NET tumour, a Pheochromocytoma on his left kidney. Because of Natalie’s extensive (and unfortunate) experience as a caregiver, she has made his journey bearable. With Natalie’s help, Bryde’s rehab time from his surgery was shortened in half by her constant care and love.
In 2015, Natalie captained Team Zebra Ottawa, raising awareness and funds for NET cancer during the Ottawa Race Weekend. Under Natalie’s leadership, the Team Zebra was incredibly successful in fundraising, and also winning the $5,000 award for highest average dollar raised per fundraising runner. This was a huge accomplishment for a small team with no corporate donors. Natalie encouraged team members to wear zebra prints and NET-statistics on their shirts in order to create awareness to those at the race about NET cancer.
Despite managing a busy life Natalie remains committed to raising awareness and funds for prevention, diagnosis, and treatments for NET cancer, as well as helping those who have been diagnosed currently in the community. She is passionate about creating a world where NET cancer does not take a life.