The 2016 Duckprints Awardees are:
McKenzie Monks Foundation— The foundation was created in honor of 4-year-old McKenzie Monkswho lost her battle with cancer but leaves her footprint with each Kenzie Kasethat is given to another child undergoing cancer treatment. The McKenzie Monks Foundationalso created Kenzie Korner, a special place for young patients to take a break during treatment, at Cardon Children's Medical Center. Joel Nava— A former patient at Cardon Children's Medical Centerand a soon-to-be nurse at Cardon, Nava has a long history of bringing cheer to the hospital halls even through his leukemia diagnosis at age 13. Scott Starr— A former Cardon patient whose cancer diagnosis did not slow his dreams of graduating high school, Scott now gives his time as a mentor to other pediatric cancer patients and raises awareness for childhood cancer.
Childhood cancer is the No. 1 cause of death by disease for children under the age of 15, according to the
As part of the grassroots Duckprints campaign that began in 2013,
About Duckprints Award recipient
Immediately, McKenzie and her family took action. McKenzie faced a new life of doctors, needles, 11 months of chemo, 12 surgeries, 50 radiation treatments, intense pain and the brutal process of undergoing a bone marrow transplant. During her courageous journey, McKenzie was often seen pulling her Hello Kitty suitcase filled with some of her favorite things to keep her busy and provide her comfort during treatment.
After 19 months, McKenzie left the life of pain she had come to know, but what she left behind continues to be a gift to so many. McKenzie's family – her mom,
Not only does the
About Aflac Duckprints Award recipient
He was a quiet, caring and polite young teen who was very bright and had plans for high academic achievement. The two things that Nava loved most were his family and school. His biggest worry at diagnosis was that he was just about to start at Brophy College Preparatory school and missed the entire first year. Because of his love of academics, it took a lot to keep him busy and not bored on long hospital stays – especially when he had shingles and had to stay in his room.
In fact, he decided to write a hospital newsletter and posted it in the staff bathroom for all to know the happenings and gossip of the unit. The newsletter frequently had doctor and nursing tidbits in it regarding life events such as who was in school, who was getting married and who was pregnant. The nurses still talk about Nava's newsletter. Nava also made a paper snowman once and would change the theme of the snowman on the unit wall when he came in for admissions to correspond with the holiday or someone's birthday. He loved to teach the nurses Spanish and would laugh when he would make them say crazy things.
As a young adult, Nava took a trip to
Nava is joining the team at
About Aflac Duckprints Award recipient
The diagnosis came right as Starr was beginning his lifelong dream of entering the
Starr's cancer treatment included several severe surgeries, planned and unplanned, along with chemotherapy. Not only did he endure this difficult treatment, but he spent weeks on a ventilator in the pediatric ICU. Yet Starr never let himself be defined by his cancer.
Starr never lost his smile, positive attitude and sense of humor. He remained who he was, passionate about the military, his family, his friends, and his will to overcome each and every obstacle. Following Starr's last surgery, doctors informed his family it would be several days and maybe even weeks before he would be up and moving again. Starr was up and out of his bed within 24 hours of his final surgery.
Due to all the challenges he faced during treatment, it was unclear whether Starr would be able to meet the requirements to graduate from high school. As graduation approached, Starr worked hard on completing his school work and was able to fulfill his dream of graduating.
Starr is now cancer free and has since been considering becoming an EMT or a firefighter. Though he has completed all his treatments, he continues to leave his footprints on
In 2003, Romero was hired as a Banner associate at the hospital he volunteered with for nearly 300 hours of service. Since then, Romero has been an advocate for giving back to the community and has helped with many campaigns, events and councils as the host, coordinator or chair.
It is only fitting that Romero is one of the volunteer coordinators today for Banner Desert and
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To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aflac-and-cardon-childrens-medical-center-present-duckprints-awards-to-champions-in-the-fight-against-childhood-cancer-300344842.html