Maureen Coleman Award Recipients

The late Maureen Coleman was the Founder and Past-President of CNETS Canada who passed away in 2013 from neuroendocrine cancer.

Maureen was a remarkable woman with great vision, passion and compassion and she made a significant contribution to the NET patient community.

In her honour, CNETS Canada established the Maureen Coleman award. This Award is to recognize exemplary dedication to the NET patient community and is open to Canadians whose work or dedication has had a significant impact on the NET cancer community, in line with the Mission and Vision of CNETS Canada.

2017

Daniel Opoku

Daniel Opoku is a NET patient and dedicated volunteer with CNETS Canada who has had a tremendous impact on the NET community.   Daniel has never turned down an opportunity to share his skills and knowledge with an open, caring and supportive approach.

One of Daniel’s most outstanding characteristics is his friendly, considerate and generous nature, which allows him to excel in role as Montreal Support Group Leader. Daniel saw the need for a NET Support Group in Montreal and became one of the founding members of the group, which now meets bi-monthly, where Daniel and others have taken on the role of Support Group Leaders.

Daniel has organized and moderated patient education sessions/webinars such as the PRRT session with Dr. Francois-Alexandre Buteau and Zebra Chat featuring Sonya Carrie – a NET patient and liver transplant recipient.  Daniel also took on several volunteer responsibilities at the recent CNETS Canada Patient & Caregiver conference in Toronto, Ontario.

Daniel is a prolific attendee of meetings and events where he can challenge himself both mentally and physically. Events such as ‘Wings for Life World Run’, ‘Athletes for Cancer’, Epic Experience and First Descents’. These give Daniel “a boost to thrive not just survive”.

Daniel has unselfishly dedicated a great amount of time and expertise to our community and our cause. He embodies the spirit, passion and dedication of the Maureen Coleman Award. Daniel is an intelligent, talented, caring and generous individual who is an inspiration to all who have the pleasure of knowing him.

Dr. Eric Turcotte

Dr. Eric Turcotte is the Principal Investigator for Phase II Study to Measure the Safety of 68 Ga-DOTA-TATE PET/CT (Gallium 68) in the Diagnosis of Tumors Expressing Somatostatin Receptors, Dr. Turcotte has dedicated a tremendous amount of time and effort to bringing this diagnostic to the Canadian NET patient population and has proved himself to be a champion for our community. Under Dr. Turcotte’s leadership his Centre in Sherbrooke, Quebec was the first in Canada  to offer Gallium 68 imaging for NET patients and remains the only centre accepting patients from across the country for the imaging, independent of treatment.

Dr. Turcotte has worked closely and tirelessly with his nuclear medicine colleagues, CNETS Canada and the Canadian NET patient community to bring this state-of-the-art imaging tool to all NET patients. He has collaborated with CNETS Canada to attempt to secure funding for the Gallium 68 from all provincial and territorial heath authorities across Canada, which continues to be a work in progress.

The Gallium 68 scan is critical to the NET patient population because it provides the patient and the patient’s medical team with a clear and comprehensive high-resolution set of images.

Dr. Eric Turcotte exemplifies the characteristics of leadership, dedication and compassion for the NET patient community and he is a genuine, kind, caring and compassionate patient-oriented specialist.  The Canadian NET patent community is privileged to have Dr. Eric Turcotte and his team working on its behalf.

2016

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

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.

2015

Pierrette Breton

DSC_0224Pierrette, is a NET Cancer patient and a successful Canadian businesswoman who served on the CNETS Canada Board of Directors from 2010 to 2014, during which time she made a tremendous contribution to the organization and the NET patient community.

Pierrette is a member of the Ottawa support network and has been a valuable friend, resource, and supporter of that local patient community for many years.

She organized CNETS Canada’s last national Conference in Ottawa in 2012 that was nothing short of a miracle under the circumstances yet she pulled it off with professionalism and eloquence and it was a major success!

Pierrette’s most recent contribution to CNETS Canada was reviving our organizational newsletter. She coordinated the layout and content for this initiative.

Pierrette also served as the Canadian and CNETS Canada representative on the International Neuroendocrine Cancer Alliance (INCA) formerly known as WNCAD beginning in March 2011.

When Pierrette joined WNCAD as CNETS Canada’s representative she was elected to membership on WNCAD’s Executive Committee.  She served as Secretary/Treasurer and also took on an additional leadership role as Chairperson of the annual Summit Committee/Membership Council Meeting, leading the committee to create and arrange meetings in 2012 in Copenhagen, 2013 in Barcelona, and 2014 in Italy.  She served on INCA’s Board of Directors in 2013.

Grace Goldstein, the first President of INCA, shared the following “Pierrette was truly a leader in both WNCAD, the informal organization of NET patient and patient advocacy groups, and INCA, the formal organization.  She brought to the organization an amazing combination of skills, expertise, and experience  as a businesswoman, as a person who had volunteer experience with a nonprofit organization, a woman who knows the NET community, and a woman who understands completely the nuances, challenges, and joys of working internationally.  We all turned to her for her incredible ability to focus on a project and how to get it done, to be an integral part of steering a fledgling global organization, and for her friendship.  We are so happy for her and proud of her for being chosen for this year’s Maureen Coleman Award.  Dear Maureen would be smiling  knowing that Pierrette is receiving this honor. Congratulations, Pierrette, from all of  your friends and colleagues at INCA.”

As we can see, Pierrette’s contribution and reach has been national and international and she has been a true champion for raising awareness of neuroendocrine cancer and more than worthy of the Maureen Coleman Award.

Maureen mentioned many times how proud she was of Pierrette’s work on behalf of the organization and we know she would be extremely proud of the accomplishments she has gone on to achieve.

On behalf of the Canadian NET patient community and CNETS Canada, Jackie Herman, CNETS Canada President was honoured to present Pierrette Breton with the second annual Maureen Coleman award.

2014

Dr. Shereen Ezzat

Dr. EzzatDr. Shereen Ezzat was presented with the first award presented in honour of CNETS Canada’s founder, the late Maureen Coleman.

Dr. Shereen Ezzat, is a world renowned endocrine oncologist from the University Health Network’s Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.  He is a huge advocate for NET Cancer patients around diagnosis and treatments and research being done in this area. He emphasizes the need for early detection and diagnosis in ensuring the most favourable outcome for NET patients. Because the symptoms for the disease are so non-specific, it is very important for doctors to be well educated about NETs in order to get patients to an oncologist as quickly as possible.

Dr. Ezzat was presented with the first award presented in honour of CNETS Canada’s founder, the late Maureen Coleman.