(NEW ORLEANS, LA, June 4, 2011) – Chuck Wielgus, Executive Director of USA Swimming, was named this year’s Great Comebacks® National Award recipient at a ceremony held in conjunction with the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society’s 43rd Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA. The Great Comebacks® Program, which provides support for people living with intestinal diseases that can lead to ostomy surgery, annually honors outstanding individuals who are inspiring others to live life to the fullest after surgery.
”Chuck Wielgus has courageously faced many health challenges, yet has refused to let anything slow him down and keep him from accomplishing many things in his life. Great Comebacks® is proud to recognize Chuck for his strength of heart and mind, and for helping us change misperceptions and build greater awareness of living life with an ostomy,” said Rolf Benirschke, Founder and Chairman, Great Comebacks® Program.
Since his ostomy surgery following a diagnosis of Stage III colorectal cancer in 2006, Wielgus has remained active in USA Swimming, traveling widely to encourage competitors at numerous meets including the Beijing Games in 2008. He is also Chief Executive Officer of the USA Swimming Foundation, raising awareness of the achievements of U.S. swimmers at all levels and promoting water safety. He also recently received the Nadar Por Vida Award for promoting diversity in swimming.
Each year, the Great Comebacks® Program recognizes people who have faced challenges associated with intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, colorectal cancer and other conditions that can lead to ostomy surgery. Four regional award recipients are selected by the Great Comebacks® Advisory Committee, and a national award winner is chosen from among these finalists. In addition to Chuck Wielgus, the regional awardees for 2010 are Yvonne Austin, Grove City, OH; David Barger, Panama City, FL; and Linda Pasto, Ithaca, NY.
At the ceremony in New Orleans, Great Comebacks® also presented its Public Service Award named in memory of Tony Snow, the former White House advisor and news broadcaster who was an Honorary Great Comebacks® Award recipient in 2006. In March, Great Comebacks® named LTC (R) Justin F. Blum, a retired lieutenant colonel working as an instructor of JROTC programs and commanding the South Carolina State Guard for Homeland Security, the 2011 Tony Snow Public Service Award Winner.
Great Comebacks® is sponsored by ConvaTec, a world-leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies for community and hospital care, in partnership with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCFA), the United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA), the Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society (IDEAS), the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS).
”Both of the individuals recognized this evening have displayed exceptional courage and a dedication to others that motivates all of us. As a leader in ostomy care for more than 30 years, ConvaTec is proud to help people with an ostomy live their lives with confidence,” said Brad Barton, President, ConvaTec U.S.A. ”It is so rewarding when we hear stories like those of Chuck and Justin, who have remained active, reached or exceeded their goals, and then have inspired others.”
More information about all of the Great Comebacks® Award recipients is available at www.GreatComebacks.com
ConvaTec is a leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies that have helped improve the lives of millions of people worldwide. With four key focus areas – Ostomy Care, Wound Therapeutics, Continence and Critical Care, and Infusion Devices – ConvaTec products support health care professionals from the hospital to the community health setting. For more information, please visit www.ConvaTec.com.
About the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation (CCFA)
The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's (CCFA) mission is to cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. The Foundation ranks third among leading health non-profits in the percentage of expense devoted to research toward a cure, with more than 79 cents of every dollar the Foundation spends going to mission-critical programs. The Foundation consistently meets the standards of organizations that monitor charities, including the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance (give.org) and the American Institute of Philanthropy (charitywatch.org). For more information, contact the Foundation at 800-932-2423 or visit www.CCFA.org.
About the United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA)
The United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA) is a national network for bowel and urinary diversion support groups in the United States. Its goal is to provide a non-profit association that will serve to unify and strengthen its member support groups, which are organized for the benefit of people who have, or will have intestinal or urinary diversions and their caregivers. For more information, please visit www.ostomy.org.
About the Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society (IDEAS)
The North American Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society (IDEAS) raises awareness of intestinal diseases through education and public awareness campaigns. IDEAS provides quality of life enhancing programs for children and young adults afflicted with intestinal diseases and their families. IDEAS conducts advocacy programs on behalf of all people living with intestinal diseases. For more information, please visit www.WeNeedIdeas.com.
About the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society
The WOCN Society is a professional nursing society that promotes educational, clinical and research opportunities to advance the practice and guide the delivery of expert health care to individuals with wounds, ostomies and incontinence. Membership includes more 4,700 healthcare professionals who are experts in the care of patients with wound, ostomy and incontinence. For more information, please visit www.WOCN.org.
About the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS)
The American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons is the premier society for colon and rectal surgeons and other surgeons dedicated to advancing and promoting the science and practice of the treatment of patients with diseases and disorders affecting the colon, rectum and anus. Founded in 1899, ASCRS has over 2,600 surgeons and specialist members, including over 1000 board certified colon and rectal surgeons. For more information about ASCRS, please visit www.FASCRS.org.