The cystic fibrosis community is composed of remarkable individuals who are simply not satisfied with the status quo. They are tenacious and passionate in their quest for a cure for CF, helping to drive progress on behalf of those living with this disease. On March 16, the Foundation was thrilled to recognize several of these inspiring individuals at the 15th annual Volunteer Leadership Conference (VLC) by presenting them with awards that celebrate their commitment to helping people with CF.
Tomorrow's Leader Award
The inaugural 2018 Tomorrow's Leader Award was given to Justin Davis, a volunteer who has gone above and beyond in countless ways -- including inspiring many fellow young professionals through the Tomorrow's Leaders program -- to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's efforts.
Although most volunteers first engage with the Foundation because they have a loved one with CF, Justin decided to give because he was so compelled by the mission and by the families of people with CF.
Justin first joined the Western Pennsylvania Chapter through the Pittsburgh's 50 Finest program, where he was recently named co-chair. He has served in multiple roles for the Wine Opener fundraiser committee, the advocacy team, and has acted as a member of the chapter's Board of Directors. In these roles, Justin donates his time and talents, proving himself to be the “go-to-guy” for local staff and chapters. Next year, he will co-chair VLC with Pam Baker.
The Jena Award, named for Margarete and Marc Cassalina's daughter, Jena, who bravely lived with cystic fibrosis until the age of 13, was awarded to Mark Marra.
Mark became involved with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 2000, and today he is known as a local and national champion for raising funds and recruiting sponsors. Mark currently serves as national chair of the Ultimate Golf Experience, honorary chair of the CF Golf Classic, and is a member of the Sooner Tulsa Chapter Board of Directors.
The Alex Award is in honor of the late Frank Deford's daughter, Alex, who passed away from cystic fibrosis at the young age of 8. This award goes to a person with cystic fibrosis who is a role model for others with the disease, and no one embodies this spirit more than Melissa Shiffman, an adult who has CF, a mom, a wife, a social worker, and a staunch advocate for all those living with CF. Melissa has been involved with the Greater New York Chapter since 2004 and was a Great Strides walker for 13 years, raising more than $155,000.
In 2015, she was named the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's national advocacy co-chair, where she led efforts on Capitol Hill during Teen Advocacy Day and March on the Hill and participated in state-level advocacy events. Sharing her experiences, helping to educate people about CF, and building strong relationships with elected officials are what Melissa does daily with pride.
Dream Big Award
The Dream Big Award, which recognizes someone who has made an immense difference in the fight against cystic fibrosis, was given to Catherine (Cam) C. McLoud -- an incredible leader and longtime supporter of the Foundation's efforts.
Cam was elected chair of the Foundation's Board of Trustees in 1999 and has served on the Board for more than 30 years. She first became involved in the CF community after her son, Will, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of 2. She is a frequent attendee and speaker at Foundation events, including the annual North American CF Conference, VLC, and CF advocacy events on Capitol Hill. Although she lost her son to CF in 2016 at the age of 34, Cam continues to show support and incredible commitment to the CF community.