- Meet Consumers/Patients
|2004 Oley Award and Scholarship Winners|
LifelineLetter Annual Award Winner
Diagnosed as a young teen with pseudo-obstruction, Malisa has been on HPN, and sometimes HEN, for 11 years. Almost from the start she’s been involved at Oley. She was one of the first teenagers to volunteer as an Oley Amabassador, she’s helped with numerous conference youth activities, and she’s been a tremendous advocate for summer camp experiences for HomePEN youth.
Watching her blossom into an capable, caring adult has been a pleasure. Her choice to pursue a career in pediatric nursing comes as no surprise. She is always giving generously of her time. In addition to working in the hospital, Malisa volunteers for many health-related organizations like CHOP, REACH and others. She also continues to coordinate special experiences for chronically ill youth, like trips to Canyon Ranch and wellness days for friends in a local support group.
Over the years she has helped hundreds of Oley members. She is a great listener and always has something positive to say to the teens, the younger kids, and the parents who care for them. She goes above and beyond to stay in touch with a large network of consumers, writes many cheerful messages, sends care packages and visits them.
She’s built a wonderful support network for herself as well, which has been especially critical this year to help her as they investigate the possibility of her having a second, new diagnosis: a mitochondrial disorder. True to her spirit, she is researching the disease, and adjusting to her lower energy level one day at a time. It is a privilege to honor Malisa today with this award and to share her shining example with everyone in the HomePEN community.
Oley Foundation Young Adult of the Year
Oley member Korey Harlow, 12, has Inflamatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and Eosinophilic Gastro Enteritis Disease (EOG) He’s had a G-tube since he began middle school, was the first recipient of the new GJ button at his hospital and modeled the device for anyone wishing to see it. Korey has faced some uncomfortable issues such as changing for gym in a locker room full of pre-adolescent boys and having to explain the plastic button on his abdomen, and having tube feedings for lunch while his friends eat “real food.” He has always faced these challenges with poise and dignity.
In fact, Korey actively works toward raising awareness of IBD and how it affects the lives of those who’ve been diagnosed with this unforgiving disease. Korey has testified to the Virginia State Commission on Health Insurance, where he wrote his own statement about how his life is impacted by his illness. He’s also made a documentary for C.U.R.E.D. describing life wth EOG and how his family has coped, and will participate in the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation Hill Day.
Korey has three brothers with EOG who all have G-tubes. He helps his mother care for his siblings and fully cares for himself. He’s an expert on pump maintenance and function, he mixes formula, makes his own bags for school and troubleshoots errors with his pump. He’s also a leader of a group of students with IBD at Freedom Middle School, and provides them with motivation and inspiration on a daily basis.
Korey manages to have excellent attendance and maintains high academic standards, despite struggling with pain and the effects of large doses of steroids and 6MP. He’s a member of the Art Club and Science Club, and plays trombone in the school band. He has also been awarded numerous blue ribbons for his horse riding skills.
For his unwavering perserverance, his inspirational role-modeling for others and his work to raise national awareness, we are proud to present Korey with Oley’s Young Adult of the Year Award.
Celebration of Life Award
At 22, Megan’s lived with intestinal failure for almost all of her life, and in recent years Hepatitis C as well. She’s faced these trials with tenacity and vigor- embracing her community, her education and her independence.
Despite spending most of her high school junior and senior years in the hospital, she graduated on time, and received the Senior Merit Award from her Drama Department and the Human Spirit Scholarship. She walked across the stage for her diploma to a standing ovation. Megan now lives fully independently, attending Sam Houston State University full-time while also caring for older relatives and her three feline roomates. She’s studying criminal justice and plans on a career in child-advocacy.
While most patients would not be able to attend school full-time and participate in community outreach programs, Megan has showed motivation that surprises her doctors, family and friends. On days when she’s experiencing severe pain or exhaustion from being up all night, she’s managed to get out, accomplish her tasks and get through a full school day. She’s treasured her time in school, has directed a play for her Drama Department and has even traveled to England to study Shakespeare with her theater class. Additionally, Megan has committed herself to visiting a nursing home during the holidays with gifts and flowers for the residents. Even when Hepatitis took away her ability to walk, she retaught herself and managed to visit her elderly friends; her smile never waivered.
We are proud of Megan’s perseverance and growth into an independent, caring and capable woman. Her attitude is “can do” and her focus is on the positive, but it’s her zest for life that makes her truly deserving of the Celebration of Life Award.
Nan Couts Award for the Ultimate Volunteer
Richard Patt, MD
Dr. Patt’s dedication to patients is evident through his home-based private practice where patients can relax in his garden or discuss their cases in his living room. He has cared for Oley member and HomePEN consumer Megan Gravenstein (winner of the Celebration of Life Award) for many years and was a guest speaker at this year’s conference. His formation of the National Chronic Pain Society and his volunteerism of time and money to this cause further illustrate his devotion to patients, regardless of their diagnosis.
The first conference for chronic pain sufferers was spearheaded by Dr. Patt and the national Chronic Pain Society would not exist without his efforts, money and time. Instead of working with a large organization or group of doctors, Dr. Patt has opened his home and his heart to his patients, as demonstrated by one grateful woman who delivered a banana pudding to thank him for caring for her dying husband, despite the fact that he was not a privately insured, wealthy man.
Last year, Dr. Patt opened his home for a fundraiser dinner where he was able to arrange for Dr. Patch Adams to be the special guest speaker. Although Dr. Adams was the special guest, the evening’s stories, told by family members of current patients and those that have died, revolved around Dr. Patt’s dedication to those in his care and the fact that in his case, care is not profit-driven but instead driven by compassion and old-fashioned, hands-on caring.
Dr. Patt’s dedication to sufferers of chronic pain and homePEN consumers is what makes him so deserving of the Nan Couts Award for Ultimate Volunteerism.
Lenore Heaphey Grassroots Education Award
A TPN consumer for 14 years due to Short Bowel Syndrome, Ruthannn has taken an active role in developing the northeastern Ohio Oley support group in the past few years. With help from Jim Cowan and Bert Gelle she has increased the initial membership of four to the current membership of 20.
Ruthann provides members of her group with current clinical articles, insurance updates and information on national Oley meetings and publications. She also arranges for a speaker at each of these regional meetings who brings fresh, innovative and valuable information to the group. She makes regional Oley information available through e-mail to those individuals who are unable to attend those meetings. She’s also been a valuable contributor to the LifelineLetter.
Ruthann is an integral and invaluable asset to the Oley Foundation, and has illustrated true dedication to the education of parenteral and enteral nutrition consumers. Her volunteerism has earned her this year’s Lenore Heaphey Award for Grassroots Education.